Guide to Property Inspections When Selling Home

Selling a home is not a simple task as it requires a lot of things to accomplish. Among those, one of the important things that a home needs to undergo before being listed on the market is a home inspection. It is a limited, non-invasive examination of the home’s condition. In short, a home inspection is a professional checkup of the current state of the house. It is different from an inspection to verify compliance with appropriate codes. It is just something that identifies problems to give the seller some ideas on what needs to be fixed about the house.

If you are looking into learning more about home inspections, you’re in the right place. Today, we are giving you a guide to property inspections when selling a home.

What Do Sellers Get From Home Inspections?

Many buyers opt for property inspections to be performed for obvious reasons, and one is to ensure that the house they are buying is in top condition. But what do you think sellers get from these inspections? If you have the same question in mind, here are some of the home inspection benefits for sellers:

  • More buyers will be attracted when the home is inspected.

The certainty for the buyers is one of the top reasons sellers should have their property inspected. It provides buyers a comprehensive statement about the overall condition of the house. They can be confident that your property does not have any issues such as building problems, hazards, and pests. In addition to that, they can also be sure that any issues have been recorded and assessed in the report. With this, buyers can proceed with the sale knowing that they are not going to be blindsided by unexpected discoveries. 

A home inspection can accelerate the deal process as it gives sellers the chance to have issues corrected beforehand and avoid delays and setbacks during the negotiation process in case the buyer’s checks reveal unexpected issues. 

  • A property inspection will enable the sellers to understand the current condition of the house.

Sellers are given an accurate understanding of the condition of their property during the inspection. It can identify both minor and major issues about the house, including small cracks and drainage problems that can be easily solved to prevent escalation. In addition to correcting issues immediately, a home inspection also gives sellers better leverage during price negotiations, as they can back up their claims about the condition of their property with firm opinions from experts. Also, learning about the true condition of your property will provide you a better basis for determining its value for a realistic expectation on the asking price. 

  • A property inspection can help sellers predict future costs. 

When a property is inspected comprehensively before the sale, it allows sellers to predict future costs accurately. For instance, if you are planning to replace different systems in the house, like plumbing and piping, heating and cooling, or electrical wiring, you might want to have them assessed first to know the possible replacement time frame. This information can help you during the negotiation process, as you can be confident that these systems are still in good working condition.

In addition, knowing future costs also give sellers a better basis for planning and budgeting and for negotiation, as well. You can decide to have different systems in your home replaced before selling. Also, those things that are still in good working conditions can be highlighted for a potentially better price.

  • A property inspection can help set the expectations of the seller.

It is better to sell your home with a correct and accurate perspective of the value. A property inspection report will reveal the hidden factors that affect the value of your home. When you have comprehensive reports on hand, you will be able to set your expectations around the price and sale of the house confidently. You will also have a good foundation for answering questions that potential buyers may ask.

  • A property inspection can give sellers peace of mind.

Having property inspections done by professionals before selling can give sellers peace of mind. It’s because an inspection can provide detailed and critical information about the condition of the house and its systems, from plumbing to air conditioning. If the inspection comes back all clear, the property can be advertised, and the seller can transact with confidence that prospective buyers won’t find any issue later on.

Preparing Your Home for an Inspection Before Selling

man checking the windows of a home

Usually, when people talk about preparing for a home inspection, they are looking at things from the perspective of the buyer. While it is true that a home inspection is an essential event for buyers, it is also something that sellers need to prepare for. With this, here are some of the tips we can give to sellers when it comes to preparing their homes for an inspection before selling:

  • Ensure that everything is working well indoors.

A home inspection is meant to check that all of the systems in your home, as well as major mechanicals, are in working order. With that, as a seller, you need to provide tome to check the following:

  • HV/AC system
  • Plumbing elements
  • Electrical outlets and light switches

Aside from these, you also need to make sure that all of the doors and windows of your home open and close properly. There should be no cracks in your walls or foundation. Your ceilings should also be stain-free.

If anything in your home is not working well, your best bet is to have it taken care of before the home inspection starts. If something gets flagged on the report, you may need to negotiate the repair with the buyer, which usually involves more work than solving the issue yourself.

  • Clean your house before the home inspection day.

Aside from making minor repairs, it is also a good idea to clean your house before the inspection. Cleanliness may not be a factor in the inspection, but it will provide a better overall impression to the inspector and the buyers.

  • Don’t forget your home exteriors.

