Preparing For Your Home's Inspection
Great news, your home is now under contract!
Sometimes the negotiations to get to this point can be difficult leaving sellers feeling uneasy towards their buyers. Try to keep in mind, this is a good day. Your buyers like your house so much they are willing to spend good money to make your house their home. They want your home, and you want them to have it. It is so important to keep positive throughout the process because in the end, we all have the same goal!
One of the first things that will happen once your home is under contract is the home inspection which is part of the offer to purchase. The buyers will choose a licensed inspector and schedule the inspection within the allotted time frame per the offer.
Below are a handful of ways you can prepare and help yourself have a smooth inspection;
SCHEDULE A PRE-HOME INSPECTION:
If you're concerned your property might have any serious issues or if you haven't sold your home in many years, it may be worth your while to have your home inspected prior to placing it on the market. This gives you ample time to address and fix any issues beforehand. Not only does this give you better insight to the condition of your home and time to fix any items, this will eliminate the risk of the deal falling apart during the home inspection contingency (it will also be more appealing to buyers!).
CLEAN YOUR HOME:
This sounds so simple, yet home owners often overlook this tactic. Home inspectors are people first and inspectors second. As people, they carry preconceived ideas of how well a home has been maintained. Clean homes say you care and take care of the house. It's a important to make a good first impression. Don't make the mistake of thinking they can see past certain things; they can't.
Sometimes, home inspectors are early. If an inspector scheduled an appointment at your home for 9:00am, have the house ready for inspection at 8:30am. It's also common for inspectors to start on the exterior of the home, so be sure that you are ready to go and aware that they may be walking around your property prior to the scheduled appointment time.
DO NOT TURN OFF THE UTILITIES:
If your home is vacant, it is important to make sure your utilities are still on. This can cause a delay in your closing if the inspector gets there and can't test the plumbing or electricity.
EMPTY YOUR DISHWASHER AND WASHER/DRYER:
The home inspector will need to turn on the stove, run the dishwasher, the washer and the dryer (if they are part of the sale of your home). It makes everyone more comfortable if these are empty - no one wants to work around your dirty dishes or clothes.
MAKE ROOM FOR THE INSPECTOR:
Remove anything that could be blocking access to your furnace and water heater. The inspector will need three to four feet of working space to inspect these items.
They often will not move anything themselves but if they don't have access, an inspector might suggest a specialist to the buyer. Buyers will often then require the seller to hire a professional at their expense to confirm these items are in working condition.
MAKE SURE YOUR PILOT LIGHT IS LIT:
Most home inspectors will refuse to light pilot lights because the inspector does not carry enough insurance to be covered for that type of liability / risk. If your pilot lights are not lit, then important items such as the water heater, gas stove or furnace will not be inspected and the buyer could delay closing until those inspections are completed.
PREP YOUR BASEMENT AND/OR ATTIC:
The inspector will need to get into your basement and/or attic as well, so keep a path cleared. Check for water in the basement. Move all boxes and stored items away from the walls and be sure to tidy up.
THE SMALL THINGS:
- Check your doorbell
- Open any windows that have been closed for a long time
- Replace burned out light bulbs
- Plan to be out of the house for 2-3 hours
- Crate your pets if you cannot remove them from the home
WHAT DO THE BUYERS DO DURING THE INSPECTION?
The buyers and their real estate agent will attend the inspection in most cases. Do not be surprised if the buyer brings family members to your house during the inspection. They are excited to show off the home. They may also bring in contractors for estimates for flooring, paint, etc. This is their time in your home to complete a series of tasks to make them feel comfortable purchasing your home. The more pleasant you make this experience the better!
Some sellers will leave a note for the buyer welcoming them to the home, or maybe some brochures about the area, or original building plans. These little touches can go a long way to making the buyer feel good about purchasing your home.
AFTER THE INSPECTION:
The buyer will review the inspection report with their agent and attorney. They will need to decide if there is anything that is not working or not safe that must be addressed prior to closing.
Should their be any items the buyers are seeking to be repaired, your real estate agent will then review these requests with you. Some requests are reasonable and you should repair them. Other requests are cosmetic in nature. Sometimes a buyer is just asking for clarification (for example, "We noticed a dark spot on the ceiling--what is that?"). Be prepared to provide answers and documentation about the age/service history of certain items like the roof or furnace.
Repair items and have the proof:
After you've reviewed the requested repairs, make sure you have the items completed in a timely fashion for any items you've agreed to repair. The buyer may want to come out and "re-inspect" certain things, or they may just want the paperwork/report and any receipts at closing. But, don't wait...make those repairs ASAP to prevent a delay in closing.
If you need recommendations for contractors or vendors, we have a vast list of vetted vendors ready to go to work for you!
Like every aspect of the pending period, communication is key. A positive attitude and a willingness to work together will get us all to the closing table.
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