Getting the great offer is only the beginning. Holding onto it is another thing entirely.
In fact, it’s so difficult that the current failure rate for real estate contracts is nearly 30 percent.
Most offers are contingent on a professional home inspection that scrutinizes every system from roof to cellar. The results of inspections can be brutal and can even scuttle your transaction.
How many houses can stand up to a three-hour going over?
Yours can – not that an inspector won’t find Something to quibble at – there are no perfect houses. But if you follow the 10-tip blueprint below, you have an excellent chance of getting through it unscathed.
But first, what about a pre-inspection – hiring an inspector before you list your home?
It’s an excellent idea, especially if you plan to rectify any deficits. But if you don’t, you will have to disclose them to your future buyer. Also, while all inspectors will find obvious, major issues, there is no guarantee that your pre-inspection will find exactly the same things the buyer’s inspector does. So while pre-inspection is a good idea, it is not a guarantee that you will not be faced with a repair addendum.
For the best possible outcome of a home inspection:
1. known home repair needs
Repair the things you know are broken or not operating well. If you are handy, you can correct minor things yourself, which means you won’t need to pay as much to professional contractors later when there is a buyer in the picture.
2. check your heating and cooling systems
Heating and cooling system problems are common. Have the furnace and A/C serviced and inspected, filters changed out. Have the chimney cleaned and inspected. Make sure the electrical panel is not housing any fun DIY connections.
3. check the Water heater
Check the water heater for rust and leaks and ensure it is strapped top and bottom.
4. garage door function
Ensure your garage door opens and closes as it should and that the floor sensors are properly placed and operating.
5. problems in the crawlspace
Survey your crawlspace for cracks in the concrete perimeter (fill with epoxy sealer), puddled water, mold, mice, leaky pipes, loose electrical wiring, or holes in the foundation screens. Ensure the vapor barrier is covering the entire floor of the crawl. Tack up any insulation that has fallen down.
6. problems in the attic
Survey your attic for mold, wet sheathing, loose electrical lines or exposed junctions, exhaust ducts that have fallen away from vents.
7. electrical and plumbing issues
Ensure that your bathroom and kitchen outlets are grounded and protected by GFCIs, faucets are leak free and that any clogs or slow drains are cleared.
8. check the roof and gutters
Clean your gutters and check your roof for missing shingles or flashing. Treat any moss. If there is a lot of moss, consider hiring a moss removal company. To decide whether your roof needs more than just cleaning, check out our article: Is Your Roof Toast? for guidance.
9. check the integrity of the exterior
Make sure the home’s exterior is well-painted and caulked where needed and that weather stripping is present in doors and windows, including the garage door. If you notice that your double pane window or slider seems cloudy even after a thorough cleaning, it may be that the internal seal has failed. A pane replacement is less expensive than replacing the entire unit.
10. check the health of your siding at ground level
Check your siding at the bottom for flaking paint, recessed nails or cracking – these are signs of rot. In most cases, the affected run/portions can be replaced without disturbing the rest.
Many of the circumstances you will find are easy fixes – something a handyman can do. Others – like a roof or a drainage issue in the crawlspace – may call for more expertise.
Important: It is not required that you repair anything, but knowing the condition of your home will give you crucial leverage in negotiating with your future buyer.