A Seller’s Home Inspection Checklist

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Most homeowners typically think of home inspections as being for home buyers only. And really, how can they be prepared for a home inspection?

As a seller, you can also have a home inspection done too. It gives you a heads-up of major issues and helps you prepare your home before selling to attract the highest purchase price.

Addressing issues found in the inspection would make the contract process go much smoother with your buyer. Knowing how to prepare for a home inspection before selling your house will help ease your buyer’s mind.

What does a home inspector do?

Home inspectors are licensed professionals who visually inspect the property to give a general opinion on the property’s condition. A professional home inspection is a visual, non-invasive, non-technically exhaustive inspection. This means they will not look inside walls or pull up floors.

They will look at your mechanicals, like your electrical system, water heater, HVAC system, roofing, and plumbing. They will use tools like cameras, gas meters, electric meters, or thermometers to test the mechanicals and ensure they are in the right range.

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They also look at your major appliances and the proper installation of them. They will also ensure that items like a gas fireplace or garbage disposal are connected and operating properly.

Should you get a pre-listing inspection?

Getting a pre-listing inspection is controversial. The inspection report will list necessary repairs and what should be addressed before a buyer arrives and gets their inspection. It does make you have to disclose what is found during the inspection. Things like foundation issues, termite damage, and water damage must all be disclosed.

What does a real estate agent think?

It’s best to ask where your real estate agent stands. There are arguments to be made for both sides, but if you don’t want to know not to disclose, consider selling to a cash buyer investor. They will buy your house as-is and won’t require an inspection.

Home Inspection Vs. Home Appraisal

A home inspection is not a home appraisal and is not used in the appraisal process in any way. A home appraisal is provided when a mortgage is given to purchase the home. The appraisal is an estimated value of the property using the house’s overall condition.

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Who Pays For The Home Inspection?

Whoever is hiring the inspector will pay for the home inspection. When buying traditionally, most buyers will have an inspection contingency in their purchase agreement.

As a seller, if you have an inspection done, you will put potential buyers’ minds at ease. Acknowledging major repairs and fixing minor repairs before listing will attract many buyers. A seller will not pay for the buyer’s inspection during their due diligence period and will have needed to be completed before listing.

What Is A Home Inspection Contingency?

A home inspection contingency in the contract is a clause that allows the buyer to have an inspection done and to renegotiate needed repair issues.

How Does A Home Inspection Contingency Work?

Once the seller accepts the offer, a home inspection is scheduled, usually as soon as possible. Certified home inspectors perform the home inspection within the needed timeframe. They will provide an inspection report to the buyer. They will ask to have repair issues corrected or a credit back on the purchase.

As a seller, you must decide if you want to address the repairs by having them fixed or provide credits back to the buyer. You can also let home buyers out of the contract and give them their earnest money deposit back.

How To Prepare For Home Inspection

You’ll still need to prepare for a home inspection if it’s before listing or after. Knowing how to prepare for a home inspection is vital when selling, and want to avoid unnecessary delays. By cleaning up, keeping all your utilities on, making sure the pilot light is still on for any gas mechanicals or appliance, and ensuring the property and access points are accessible and clutter-free, you send the message that you are an open book and likely to build trust with the home buyer.

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Leave Before the Buyers Arrive

If you are getting a presale inspection, please stay. Listen to what the home inspector is finding and what he thinks.

If the inspection occurs during the buyer’s due diligence period, it will make the inspector’s job easier if you are absent. You will only need to leave for 2 to 3 hours, which can vary depending on house size.

Ensure Easy Access To All Areas

A professional home inspector will need easy access to any easily accessible areas, including storage areas, crawl spaces, or attics. You’ll want to ensure access points aren’t painted in or secured. Again, inspectors will not punch holes in walls or pull up floors to finish home inspections.

What do home inspectors look for?

Home inspectors will look at as much as possible, from the roof line to the foundation. They will look for any small concerns or any major flaws. They will assess your electrical system, HVAC units, and plumbing, and it can even include a sprinkler system or pools if you have one.

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Let the Inspector Work

Most buyers and inspectors will want to avoid the seller around when they are finishing their home inspection. The seller is usually a distraction and may comment about the house, distracting the inspector. They will want to check the air conditioning or cooling systems, and cool at the right rate. They will flush toilets to ensure good plumbing, and they will make sure electrical outlets work. They will check for leaky faucets, door frames are square, doors close properly, and areas that may have rotted wood too.