It is also important to take the time to make sure that the exterior of your home looks nice, too. Ensure that your lawn is mowed and any landscaping is pruned, weeded, and watered properly. You should also clean out the gutters and patch up any missing shingles on the roof.

  • Make sure that important documents are on hand.

If there are recent works that have been done on your home, such as HVAC system maintenance, you need to gather up documentation for those. This is useful information for inspectors and as well as a calming factor for the buyer. Both of them will be reassured that the home is well taken care of.

  • Prepare to leave before the inspection starts.

Once the inspector arrives at your property, it is better to take the initiative to leave. This way, the inspector will not feel awkward as he or she checks your home. If you have pets at home, it is also better to take them with you. If there is anything that you think will be helpful for the inspector to know, leaving it in a note for them to find is a good idea.

What Do You Have to Fix After an Inspection?

You might also wonder what qualifies as a mandatory fix after a home inspection is done. Well, the answer to this depends on the state that you live in and the language of your contract. Commonly, sellers are not legally required to make any fixes at all, but the buyer can certainly request them.

Whether or not the fixes after a home inspection is mandatory is based largely on location. Aside from that, the contract language is also important. For instance, if the buyer has already agreed to buy the property as is, this means that the seller has no obligation to take care of any fixes at all. 

So, what type of fixes do you think might be mandatory or important? If you live in a state or area that requires sellers to fix certain issues before a sale can push through, then here are some of the fixes that you might need to consider:

  • Roof damage
  • Moisture damage and mold issues
  • Electrical system damage
  • General plumbing problems
  • Major HVAC problems
  • Building code violations
  • Rodents, insects, and other pest problems
  • Damage to the foundation and other structural components of the house.

All of these fixes are needed as they pose some sort of danger to the future owner of the house. There are also things that do not make the cut, including broken or outdated appliances, cosmetic issues, and non-serious plumbing and HVAC issues like leaky faucets and poor water pressure. These fixes can be requested by the buyer, but the seller is unlikely required to make them. But they still choose to work on them to make sure that the sale pushes through.

Can a Home Inspection Prevent Us From Selling?

man inspecting the door of a house

There are some sellers who are afraid of undergoing a home inspection. It’s because some of them feel that a property inspection can prevent them from selling their homes. However, before you blame home inspectors and the results of the inspection on why you were unable to sell your home, keep in mind that there are other factors why a deal falls apart.

Different home inspection situations may lead to a canceled transaction. But these do not include two things, which are the house and the home inspector. With this, you really need to understand what really happens in and after a home inspection. 

When the results of the inspection are given to the buyer, and some issues are needed to be addressed, the expectations of the buyer may change, which may also cause problems. However, the inspection is not the one you should blame, but the expectation of the client about the house being sold. Some buyers also change their minds due to other factors.

  • High expectations: Most people today are searching for a level of luxury and comfort in a home. That’s why many of them are buying more expensive and complex houses but have less understanding of how they are made.
  • Unable to understand reports: When you hire a home inspector, you will receive around 40 pages of a report with lots of photos and diagrams. While it sounds good, these data usually lack the tools that can help buyers understand the information.

In addition to those two factors, there are other reasons deals fall apart after a home inspection:

  • The listing has overpraised the conditions of the property.
  • Buyers have definite feelings about an issue.
  • Buyers realize that there are factors about the house that they do not like.
  • The house has more issues that the buyer is willing to fix.

Therefore, we can say that an inspection can’t prevent sellers from selling their homes. It just depends on the buyer’s perspective, the overall condition of the house, and how you negotiate the needed repairs.

How to Negotiate Repairs After Your Home Inspection

If there are repairs needed to be done after conducting the home inspection, here are some of the tips that we can give on how you can negotiate these repairs:

1. Review the home inspection report with a real estate agent.

Usually, home buyers and sellers should receive the inspection report within 24 to 48 hours after the inspection is done. This will review the major issues, which are commonly highlighted. There will be special emphasis on safety hazards and structural matters. Most of the time, an inspector will mark these issues in red, which means major repairs are needed. 

Aside from that, the report will also contain a list of minor issues. It also usually comes with photos of the major problems and needed repairs. As a seller, you need to discuss the next steps with your listing agent. He or she should give you sound advice based on the common negotiation process, considering the current real estate environment. 

2. Consider the current real estate market.

The kind of real estate market can have a substantial effect on negotiating after a home inspection. If it is a buyer’s market, it is best to negotiate important repairs. You need to focus on big-ticket items, such as structural and mechanical issues and as well as safety hazards. If the following buyers would also insist on having these problems fixed, it means you really need to address them. When the seller’s market is strong, you may not have to do anything even when bigger issues are discovered. There can be a minimal negotiation process.

