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Warm weather, balmy breezes and blooming trees and flowers are welcome signs that spring is here and summer is on the way. It also means we’re in prime home buying season, and in fact, industry experts estimate that 40% of homes are sold from April through July. So if your house is currently on the market, you’ll likely see more potential buyers – but also more competition from other sellers.
Selling a home in a competitive market can be challenging, so if you have an interested buyer, congratulations! But don’t pop the champagne cork quite yet. Your home still must pass inspection – a critical step to help prospective buyers make an informed decision about your home’s current condition, as well as any repairs and maintenance it may need.
What is a home inspection? Basically, it’s a visual examination of your home’s structure and components by a trained home inspector who will make sure everything is sound and functional, and then clearly and objectively summarize the findings in an official report.
A home inspection can make or break your home sale, so how can you prepare? To find out, we asked Alice Soon from leading home inspection company Pillar To Post. Here, she offers eight suggestions to help your home pass inspection like a champ!
1. Allow enough time.
Be prepared to give your home inspector enough time to complete a thorough inspection. According to Soon, her company’s average inspection takes between 2½ and 3 hours – and if you have a very old home with a basement, it will take your inspector about a half hour extra to check it for dry rot.
2. Safety first.
If your home is on the market, you’ve probably taken care of all major safety hazards, but before the inspector arrives, do a quick run-through to make sure there are no minor issues, like burned-out lightbulbs, loose hand railings or malfunctioning smoke alarms. If anything is amiss, take care of it immediately.
3. Provide access.
Remove any obstacles or blockages to ensure your home inspector can freely access all of your home’s interior and exterior areas and components – and don’t forget about the yard, garage and sheds. Also, he or she will need to be able to view out-of-the-way systems and equipment like the electrical panel, furnace and water main.
4. Protect your pets.
Make sure your pets are securely crated or temporarily board them away from home for the duration of the inspection to protect the safety of both pets and people and enable the inspector to poke around all necessary areas.
5. Stash your valuables.
As a precaution, make sure all of your jewelry, medications, documents and other valuables are stashed safely out of sight – a good rule to follow always.
6. Tell it like it is.
A good property inspector will uncover issues or defects in your home’s structure, equipment and systems, so be upfront about anything that isn’t working or up to par. And if your home has ever experienced a catastrophic event, like a fire or flood, it’s important to ‘fess up as well. Remember, buyers can become suspicious and distrustful of sellers who attempt to conceal key information that could alter their decision, so it’s better to admit your home’s defects and be prepared to correct them.
7. Provide permits.
If your home has undergone major renovations, you must provide your home inspector with all relevant building permits and plans. And if you happened to skip that step and had work completed without the proper permits, be sure to disclose that information as well. Also provide well and septic permits and maintenance repair work documents, if applicable, as well as any other pertinent paperwork.
8. Include Invoices.
If you’ve made any major purchases or improvements, like buying or servicing a furnace or upgrading your roof, be prepared to provide copies of invoices and warranties. Similarly, if you haven’t serviced your furnace or AC in the past 12 months, have it done prior to inspection and provide the invoice. And if you have any wood burning appliances, like a fireplace or stove, provide a letter of conformity from a WETT certified technician.
For buyers, choosing a home is a significant decision and a big step – and the results can hinge on the results of the home inspection. But if you do your homework to prepare your home and facilitate the inspection process, you’ll help make your buyer feel confident that your home is the right choice to meet their needs. For more information about home inspections, contact FirstService Residential