Home Inspection Tips for Sellers
For home sellers, the home inspection can be like a scene from a reality television show. Strangers arrive at your front door and dive into every nook and cranny of your personal space. For hours on end they open closets, crawl through your belongings, turn on every faucet in the house. They flush toilets, open electrical panels, fire up your oven and run your washer, dryer or any other appliance they can find. Then, they climb your roof, wander through your basement or crawlspace, and seemingly trounce over every square inch of your yard.
From downspouts to dishwashers to smoke detectors, the home inspection process is by its very nature – intrusive. Your challenge, as the contestant in this show, is to remain pleasant, cheerful and completely accommodating while these personal invaders tear through your home. But – if you survive the harrowing ordeal without blowing a fuse, the payoff can be big: a windfall of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sale of your home!
According to a joint study by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR), nearly four out of every five homes sold in the nation are evaluated by a professional home inspector before they are sold.
Hired by the home buyer, home inspections are designed to protect the buyers from investing in a home that turns out to be a real life money pit. NAR reports that Realtors recommend real estate buyers get a home inspection nearly 99% of the time. Most buyers heed that advice, requesting home inspections in 84% of all transactions, even for new homes.
For sellers, understanding the home inspection process and preparing your home for the inevitable evaluation not only helps to ensure that the transaction goes through, but can often translate into getting a top-dollar selling price as well.
A Seller’s Guide to Preparing for the Home Inspection
In all likelihood, the buyer will hire a general inspector who will spend 2-3 hours in your home, going over it from top to bottom, “looking for trouble, but hopefully not finding any.” The inspector will look closely at the roof, the HVAC system, the electrical system, the plumbing system and the structural integrity of the home. He will also test the appliances, open and close all the windows and doors and look for signs of deferred maintenance.
No home is perfect, so be prepared for a laundry list of requested repairs from the buyer after the inspection. At that time, we’ll discuss each item and determine whether or not you want to address it. However, prior to the inspection, it’s a good idea for you to go through the home with your tool kit (or with your handyman – let me know if you’d like to talk to mine) to correct as many items as you can ahead of time.
If you don’t hire your own inspector, here are some items to take a look at, and correct as needed:
HVAC system – have it cleaned and serviced. If repairs are needed, make them
Make sure most windows open and close, and that the locks work
If you have removed the screens from your windows, re-install them
Check for leaks in faucets and under sinks
Dust off the water heater
Ensure that sinks and tubs drain quickly
Ensure that all light fixtures have working bulbs
If toilets wobble, replace the wax ring and bolt down firmly
Clean up cobwebs in basement
Replace cracked or broken window panes
Caulk around tub
Clean out gook in faucet filters (to maximize water pressure)
Fix squeaks in wood floors, if you can
Ensure patio doors slide smoothly
Roto-Rooter your sewer line
Ensure downspouts have extenders
Have your roof inspected, and make repairs as recommended
Dig up receipts and warranties for recent repairs
How to Prepare for a Home Inspection: Tips for Sellers
As a seller, you may feel nervous about how to prepare for your upcoming home inspection. Fortunately, there are things you can do in advance to help things run more smoothly. That’s why we rounded up home inspection experts
Hire a professional
The first step in how to prepare for a home inspection is to hire a professional and reputable home inspector
Leave the house during the inspection
Prepare to be out of the house for at least three hours to allow time for the inspection. Buyers are often present during the inspection; they may feel uncomfortable asking questions if the seller is present. If you are unable to remove animals from the property, be sure they are crated or otherwise secured. – Safe Check Home Inspections
The house needs to be in a clean, orderly, and readily accessible condition. Stored items, personal items, and furniture greatly impact the ability to test and inspect numerous systems throughout the home. Is the sink full of dishes? Are the moving boxes blocking access to the air conditioner and water heater in the garage? Access issues during an inspection do not reflect well on the report and could also be a negative for the buyer.
Replace light bulbs
Replace all dead light bulbs inside and out prior to inspection. If you are using low wattage bulbs, replace them with nice, bright lights prior to inspection. Bright lights may help your house show better as well
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO PREPARING FOR A HOME INSPECTION
Getting a home inspection carried out on your home that you’re trying to sell doesn’t always fill you up with excitement, but failing to prep your home for the inspection could lead to a delay in the sale. Besides, the last thing a seller needs is for a home inspector to accidentally break a fixture or cause damage to a wall because the home was not adequately prepared for an inspection.
A home inspection is usually the final hurdle before you can stick a ’SOLD’ sign in the lawn of the front yard, so it’s essential to put your best foot forward and get your home ready to be looked at closely. To help you do so, Elementary Property Inspections has formulated a Beginner’s Guide to preparing for a home inspection. By following this guide, as a home seller, you will be able to prepare your home for a home inspector to properly inspect the property, and not have to return for a follow up because of an inability to access some areas for inspection.
What tools do I need?: No tools are necessary to be prepared for a home inspection. All you need to do is be ready to clean and move personal property out of the way.
How can I benefit from the inspection?: Home inspections allow a buyer to ensure that all of the systems of the home, plumbing, electrical, structure, roof, etc., are working correctly, and if not, as the owner, you will know what areas need to be addressed so that you don’t have to renegotiate the price. The home inspector will offer recommendations on how to correct any issue found.
Clean the house: This sounds so simple, yet homeowners 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 great idea to make a good impression. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they can see past stuff; they can’t!
Guide to home insurance inspections
After completing a home insurance application, the provider may require a home inspection. That means an inspector from the insurance company will come by to look at the home. Although most of us may not be thrilled about a stranger coming by to poke around our home, many insurance providers request an inspection before signing off on a new home insurance policy
Why do insurance companies require home inspections?
The main purpose of a home insurance inspection boils down to one word: liability. An insurance liability is anything that could create risk for the provider when they agree to underwrite a policy that insures a home. Although applications for home insurance are thorough and should include an exhaustive list of potential liabilities in the home, many insurance providers want to make sure nothing is overlooked. Thus, insurance companies require home inspections to ensure the application accounts for all liabilities in the home.
Benefits of a home insurance inspection
Home inspections aren’t just to satisfy insurance providers. These inspections can help homeowners.
A few of the benefits homeowners get include:
The inspector is looking for potential risks that could impact claims. Uncovering risks that are previously unaccounted for protects the homeowner. Once the risks are identified, the homeowner can address them.
Home insurance companies also discount their policies for home features like security systems and fire alarms. Anything in the home that could provide a discounted premium will also be identified during the inspection.
Home inspectors will look into the level of coverage for the insured home. Homeowners don’t want too much or too little coverage for their home, so getting a second opinion from a professional is always helpful.
Cost of a home insurance inspection
The cost of a home inspection will change based on your provider and the home’s location. State Farm estimates that home inspection costs range from $300 to $500. However, you generally only have to pay this cost if you want an inspector for your own purposes, such as you’re buying or selling a home. If an insurance provider requires an inspection, the provider generally sends the inspector out and pays for their time. You shouldn’t be charged for the inspection if it’s for insurance purposes.
How to prepare for a home insurance inspection
Before the home inspector arrives, there are a few pieces of information that you should have on hand. Gathering these documents before the home inspection will make the process go smoother.
The information to have for the inspection includes:
Square footage documentation: This is helpful to verify how large the home is and whether or not the coverage limit is correct for the value of the home.
Renovation details: Any changes to the exterior or interior of the home made by the homeowner should be documented to show the inspector. These changes will affect the home’s value and, therefore, the amount of coverage.
Home systems and alarms: Any documentation you have on home systems and alarms will be helpful to have on hand. Many home insurers offer discounted policies for specific home systems and alarms.