by Anita Raushel, Broker, Iron Country Realty
Today’s savvy home buyers will have your home inspected before they buy it, and if their inspector is good, your home will be thoroughly checked out from top to bottom.
Since there’s no getting around it, it’s a good idea to be prepared and beat your buyer to the punch by having your home inspected yourself before placing it on the market. That way, you can have any repairs or issues taken care of in advance. As an added benefit, homes that are in excellent condition attract more buyers and sell for more. You’re also much less likely to run into a last-minute repair crisis before closing.
Nip Problems In the Bud
In most states, sellers are required by law to disclose known defects in the house. If there ís a major problem with the house (such as a roof leak), you will likely need to disclose it to potential buyers, particularly if the problem isn’t remedied. Depending on your state’s laws, you may not need to disclose it at all if you have the problem repaired (check with your real estate agent or an attorney to be sure).
One of the biggest advantages to having a home inspection performed in advance is that you can discover and correct any little issues that might crop up during the buyer’s inspection. For example, your inspector may recommend having the coils in the air-conditioning system cleaned, or he may plumbing or electrical wiring issues that need to be addressed before your home goes on the market. Getting your home in top shape to start with will give buyers peace of mind and help them to see that your home is well-maintained and in good condition.
A home inspection may also identify certain safety issues that you should fix anyway while your family is living in the house. For example, you may need to install smoke detectors or clean out a dryer vent that could be a fire hazard.
Hire a Competent Inspector
When you select a home inspector, be sure to choose someone who has experience and who is qualified. Many states don’t require home inspectors to be licensed or to have any specialized training. Ask your real estate agent for recommendations, and choose an inspector with verifiable credentials, like certification from a national home inspectors association or specialized training.
Interview several inspectors before you hire one. Ask how many inspections they perform in a year, what special training they’ve had, and whether they will do repairs on your house if they find a problem. Don’t hire an inspector who will also perform repairs. This could lead to expensive and unnecessary repairs by an unscrupulous inspector. Also ask if they will provide you with sample inspection reports. You can learn a lot about how thorough an inspector is by reviewing a previous report.
Once you have your home inspected and any necessary repairs done, allow prospective buyers to see the report. This will provide peace of mind and give them a better idea of your home’s true condition; however, you should still encourage buyers to obtain their own home inspection. If someone buys your home and doesn’t get their own inspection, you don’t want them to later claim that you misrepresented the home’s condition if a problem arises and your inspector didn’t catch it.
Since your home is certain to be inspected by potential buyers anyway, it makes sense to have it inspected yourself first. You can avoid potential problems that could delay your closing, and you might even make your home safer for yourself and your family while you still live there.