Selling a home can be a stressful and nerve-wracking process especially if you’re not getting the right kind of buyers. The most nerve-wracking of the processes however has to be the home inspection. As the owner you may be attached to the property and blind to it’s flaws, but now that you’re selling the home you need to get it ready for the buyer.
It can be particularly stressful situation when the inspector has scared the buyers, perhaps new buyers, that the home is ready to fall over, when all it really need are some cosmetic fix ups and basic maintenance… That being said, it’s part of the process so lets dig in.
Understand The Process
Most buyers will request an inspection as it’s in their best interest and protects them from unforeseen expenses down the road. This means that the buyer hires the inspector, not the seller. As a seller you must do everything you can to present your home in a good light. But be prepared as inspectors investigate every aspect of a home from the roof to the yard and they’ll easily uncover any defects you’re trying to hide. The inspector will be looking for problems that require immediate address and problems that might arise down the road. In most cases once the inspection is over that’s when the real work begins, and the negotiations ensue.
Home inspections are rather like selling the house all over again. Take the time to dress for success. First impressions are very important when it comes to any sale. Dress nicely and act politely. Clean up the home. Touch up areas that need new paint and put some new flowers in the garden. Repair minor problems like loose gutters, faulty steps, and trim work. Make the inspector work to find problems instead of providing obvious issues.
The flip side to this is that if you are trying to hide a major flaw with the home, it really isn’t a wise choice to do that. What is worse (and illegal if you submitted a property disclosure to the buyer stating everything was fine), is that if the inspector misses it, and down the road the new new owners realized you should have known about some major crack or leak or stigma (yes in many states/provinces you have to disclose hauntings, murders, rapes and so on) you can be help legally liable.
So be crafty, but don’t be wily. Clear as mud?
Repair and Fix As Needed
Most homeowners are aware of what needs to be done. Take care of existing issues before the inspection. Get electrical systems and heating and cooling systems installed. Fix minor roofing issues. Address any plumbing problems. Not only will this save you money during negotiations, it also shows that you take good care of your home.
Having a stranger paw through every corner of your home is frustrating. Homes generally have sentimental value and no one wants to hear about their homes’ flaws. However, the key to a successful inspection lies in remaining calm. Blowing a fuse or arguing with an inspector is a sure way to lose money. If you make your inspector angry, it is more likely he will be determined to find even more wrong.
So, keep calm, and inspect on! Smile and accommodate the inspectors. The payoff is worth it.
Te best way to prepare for a home inspection is to talk with an experienced real estate agent as they’ll be able to evaluate what needs to be done before an inspection.
We hope this post has helped sellers prepare – you may get lucky and not even have to be there when the inspector arrives, and then you can just skip the smile phase altogether!