What used to be solely the buyer’s nickel in the home buying process is now trickling into the seller’s realm. Home sellers are realizing the benefit of having a home inspection completed before listing their property for sale.
There are several reasons it behooves a seller to know the state of their home before it goes under contract, most importantly reducing the wear and tear one experiences during the closing process.
Nick Hanstein, of 5280 Property Inspections, explains some of the specifics on why people are choosing to take on this task before even listing their home.
Why should a seller consider having a home inspection done prior to listing their home?
Having the inspection done before listing is a great idea. It gives you the opportunity to find and schedule a home inspector of your choosing and on your time frame. This can give you a thorough view of your home and prepare it for showing. Then, with the information you are provided in the report, you will have time and options to choose who will do the repairs, be it contractors or yourself. The report and proof that the repairs have been completed can speed up the selling process.
What are some easy fixes that can translate to an easy real estate closing?
There are many but some of the bigger ones are getting the sewer line scoped and cleaned if necessary, and having the HVAC system cleaned and certified. Making sure that the gutters are clean and that all the downspouts are installed properly and draining away from the house is also a big one. No one wants to deal with water in the basement or crawl space, and have issues with the foundation.
What are the advantages for the seller in addressing repairs ahead of time?
Being able to show the correction of previous deficiencies can give the buyer peace of mind that the home is safe and no issues are present at the time of purchase. It can also speed up the process. In most cases, the potential buyer will want to have the items looked at by a professional, quotes will need to be created and a negotiation will most likely come up as to who is going to care for the fixes. If you have completed the repairs prior, this whole step can be skipped.
Give some examples of repairs that are easy “fixes” that will help keep the sale on track.
As was mentioned earlier, getting the HVAC system cleaned and certified. Making sure all the windows are working and having all the parts in place, and having all the doors operational and closing properly are big items. Fixing any leaks under sinks, such as at the P-trap, should be addressed. These are all pretty easy items the homeowner can complete, except for the HVAC, that can speed up the process and give the potential buyer peace of mind.
What items should be left for negotiation?
We usually see a lot of the bigger items being left for negotiation such as the replacement of any of the HVAC system or even the roof needing to be replaced. As I mentioned earlier, having some items cleaned beforehand can speed it up but many leave that it to the buyer which can slow down the process.
If a homeowner performs a home inspection, should the potential buyer accept the findings? Can this help accelerate the closing?
They should because the home inspector should be honest and thorough no matter who is hiring them to do the inspection. The buyer might feel that the inspector the owner hired was lenient because they hired them, but most inspectors will call out all deficiencies they find so they aren’t liable for any negligence. This can greatly accelerate the closing because the buyer will not have to find and schedule an inspector and then go through the whole inspection process. It also is beneficial for the seller since it lessens the potential of adjusting the home price.
Is this something that you are seeing more homeowners do or is the buyer still pretty much on the hook for this? Is it something you see more in higher value homes or does it cross over into more moderately priced houses?
For the most part, the buyer is still the one getting the inspection done. We find the owner usually feels that’s it’s the buyer’s responsibility. As for where do we see more pre-listing inspections, it’s hard to say. We have done a range of pre-listing inspections on anything from townhomes to larger single family homes.
Give me an example of a homeowner that did this and it worked to their advantage.
During one inspection we found a large portion of insulation missing in the attic. We called it out and the homeowner informed us there had been some work done in that portion of the home. The company that was hired, said they had replaced all the insulation in the work area, which they obviously had not done. The homeowner was then able to contact the company and get something in place to replace the insulation. If the buyer’s inspector had found this, it would have been a big surprise to the owner and potential buyer, and then they would have had to scramble to get the work done.
Which repairs are buyers more likely to tackle (accept responsibility for as opposed to the seller)?
Many will take on getting the HVAC cleaned and certified if necessary or some of the minor issues like plumbing and replacing switches or outlets, some of the items they feel they can do themselves.
Nick Hanstein is an owner/founder of 5280 Property Inspections. To learn more about home inspections, contact him at: