Things Sellers Should Fix Before a Home Inspection
A big part of preparing your home for a sale is doing minor repairs, which will benefit you as a seller during the home inspection. If you have found a buyer for your home, you must ensure that the sale process goes over as smoothly as possible. There are some things sellers should fix before a home inspection that will reduce buyer repair requests and make the house look better right away, which helps you get ahead of the competition. Let’s go through some of the major fixes and repairs you can do to yield this result.
Gutter and roof maintenance
A buyer discovering that your home has roofing problems is one of the most common reasons for them backing out of the deal. Fixing the roof can be one of the most costly repairs you can conduct. A full roof replacement sometimes goes up to even a hundred thousand dollars, depending on a few variables. Receiving an adverse report about the roof’s condition can make a seller feel like the investment of buying your home just isn’t worth it.
You should do what you can to give yourself the best chance at avoiding this kind of seller failure. Here’s a quick checklist of things sellers should fix before a home inspection when it comes to their roofs:
- Make sure the gutter system isn’t blocked;
- Clear foliage and other large clutter on the roof;
- Replace missing or damaged shingles;
- Trim any nearby trees that have branches that are hanging over the roof;
- Clear all moss and mildew from the roof;
- If necessary, re-caulk the roof;
- Ensure the chimney is safe.
And remember that if you start this in advance and do it regularly over time, it can turn out to be much less of a money drain.
Electrical system checkup
Before anything is said in this segment, we must address and remind you of an essential rule of electrical work. Safety goes first! Yes, you can fix some more minor issues yourself and save some cash. However, it’s much easier and safer if you have an electrician do it for you. Here is a small checklist of the main things sellers should fix before a home inspection when it comes to their electrical system:
- Check whether the fuse box is correctly labeled;
- Check for and fix exposed wires;
- Repair any sockets which have reversed polarity;
- Make sure that none of the circuit breakers you have are double-tapped;
- Replace missing outlets and switch cover plates.
If you want to do some of these things by yourself, at least make sure to consult with an electrician before starting any solo projects.
Check the plumbing
Plumbing is another system in your home that the home inspector will spend extra time and effort assessing. If your house is older, there is a high chance that you’ll have to replace a few substandard plumbing fixtures. Of course, you won’t be reinstalling your home’s entire plumbing system for the sake of a home inspection, but a good plumber will tell you what to focus on as most urgent.
Water damage and leaks
A lot of things can cause leaks and water damage. Even things that sound contradictory, like droughts, can indirectly cause leaks by affecting your home’s foundation.
Water damage is an awful sign during a home inspection. It usually shows that there are far worse problems hidden around the house. And it points to the possibility of serious structural issues.
Check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
This is a small and easy fix for sellers to do before a home inspection. Making sure that all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working as they should is going to get you some points during the inspection. And it is not going to take a lot of work or money. You just have to replace some dead batteries and any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors that aren’t functioning properly.
Have your HVAC system serviced
The HVAC system is an essential part of the house. It cleans and filters the air we breathe and is an excellent ventilation source. This helps with preventing condensation and secondary water damage to the building. However, because they do so much, it’s very easy for them to start failing if neglected for too long.
Depending on your air filter, you should switch it out monthly or quarterly. Even with that, you should have a brand-new filter installed in the entire system before the inspection is conducted. It would be best if you also cleaned the evaporator and condenser coils before the inspection.
Conduct a routine pest control inspection
If there is anything in this process you can be sure of, it’s that having any pests in your home will turn away a buyer. Sure a bug or spider in a corner isn’t a problem. However, if you have an infestation at your home, you need to get rid of it right away.
Buyers will usually interpret a pest infestation as a sign of poor hygiene and a lack of overall cleaning. While a buyer usually has to actively request a pest inspection, which is something most of them do not do, an infestation will easily be noticed during some of the other parts of the inspection. Here are four of the main pests you should look out for and clear your home of before a home inspection:
Repair cabinets and doors
When the home inspector and the buyers arrive, it is important to avoid the appearance of neglect. A great, easy and cheap way of achieving this is repairing loose cabinet doors, doors that don’t close correctly, and/or windows that don’t operate as intended. All of these projects are easy things sellers should fix before a home inspection by themselves.
Check all small appliances and fix those that aren’t working well
An example of this would be for you to make sure to replace any blown light bulbs or replace the filters of appliances that use them. Items that are very easy to maintain, such as light bulbs, can demonstrate a high level of neglect if not taken care of properly.
You should also ensure that all remotes are accessible and working correctly. This is mainly because you want to make it easier for the inspector to check everything you need. This should include remotes for your HVAC systems, ceiling fans, garage door openers, gas fireplace inserts, etc.
Try hiring your own home inspector before going on the market
Our final tip is that if you’re concerned that your home might not pass a general home inspection, you should hire a home inspector to conduct a pre-listing inspection. They will tell you exactly which things sellers should fix before a home inspection and what to expect from certain types of inspections, like, for instance, a home foundation inspection.
If you decide to skip this step and wait for the buyer’s inspection, you will be putting all the power and leverage into their hands, especially if multiple issues come up on the report. If this happens, the buyer can enter a renegotiation phase and reduce your asking price considerably.
Patricia Taylor is a real estate agent and a freelance author. She writes mostly about real estate and moving companies like Next Stop Movers. In her free time, she likes to read, and she has a collection of old vinyl records.