If you will be in the home, try to make yourself available to answer any questions the inspector may have.

Choosing The Right Home Inspector

Lean on a real estate agent to help with this. They will have connections to a professional home inspector. During the hiring process, check if the inspector is bonded and insured. Ensuring they fit this is tough, but you’ll want them to be informative and not an alarmist. They also should focus on something other than needed repairs or renovations but only provide information.

Check That Things Are Functioning Properly

Home inspections are educational and require expertise. Homeowners can initiate the inspection by performing maintenance and some basic DIY inspections. Here are a few things you can inspect with your own inspection.

Check appliances and have warranties available

Your refrigerator should be set to cool and your freezer to freeze. Your stove and oven should work with no gas leaks. Your ventilation system should power on and help with the smoke from your stove. Having any transferable, extended warranties available for the buyer will continue to build trust and ensure they close on the sale.

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Have your HVAC system serviced

Have an HVAC professional look at your HVAC system and perform any needed maintenance. They can check that your system is functioning properly and your temperature changes are appropriate for the thermostat setting. If any concerns are found during the inspection, the home inspector will recommend that a qualified HVAC professional perform a more thorough inspection. You can have this done ahead of time.

Replace light bulbs or replace batteries

Inspectors will turn on all lights and ceiling fans from light switches. If nothing happens, they may assume an electrical issue. You can avoid this by replacing the light bulb. If it is not the light bulbs, consider replacing the fixture.

Items that use batteries, like garage door openers, carbon monoxide detectors, or smoke detectors, should be tested. If they are not working properly, replace the batteries. If that doesn’t correct the issue, you will want to replace them as well.

Label your fuse box

An electrical panel can be an area of concern for some home buyers. Having a clean, properly labeled fuse box, or breaker box, goes a long way to helping the inspector and build trust with buyers. This can be as easy as verifying labels in your electrical panels are already made or adding clear names to what is there currently.

Fix drainage and gutter issues while inspecting your roof

This can be done by clearing debris out of the gutter. This will also help ensure that runoff from the roof runs appropriately through the yard to ensure water doesn’t pool or cause mud pits.

While inspecting for roof issues, you’ll want to look for missing shingles and no major issues with the roof line. These could signal repairs needed to the roof.

When does a home inspection occur during the real estate transaction?

Home buyers will have a home inspection done after the sale of the property is accepted. State laws may vary, but generally, you’ll want to have it done within a week of the accepted sale.

Smart sellers will have everything done beforehand and have a few repairs that need to be made.

Consider a pre-listing inspection to get ahead of needed repairs

Having an inspection report before listing and completing the repairs may be a small expense, but it may save you headaches later. You can also look to address the concerns reported to you.

Even if you decide not to do any repairs, you won’t be blindsided when the report comes back and the buyers ask for repairs or concessions.

Complete repairs your pre-listing inspection uncovered

When you make the repairs found in a pre-listing inspection, you’re likely to have a faster, pain-free sale. Contact your agent to obtain their advice. Common things are reported in every inspection and are likely to be reported during the buyer inspection in their home inspection report.

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The Home Inspection Report

After completing the home inspection, you will receive a written report from your inspector. Take a deep breath and be prepared to go over it with him.

A good home inspection will provide small concerns and red flags in the house while still not being an alarmist. They shouldn’t scare you about the details they found in the report but be able to explain the ones that are health and safety issues.

Home Inspection Report Vs. Seller’s Disclosure Statement

The inspector reviews and lists concerns in the inspection report. These are not legal documents and are only used for renegotiation or terminating the contract.

Disclosures are legal documents the seller provides that outline known errors and concerns on the house. Reporting requirements will vary by county, state, and federal law.

The Bottom Line For Your Home Inspection

Little things like garage doors being out of alignment or an exterior that needs a pressure wash will signal that repairs are needed. Not only will it make it difficult to sell, but the buyer may feel uncomfortable when the home inspection comes back with flaws and concerns. They will want to have more repairs made or a credit when selling. It could even cause the buyer to walk away.

You can avoid all this by selling your house to a cash home buyer, like SILT Real Estate and Investments, LLC. You can avoid making any repairs or having to credit someone back after an inspection. And we close on your timeline to make it easy to sell and save you any unknown expenses. Call us at (708) 415-3801 or complete the short form below.

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