So you’ve decided to sell your home. After choosing a realtor and doing the hard work of getting your home ready, you finally put it on the market. You get through the showings, the offers, and the negotiations to get it under contract. Now comes the home inspection. This is the buyers chance to get all-up-inside of your home. Will your home pass?
The home inspection contingency is the most common way for buyers to get out of the contract without consequence. They collect their earnest money deposit and move on to the next one, while you lose valuable time and have to start over from the beginning.
Receiving a lengthy repair notice will often leave a home owner feeling a taken back and a little defensive. But it’s not entirely the buyers fault. There are steps you can take and things you can do to make sure your home inspection doesn’t derail the transaction.
Looking for a sure-fire way to pass your home inspection 99.9% of the time? Here it is: get move in certified! Did you know that you can hire a own home inspector to do what’s called a pre-inspection? This will usually cost you the same amount as the buyers inspection, around $400. However, a Move-In Certified™ Seller Inspection informs you of any defects or problems with your home so that you can address them before prospective buyers discover them. You can then take the time you need to obtain reasonable repair estimates. Show prospective buyers that you are dealing in good faith. Avoid 11th-hour negotiations and delays, and justify your full asking price by having your home pre-inspected now.
Now, there’s no way to know what the buyer will and won’t ask you to repair. Maybe they’re handy and don’t mind making repairs themselves. Or maybe they have plans to rip up the hardwood and put in laminate floors. We just don’t know. However, there are some repairs that show up more than others, which are most commonly tied to Safety and Comfort. Let’s start by taking a look at what the home inspector will be looking for and break it down from there.
What does a home inspector look for?
- Exterior and Foundation
- Attic and Roof Structure
- Plumbing and Fuel Systems
- Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC)
- Bathroom, Laundry & Sinks
- Interior, Doors & Windows
Structural repairs related to safety are the biggest deal killers. This usually means there is something wrong with the foundation. Drainage problems may not seem like much, and might even be missed if inspected during a dry period, but they are often the cause of foundational damage. Any flooding due to poor drainage or a damage roof should be disclosed and repaired if possible.
Next would be the plumbing and electrical systems, which address both safety and comfort. Older homes are often not up to code with todays standards or they have been repaired by the homeowner. My inspector likes to call these “homeowner specials.” A good home inspector who knows their stuff is going to make note of these violations in the inspection report.
Lastly would be things like the HVAC, windows, doors, and insulation that relate to comfort. Energy efficiency is very relevant and people are conscious about the ways they can save and conserve energy. Although not technically a repair, I️ have seen request to replace windows, or add insulation into the attic. These updates are actually good selling features and can create some leverage if done prior to listing the home.
Prepare for your Home Inspection
Do what you can to make the home inspectors job easier. They’re people too, and a happy inspector is more likely to overlook the small stuff.
Remove clutter and keep it clean
The home inspector is going to need to access all areas of the home, including the attic and crawl spaces. Make sure there’s nothing blocking these areas or doors that are locked. Clean out your appliances and sink. No one wants to touch your dirty stuff. If you make their job easier, then they're likely to be in a better mood, resulting in a more positive report.
Disclose known flaws and provide documentation of repairs
If there are problems with the home, it’s best to be honest and disclose those facts. The inspector will likely find these items anyway. If you’re upfront about them this will reflect more favorably on you. Share any invoices and receipts you have of work that has been done recently, including repairs and maintenance.
Get away for a few hours
Leave the inspector to do their job. If you can’t leave, you can try to be helpful, but I’d stay out of their way. Definitely don’t try to influence them in anyway, and don’t lie. As I mentioned, they will find the flaws in your home regardless, and if you’re dishonest it will make its way back to the buyers.
There you have it! You now have everything you need to pass your home inspection. Of course, there are ways to avoid the inspection all-together, like selling the home as-is, but that’s another conversation. If you do have additional questions, please email me and I’d be happy to answer them.
Pay close attention to your contract. Did the buyer initial number 4B on the Property Inspection Addendum? This is the buyers general right to terminate the contract for “no reason stated.” That means they can terminate the contract within the inspection period and not disclose why. I️ do not recommend initialing 4B as a seller, but please consult your favorite real estate professional.
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