6 areas where home inspectors can help home sellers
No matter how much a buyer loves your property, a home inspection that reveals major problems can change their mind about buying your home. The buyer’s contract usually allows a time period, commonly ten days, to get a home inspection and back out of the contract in the event unacceptable problems are discovered. Commonly, the buyer may still want your home, but a bad report will move them into the driver’s seat as far as negotiations are concerned.
Because so much rides on a successful home inspection many experts recommend you have an inspection performed before even putting your home on the market. Hiring a licensed inspector to perform a prelisting inspection may identify any surprise issues you don't know about which could delay your closing date or, worse, cause your buyer to walk away.
The following 6 items are common areas of a home where inspectors find problems that can be taken care of prior to listing with a realtor.
Flickering or dimming lights could indicate your electrical system is not working properly. This could be a poor connection or one of several other common problems. Since it can be dangerous further evaluation is warranted.
Electrical outlets near any wet area such as in the kitchen or the bathrooms should not be within 6 feet of water unless they are GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) outlets. These electrical outlets are designed to trip at the slightest hint of a short that can be caused by wet hands or electrical items such as hair dryers falling into the water. They are a very effective safety device. Modern building codes require the outlets outside, in garages, and basements. While existing homes are not required to be brought up to modern codes a knowledgeable home inspector can identify the need for necessary safety repairs.
“Many older homes have two-prong or non-grounded outlets which are safe and widely used. A qualified inspector can inspect these outlets and make necessary recommendations. Having a qualified inspector or electrician inspect and certify the electrical system is safe can prevent an overzealous home inspector working for the buyer from recommending major, expensive repairs, that your buyer may insist on.
I am frequently surprised by the cost of common plumbing repairs. A plumbing inspection is not very complicated. Sinks, tubs, and showers should drain properly. Drain stoppers should work properly. Faucets should not leak and the same goes for the drains and supply lines under the sinks. Toilets should flush properly and should not continue to run. Around the toilet should be inspected to insure the toilet tank or the bowl seal is not leaking. The inspector will look at the exposed water supply lines including the main water line and shut-off. The hot water heater will be inspected. The exposed drain lines will be inspected. Many times, a knowledgeable inspector can make recommendations for repairs that a handy home owner can handle.
When a home inspector looks at your roof, he is inspecting everything from your roofing material to your gutters, vents, and downspouts. He is also looking at the roof’s structure and the chimney. If there are any signs of cracks and leaks, or shingles that have blown off, this will be noted.
It is common for home owners to have no idea of the condition of their roof. Many times, I have inspected roofs to find hail damage that the owner’s insurance can take care of. Other repairs that are needed are as simple as applying some caulking or the replacement of a few shingles. Common roof maintenance can extend the roof’s life expectancy by years if needed.
In this article the natural succession of problems your home may have is mold. The common symptom of plumbing or roof problems is water leaks. A mold problem is a water problem. Mold must have it to exist or grow. One of the top deal breakers for a home sale would be suspected mold. Because of the attention it has received from the media people are terrified of it.
Accompanying mold is a musty odor. Home inspectors certified to inspect for mold are trained to use their nose first. That musty smell can be responsible for turning the prospective buyer off the home before the contract is even considered. Any issue with mold should be addressed prior to selling.
The good news is mold is not nearly as difficult to deal with as might be expected. In many instances it can be cleaned up with soap and water. Find an inspector that is well educated on the subject. Be careful consulting a company that specializes in mold remediation and may be after an expensive remediation job.
For more information see www.laselleck.com/mold-and-allergen-testing.html.
5. Window and doors
Don't forget the simple home components that could prove problematic during a home inspection. An example is your home's windows and doors.
During the inspection of the windows and doors, the home inspector will be looking for the ease of operation and defects. It goes without saying broken windows should be repaired. However, don’t under estimate cleaning and WD 40. Check weather stripping, door knobs, and door stops.
6. Floors walls and ceilings
Most any home owner can look around and tell if new carpet or flooring is needed and the same goes with paint and wallpaper. A home inspector will look beyond finishes. He will look for cracks in the walls and ceilings and help the seller understand the difference between common cracks and those that might show movement in the home’s structure. Some cracks may be easily repaired with caulk and paint while others may require replacement of wall or ceiling panels.
While walking through the home an inspector will look for uneven areas in the floor that may be more than just worn out flooring. An alert home inspector many times can pick up on evidence of structural problems.
The bottom line
It is understood that many times when getting ready to sell a home, sellers do not have or don’t want to use the money needed to call in a home inspector and make repairs recommended on the report. The fact is though, sellers who do get the needed help and make the needed repairs find the property sells faster and for more money.
Realtors are aware of the need to have the property in tip top shape. Realtors will often recommend repairs when they meet with you for the listing. I have seen many realtors play the part of a home inspector. The simple reason is they make their living by selling your property and as stated a home in tip top shape sells for more money and brings bigger commissions.
You no doubt have heard of or watched programs on television about house flippers. The ability to flip a house for profit is because a house in excellent shape brings more money than one in need of repairs. The profit is from the difference in price above the cost of the repairs and the final price of the home. That is the situation in a standard home sale as well. The question is are you going to put that money in the bank or is the buyer?
You may notice in my articles I usually refer to a male home inspector. It is just habit and ease of writing. While most inspectors in my area are male there are good female home inspectors. When choosing an inspector, it is my opinion he or she should have an extensive background in the construction industry. It is especially helpful for sellers if they have experience in selling homes. An unqualified inspector can recommend unnecessary repairs that can eat up your profit. I welcome your comments and would be happy to answer your questions. www.laselleck.com
My goal is to have a series of articles that deal with items that may be found on the home inspection report. There will also be articles on choosing a home inspector and a realtor. This information will be based on my experience in the construction industry as well as information I research. I welcome your comments. If you have a question or would like to see an article on a particular subject please ask.