Among the number of truly life-changing events people go through, moving often produces anxiety few other experiences can inspire. In most cases, you’re packing up all of your belongings and leaving a place that’s familiar. At the same time, it’s a major financial commitment.
A home inspection is one step in the overall home-selling process that can put home sellers at ease. According to the National Association of Realtors and the American Society of Home Inspectors, four out of five homes go through an inspection before they’re even sold.
A qualified home inspector’s role is to hold a mirror up to your home to help home sellers clearly understand the “health” of their home in an open and honest way. That’s why it’s so important to give home inspectors (and the inspection) its due consideration and be well-prepared for the occasion. There are a number of ways you can facilitate a smooth home inspection with just a little bit of planning. Here are four simple steps to make that happen:
- Do Your Research
In many cases, a home seller will defer to the realtor on which inspector to hire. However, sellers and buyers should perform their own due diligence to ensure they’re working with a qualified inspector. Ask:
- What’s your professional background besides home inspection?
- How long have you been an inspector?
- How many inspections have you performed?
- What certifications do you have?
In essence, it is certainly OK to validate your realtor’s recommendation or ensure you’ve made an educated decision on who you choose.
- Plan Ahead
Preparing your home for the inspection is not only a courtesy to the inspector — it helps ensure the process runs smoothly and you get an accurate report.
- Home exterior – It’s in your best interest to give the inspector the opportunity to see all features clearly. So, trim back any foliage away from the house to provide an uninhibited view of the roof, siding and foundation. Meanwhile, clean out the gutters and divert your downspouts away from your home.
- Home interior – Keep your utilities turned on to ensure the home inspector can readily test them and replace any burnt out bulbs or worn out batteries. For both crawl spaces and attics, remove any obstructions that would make it difficult to access the area.
Be prepared for the inspection to take between two and three hours so clear your morning or afternoon for the process.
- Be On the Premises
In most cases, it’s not mandatory for the home seller to be present for the inspection. However, the inspection will influence the home sale and your ability to negotiate with the buyer. More the point, ignorance is far from bliss in understanding your home’s status when you’re selling it.
Remember, the inspection is as important to you as it is for the home buyer. There needs to be an environment where everyone can have an open and honest discussion about the property. . At the same time, you also want to have the opportunity to inquire about any specific concerns. Being there will help put the issues raised in the final report into context and make you a more informed homeowner.
- Prioritize Fixes
If you’ve chosen to have a pre-listing home inspection, you’re at an advantage by the time a buyer brings in their own inspector. One of the biggest benefits is being able to identify any issues and reduce the likelihood the buyer’s home inspection will discover any unforeseen issues.
At the same time, you’ll have your own home inspection report to hold up as a comparison to the buyer’s report. Your report will give you the chance to be very judicious about which fixes you want to make before you enter negotiations with a buyer. Be sure to prioritize the repairs that can be easily addressed – especially those that can be fixed ahead of your own home inspection.
Home inspectors are process-oriented professionals who want to ensure you’re well-informed about the existing state of your home — whether you’re trying to accurately price your home for sale on the market or preparing to negotiate with the buyer about repairs.