Imagine you’ve been busy preparing your house to sell for weeks. You’ve been working tirelessly with your REALTOR®, mortgage Broker, and contractor to get everything perfect so that you can sell your house for the top dollar and move on to your next home. With eager anticipation, you wait for a good offer while your home is on the market and then, you get a great offer!
The thrill is exciting. You start to ponder about the money you will make off of your house sale and begin online shopping for your next home. Then, your REALTOR contacts you showing you 8 major items that the home inspector found while inspecting your property. Your buyers want all these items fixed before they will buy your home, or the deal is dead. This scenario happens all too often in real estate.
This is an easy problem to avoid though. You need to personally do a full home inspection yourself to make sure that you are aware of the potential issues that will come up on an inspection report when selling your home. This will keep you from the ultimate shock of your buyer’s repair requests. You can also hire a home inspector perform a pre-inspection for you.
Here’s a list of items to check for before your home inspection
Windows- Check for cracked or broken windows. Inspect to see if they are also fogged up. This is indicative of seal leak and the window would need to be replaced.
Cracked or peeling paint- Paint doesn’t last forever so be sure to check for this especially around windows. Cracked or peeling paint will lead to water damage.
Siding and trim- Check for damage or any loose boards. Your siding color may be discontinued or hard to find so be sure to research this ahead of time.
Cracked caulking- Cracked caulking will lead to water intrusion so be sure to repair. This is a easy and cheap fix which will prevent major issues.
Check lot grading- you want to make sure water flows away from the foundation. Unlevel grading will lead to basement leakage and damage.
Decks and fences. Check the condition of the boards. Push on the posts and make sure they are good and secure. Repair any damage.
Gutters- Check and clean any gutters.
Roof- Probably the most important exterior to check. If the shingles are old and damage they will need to be replaced. Feel around the roof for any spongy areas. This is a sign of water damaged plywood.
Garage door- Pretty simple test. If automatic check that it open and closes properly. Listen for any squeaking noises this could be a sign of undue stress and it may need oiled.
Heating/Cooling/ Water Heater- If in the Winter check to make sure the air conditioner is working and conversely check the Furnace in the Summer because the home inspector is sure to do so. Check owners manual to see how often servicing is needed. Make sure the furnace ha been recently replaced.
Showers/Tub Surrounds- Check for cracks in the grout, or caulked joints. This can easily be fixed ahead of time if you are handy. Just match the grout color and texture and re-grout the damaged areas to make the tile look new again.
Light Bulbs- This is often overlooked but home inspectors will check. Replace any burnt out bulbs.
Electrical- Purchase an outlet tester at your local hardware store. They are inexpensive and a great investment. Check all the outlets to be sure they are in working order. If you find a faulty outlet hire a licensed electrician to replace or repair.
Plumbing- Fill all sinks halfway, then pull the plug to see if they drain normally. If slow, it might just need the P-Trap to be cleaned. Check in cabinets, under all sinks for any moisture on the bottom, supply lines or valves (use a dry paper towel and check by wiping). Toilets: All toilets will be flushed and noted. If there is a leaking sound before flushing, it’s probably the flapper valve. These cost $5-12 and need no tools to install. Toilets will also be checked for secure mounting (they shouldn’t move).
Safety Detectors- There are 2 types – A Carbon Monoxide detector is required within 15’ of any bedroom, and at least one per level of the house. The Smoke detector is required inside each bedroom, in the hallway of bedrooms, and at least one on every level. It’s a good idea to replace batteries andsh the test button (earplugs anyone?).
Stairs:-The balustrade (entire baluster system) will be checked for sturdiness. If any of it is loose, you might want to have that repaired before inspection.
Kitchen Appliances-The inspector will run the dishwasher through its cycles, turn on all range/cooktop burners, oven, vent fan & light and if included in the sale, check all functions of the refrigerator. Repair or replace any appliances as needed. For more information on kitchens check out top-6 features home buyers look kitchen.
The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This certainly holds true with respect to the home inspection. Discovering and repairing any issue before the actual home inspection will save you time and potentially thousands of dollars.