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From Pre-Inspection To The Market - Prepping Your Home

March 19th, 2019 9:45 AM by Mojgan Jordan

First things first,

In pretty much every circumstance, smart homebuyers will always have a property professionally inspected before purchasing... EVEN in a seller’s market. 

Buyers nowadays are really quite savvy, according to Robin Kencel, associate broker with the Robin Kencel Group of Compass Real Estate in Connecticut. This is why it’s critical for sellers to get their own home inspection before putting their house on the market – so they know where it may fall short of buyer’s expectations. “The more we can head off anything that can be a negotiation point, the better”, claims Kencel. 

When sellers have their own inspections to prepare, this gives them the forefront of any house problems that would be an issue in the future sale.
It also gives an opportunity to make any inexpensive repairs to avoid unpleasant surprises during buyers inspections. I can be the first to tell you that when you own a home, you soon become blind by small insignificant issues that guests would notice right when they come in. Like small cracks in the caulking on walls or gradual stains that have popped up on the wood panels of your home.

For first-time homebuyers, inspections can be life-savers. As a crucial part of the buying process, it allows people to see flaws and potentially back out of a sale if needed. Your real estate broker is most likely able to make recommendations for trusted home inspectors, but if not, look for an experienced professional that has a good score with Better Business Bureau, has great reviews & positive references. Also, make sure to ask for a copy of their inspection form to see what items are covered in their inspection. 

Inspectors do provide extraordinary service that is very important, however, they do not have the ability to upgrade a house. They just make sure everything in the house is working properly. 

With that in mind – here is a preparation checklist to do before an inspection that will ultimately help you get your home ready to put on the market...

Make sure switches are covered and lights are working –

In a typical home inspection, it includes a visual review of the electrical system. Apparently it is a pretty common problem to have non-working lights during a home inspection. The inspector will make sure all the wiring underneath the covers meets industry & state standards and will ultimately decide if you need a licensed electrician to come for further review. Another small but important thing – if you have any cracked or missing covers for your electrical outlets, it only cost 49 cents to buy a new one at the hardware store and takes less than 3 minutes to replace. This will save you from another mark on the inspection report!

Routine maintenance tasks are YOURS –

It’s the simple things you need to focus on first. Make sure carbon monoxide detectors are in working order with fresh batteries (along with smoke alarms). Also, replace filters on furnaces & air conditioning units.  

When buyers come to look at the home, if they see these ‘small’ maintenance tasks ignored, they will only be brought to the assumption or question of what else has been ignored in keeping up the house. Also keep in mind that inspectors will be checking built-in appliances to make sure they are in working order and take note of any obvious maintenance defects in their report.


Clean out the mechanical room – 

According to J.B. Sassano, president of home improvement firm Mr. Handyman, a Neighborly Company, it’s important to clean out your mechanical room as well as check for any problems or leaks with your HVAC system. “Inspectors are going to look for the big-dollar items”, Sassano says. It’s easier for inspectors to get a clear look at the system if you keep up with it and keep it clean. 


Make sure fireplaces & appliances can be tested - 

Like I said before, it’s the little things. The inspector won’t be able to test your washer and dryer if there are clothes all over the place. They will also want to see if a gas fireplace is in working order alright so in that case make sure the pilot is lit. Inspectors will not go and light a pilot.

If for some reason, an inspector isn’t able to test an appliance or fireplace, it is a possibility they may note for the seller to demonstrate it to the buyers. AKA one more thing on your to-do list before closing, so its best to make sure and get it prepared so you don’t have to worry about ‘working order’ when there is a possible buyer in the home. 


Walk around the exterior - 

Important things to look out for on exteriors are peeling paint, hanging gutters or even loose siding. According to Deborah Savoie, a realtor with Long and Foster Real Estate, Inc. in Maryland, buyers “need to look at their house like they are going to buy it again.” Which is soo true. THEN, correct the problems before they become that potential problem for the actual buyer! Inspectors and buyers will both be wary of crumbling foundation or standing pools of water… wouldn’t you?


Check windows and doors –

This can be a sticky topic for homes older than 30 or 40 years old… literally and metaphorically. The vinyl windows can actually become sticky and difficult to open, especially if they haven’t been opened in quite some time. An easy fix for that is simply getting some inexpensive silicone spray from a home improvement store to help all windows be able to open and close. 

It is also recommended to check all interior and exterior doors in that they open and close easily too. Lubricate if needed, and clear out tracks of sliding doors. If by some chance you have wood-framed windows, make sure they don’t have any rotten or soft spots. Inspectors will also be keeping an eye out for gaps in the window framing – to fix this you should be able to just caulk it up to close the gaps. 


Old water stains need to go –

A stain in your home, no matter on a wall, ceiling or floor, leads to questions and uncertainty. With any stain, an inspector will use a moisture meter to determine if it is recent. Depending on the outcome, he or she will then make note and recommend a professional to handle the cause of the stain. If it is simply just an old stain, it is still crucial to cover it up with paint because who wants a leery stain hindering the sale of their home?


Look for mold! –

Mold has become very scary and will certainly ward off potential buyers. Fortunately, most mold can be killed off with a fungicide found at home improvement stores. Also try adding a dehumidifier to a room to dry it out and take moisture out of the air. This will also help prevent future mold from growing. (Make sure to check attics, basements, garages & bathrooms).


Declutter, declutter, declutter! –

Okay, an inspector doesn’t keep note on how your home is staged, but keeping it clean really helps the process. Even if you are nervous that cleaning and decluttering will uncover undesireable elements, Savoie claims there are often simple and inexpensive ways to address the questionable area. For example, she says “you don’t have to re-stain your floor. You just have to clean it (with the cleaning product) Old English.” Use your connections with your real estate agent (AKA Palmetto Equity Group) to determine the best ways to not break the bank & address unsightly features.


If your home has issues.. be upfront - 

If by some chance, you have a difficult review to deal with and can’t easily be fixed, go ahead and notify a prospective buyer. The last thing you want is for the buyer to be suspicious of you hiding flaws or being dishonest about the quality of your home. It’s not always possible to fix all problems before an inspection or even after, so it definitely is always an option to offer a credit at closing so the buyers can make whatever updates they need themselves.   

When buyers receive the inspection report, they most likely will connect with their broker. Ultimately, they will decide on overlooking certain defects (if there are any), and going ahead with the purchase, OR taking a step back to the negotiating table because they weren’t impressed. 

So, impress them!


Posted in:General
Posted by Mojgan Jordan on March 19th, 2019 9:45 AM