Congratulations! You have successfully listed your home, found a buyer, and agreed on a sale price! Now what?
Unfortunately, there is one more BIG step that precedes getting to the finish line that could make or break your sale. Home inspections typically occur after the buyer has signed the initial purchase agreement, but before the final closing date, and it’s common that the buyer will want to make the closing contingent on the inspection. This means your buyer will be able to back out of the sale or renegotiate the agreed-upon price if the inspection doesn’t go well.
As a seller, of course, you want the inspection to work in your favor. To avoid any surprises, some Realtors suggest doing a pre-home inspection so you won’t be blindsided by a significant problem that the buyer’s inspection might find. In this case, knowledge is power and gives you the upper hand on whether to stay firm on your price. Be warned, though, if you have two different inspections, you’ll end up with two different lists of items they’re concerned about. Just because your inspection didn’t find something problematic, doesn’t mean the buyer’s inspection won’t!
According to the National Association of Home Inspectors, inspectors have a 1,600-item checklist—this is certainly no quick once-over! To be best prepared for this detailed investigation of your house, follow this guide:
- Provide Open Access To Areas That Need To Be Checked: Leave entryways open, doors and gates unlocked, and clear clutter impeding access to areas or systems that the inspector needs to inspect. If they can’t get to it, it becomes a red flag.
- Check The Roof: The roof is a main part of a home inspection. Before the inspector comes, clear your roof and gutters of debris and moss, check for damaged or missing tiles, and make sure downspouts are in their proper position. If you do find any damage, you’ll want to get it repaired before your inspection.
- Clean Your Home: The cleanliness of your home isn’t necessarily part of the inspection, but a dirty house leads inspectors to be suspicious about how the rest of the home has been taken care of.
- Check Latches: Walk through your home and make sure all your cabinet doors are shutting correctly, and your doors are latching into the frame properly—handles, knobs, locks, etc. should also be addressed.
- Replace Bulbs That Are Out: Don’t let your inspector assume that a light bulb that is out is a bigger problem. If it’s out, they might be compelled to mark it as a possible defect and not look further into it, when there might not be an issue at all. To avoid this, make sure all bulbs are in working order.
- Fix Leaks And Water Damage: Your inspection will focus heavily on looking for leaks and water damage. Beat them to it by addressing these problems before they get there.
- Fix Running Toilets: This is an easy, cheap fix, but you certainly do not want your inspector to come across it.