3. Pay attention to repairs by the size of the issue and cost to remedy.

Compared to new houses, older homes will probably be ripe for having more issues. Most of the time, buyers focus on repair requests that are really needed. As a seller, you need to focus on any safety concerns. Keep in mind that the buyer’s focus will be on significant unplanned expenses, such as water damage, a leaky roof, faulty electrical systems, and the likes.

4. Get estimates from local contractors.

Meant for the large ticket items, it will be practical to get estimates to remedy whether you are the seller or the buyer. It is important to have due diligence in this situation to get at least some idea of the cost of repairs. It is more difficult to negotiate possible problems into the purchase agreement if you do not have a handle on pricing.

5. Push for inspection credits instead of repairs.

When you sell your home, you should always push for a closing cost credit or a price reduction if possible. Negotiating home inspection issues may be challenging, but it is what sellers should be shooting for. The buyer, however, can be picky about the quality of work, leading you to be asked for more work. This is why many realtors recommend you offer the cash value of the repairs instead of offering to do the repairs yourself. 

Tips on Making the Most of Your Home Inspection

woman explaining the interior of a house

Sometimes, property inspections can have a bad repute among sellers. Even if you’ve kept up with routine maintenance, there can still be some unexpected issues that might turn up. But you should not fear a home inspection. There are many ways on how you can cooperate with it without hurting your odds of a successful closing. Here are some of the tips that might help you make the most of your home inspection

  • Put your best foot forward.

There are many issues that can give buyers a reason to walk away. In fact, sometimes, even if it is just some minor problems like broken doorbells and non-working appliances, the deal can be broken. To prevent this, ensure that your home is in the best possible condition before the inspection. If there are repairs that you can easily work on, do your best to finish them on time.

  • Do not rush the inspection.

A home inspection can take about 3 to 4 hours to finish an average house. It is not something that can be done in just 20 minutes. If you seem to rush the inspector through his work, it will look as though you are hiding something from him. It is just best to leave the house entirely for the duration of the inspection to be safe.

  • Disclose any known issues to the home inspector.

Keep in mind that when selling a house, honesty is the best policy. Therefore, if you are aware of some issues in your home, such as a roof that needs repair, you need to let the inspector know. He or she will know about this eventually. Therefore, it is best, to be honest.

  • Do not expect perfection.

Remember that no home inspection has ever come back flawless. In fact, even newly constructed houses have issues. Instead of dreading the inspection report, you have to mentally prepare yourself, instead in making some negotiations. In case the report shows a list of issues, you need to expect that the buyers will lower their offer or ask you to fix some things before closing the deal.

What Should You Know About Home Inspectors?

A home inspector is a trained professional that makes a complete assessment of a home and its components. The assessment done by a home inspector is documented in a report that they provide to the seller or buyer. 

When a home inspector is properly trained, he will review your home as a system. Looking at one part of the house might affect how another part works or how long it will last. They will go through your home and do a complete visual inspection to assess its condition and all of its systems. Home inspectors will determine the parts that are not doing well, including the items that are beyond their useful life or those that are unsafe. In addition to that, home inspectors will also identify areas where repairs might be needed or where there might have been issues in the past. 

Keep in mind that home inspections require knowledge, special training, and good communication skills. Therefore, when you look for a home inspector, you also need to consider his or her knowledge, experience, certification, training, licensing, and industry participation. To learn more about this, you can read our post on What You Should Know About Home Inspectors.

Who Is Present During a Home Inspection?

As critical as the inspection is, do you have any idea who attends a home inspection? In this part, we are giving you some ideas about the role of the home inspector and as well as who should and should not be there during the property inspection.

Here are the ones who should attend a home inspection:

  • The Home Inspector

In a home inspection, the home inspector is the only one who has to be present, obviously. In some cases, real estate agents are the ones who hire the inspector and set up the appointment. But keep in mind that you also have a say in which home inspector you pick. The inspector will go around the house and check the structural integrity of the home, mechanical systems, and more that we’ve mentioned earlier. 

Aside from the whole house and radon inspections, your agent may also recommend other types of home inspections, such as roof, chimney, termite, pests, structural, and lead-based paint inspections.

  • The Buyer / The Buyer’s Agent

It is also a good idea for the buyer to attend the home inspection. It is a great time to ask the inspector about the different parts of the house, how each system works, and hear about maintenance, as well. If ever the buyer can’t attend the inspection, their agent can also go for them. 

