Having watched hundreds of home inspections take place over the years here are my top 6 things that you should always do as a SELLER:
1. Do not be home for the inspection.
You cannot influence it and it makes it appear as though you have something to hide. Home inspection will take a minimum of 2 hours but usually not more than 3 hours. The time it will take hinges on the size/condition of the house.
2. Make sure you have a clean furnace filter in place.
A clean filter sends a message we care about our furnace and everyone lets their guard down.
3. Be a smart cleaner.
Sellers spend a lot of time cleaning up the main living areas of the house prior to an inspection. You should spend an equal amount of time cleaning the physical furnace, top of water heater, or water stains on the utility room floor. Once an inspector sees signs of neglect they have a tendency to zero in on that area.
4. Don’t focus on cosmetic items.
A prospective buyer will obviously notice cosmetic problems like old carpets or sink stains. Instead of cleaning the kitchen sink, clean UNDER the sink. The goal of an inspection is to find health and safety repairs not obvious to the untrained eye.
5. Repair health and safety items before the inspection.
Examples include broken windows, missing or loose hand rails and leaks under sinks. If you know about it, the inspector will find it. Your Realtor can help you with a handy-man or other trades necessary to make repairs. If your Realtor cannot help you with these services, find another Realtor.
Note that interior or exterior peeling paint is considered a health and safety item because children can eat the paint chips. If an inspector finds peeling paint it will be on the inspection checklist, and may be held against you buy the buyer to reduce the price. If you know you have exterior peeling paint and plan to sell your home in the winter, you should repaint the problem area(s) in the fall. Otherwise, you may be required to repaint during the winter to pass the inspection.
6. Don’t panic.
100% of the time a Buyer will have a home inspection. Let the process happen naturally. There will be nothing wrong that cannot be repaired. A good Realtor will smooth over any bumps as a result of the inspection and keep the transaction on track. If you are overly concerned about the outcome of an inspection, get a pre-inspection. Items likely to be a problem can be brought to your attention and remedied prior to putting your house on the market.
It is very common for the buyer to use the home inspection checklist to reduce their already accepted offer. If you tackle these items before the inspection, it can save you thousands of dollars and speed up the sale. In many cases, the health and safety items will be required to be fixed by the lender’s appraiser anyway, so you might as well fix them up front.