Many sellers think that once a contract has been signed that it is time to celebrate, but wait just moment. As many sellers find out, there is a long way from contract to closing! Of the many concerns that are out there, the home inspector is one that can cost you. It certainly pays to be prepared. Home inspectors are often the first phase of inspectors to go out to your home, and they can be very thorough. The findings in their reports can lead to: loads of repairs, renegotiation of the whole deal, or even cancellation of the contract. Don't go get the antacid just yet, because there are some things to consider before you worry!
Sellers often ask if a home inspection is required. The general answer is that it is not required, but it is often part of the contract. Buyers will leave it out if: they are intending to tear it down, do not have the funding, or are skilled in the area of construction. Most buyers will require a home inspection, though. The home inspector verifies the functionality of many of the systems throughout the home, and helps the home buyer to better evaluate the condition of the home. If you are prepared for the home inspection, then this is an opportunity to make the buyers feel more confident about the purchase. Not being prepared for the inspection can leave the buyers feeling uneasy about the purchase, and could give them a way out of the deal!
A home inspection is a detailed look at the property. According to the National Association of Home Inspectors, there is a 1600 item checklist that they look for. While no one can discover everything, it can be quite extensive. Don't worry, because a little time up front can get you over the hurdle. The first thing to know is what they are looking for. Here are a few areas that a home inspector will look into:
Bathrooms: Toilets flush properly, drains work properly, shower and sink work properly
Plumbing: Water temperature, pressure, drainage
Windows, doors, and trim: Damaged glass. rotten framing, proper caulking, fogging in panes
Electrical: all outlets work properly, switches, panel working properly
Kitchen: all appliances work properly, no leaks under sink, doors work properly
Roof: Broken/missing shingles, defective flashing and fascia, leaks in skylights, issues with chimney, gutter system failures
Structure: foundation issues, signs of settlement
Interior: water stains, vents, insulation
Exteriror grounds: standing water issues/ drainage, grading issues
Exterior: Vinyl siding issues( bowing, missing, not correctly fastened, cracked), cracked paint, rotten wood, etc.
Now that you know a few things that they are looking for, how should you prepare? The first thing is not to panic. It is always best to declutter in order to sell. I know that it can be hard. At my home, I had to threaten to call A & E Hoarders T.V. show, but we finally got it done. It will help you when you move, and it will also make the process easier. The home inspector will need to have access to electrical panels, outlets, and attic space. You will also have more productive showings for your home. The next thing that I would do is to collect all manuals, repair receipts, insurance claims, etc. This way, you are prepared for any issues that may come up during the process. It is also handy to have this information for your seller's disclosure. Next, your Realtor can point a few things out. While a Realtor is not a home inspector and should not be held to that standard, they can point out major items that should be dealt with prior to putting your home on the market. Lastly, you can consider a pre-inspection. Many home inspectors will go out to a home to give it a prelimary once over. Many seller's use this as a selling feature.
While all of the poking and prodding of inspections can be a stressful hassle, it is important to remember that this too shall pass. Before I go, let me make two suggestions. First, leave during a home inspection. It often makes the buyers uncomfortable, and it makes it difficult for the home inspector to discuss items with the buyers. Second, remain calm when tthe resuls come in. No report is without something that could be addressed. I have yet to see a report that says, "All Good!" If there are issues that come up, then your Realtor can help you work through the items that need to be addressed. Many items are simply cosmetic, while others require your attention. Of course, items are sometimes brought up to continue the negotiations. We will help you sort through the mess, so keep your head up.