The people who attend a home inspection also depend on the state you are buying. There are states where realtors do not attend the inspection, and the only one who goes is the inspector. There are also states where a licensed realtor is mandatory to go with the inspector. The buyer’s agent can use the findings of the inspector during negotiations.

Here are the ones who should not be at the home inspection:

  • The Seller / The Listing Agent

Even though the seller is allowed to be around during the home inspection, it is still not a good idea. However, whether or not the listing agent should be present is debatable. For some people, he should be there as he represents the seller. However, others argue that the listing agent should not be there as this is the opportunity for the buyer to roam the house without feeling as though the agent is snooping on them.

  • The Family or Friends of The Buyer

For buyers, it is quite understandable that they’d want to bring someone more knowledgeable when it comes to buying houses. However, it will not be in your best interest. It’s because that person will feel pressured about finding issues. They may end up making comments about the knobs on the cabinets looking old-fashioned, which is an easy fix. 

  • A General Contractor

Some people might think that it is useful to have a contractor friend attend a home inspection to spot things that home inspectors could miss. However, remember that contractors are not inspectors and realtors. What you can do instead is to make your contractor friend a resource by having them go through the inspection report. You can discuss the issues and the costs to repair them.

Tips for Having a Pre-Inspection for Your Home

Inspections can surely uncover surprises even if you have stayed on top of your home maintenance routines. The inspection process can be a daunting experience for sellers. To help you, here are some of the best tips that we can give for having a pre-inspection for your home.

1. Lean on your real estate agent to guide you in navigating through the preparations and negotiations of the home inspection. 

Depending on how many times you have sold a house before, you may not have any experience preparing for the home inspection process. This is why an experienced real estate agent can help you. Here are some of the things that your agent can help you with:

  • Understanding the types of home maintenance issues common in your area.
  • Have a plan for any repairs that are needed to be addressed.
  • Gauging your real estate market to know how much leverage you have as the homeowner depending on if you are in a buyer’s market or seller’s market. 
  • Help you distinguish major and minor inspection findings.

2. Be knowledgeable about the types of things that home inspectors look for.

Home inspection reports are usually long and very detailed, which can may you think that your house is falling apart. However, most of the things on the report are not worth stressing about. Some of the things that you need to pay attention to are major issues that pose a safety or health issue or something that violates the building code. Some of the things that the inspector looks for during the inspection include roof damage, plumbing issues, HVAC age and functionality, water damage, structural issues, and electrical systems. 

3. Take into consideration the advantages and disadvantages of a pre-inspection.

A pre-inspection is something that allows the seller to correct issues that would come up in the buyer’s inspection at closing, providing the seller more power during negotiations. However, it also comes with some drawbacks. One is that it can uncover a list of problems and cause the seller to spend money on repairs. Keep in mind that when you get a pre-inspection, you are legally required to share its results with your buyer’s agent. 

Also, different inspectors may come up with different results, which can be a problem for sellers. If one inspector finds things that another inspector might not, the remedies offered may also not be standard. There is no way to tell if your pre-inspection will uncover the same things as a future inspection or if it will uncover more issues than a later inspection might discover.

If you decide to have a pre-inspection, ensure that you leave out a copy during open houses. This way, buyers will know that you have done your due diligence in finding issues about the house. You should only do a pre-inspection if you are willing to fix what an inspector finds.

4. Prior remodeling may also affect the inspection.

Not all the things discovered during a pre-inspection are easy fixes. This applies to previous work that has been done on the property. When these types of issues are uncovered, even though they are not your fault, the problem will still fall on you as a seller to correct them.

5. Do not hide known issues from the inspector.

One of the issues when it comes to finding and fixing potential problems before a home inspection is seller resistance. To prevent snags on inspection day, proper home maintenance is important. This can include cleaning gutters, changing the furnace filter, and the likes. Also, if you know certain issues about your home which can’t be fixed instantly, do not try to hide them from the inspector. Trust us that they will eventually discover these things. It is better, to be honest about the issues that your home has during pre-inspection so that you can have them solved before you sell your home.

Conclusion

Selling a home indeed involves lots of processes, and home inspection or pre-inspection is just one of them. Though home inspections may be feared by many sellers, it is actually a good idea as it also helps the buyer understand the condition of the home that he is planning to sell. This way, the seller can decide whether to fix the issues first before listing the house for sale or to just decrease the asking price of the house and sell it as it is. We hope this guide helped you in learning more about property inspections when selling your home.