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Selling a house? Consider a pre-listing home inspection.

In today's market, it may take awhile to find a qualified buyer with whom you can arrive to a "meeting of the minds." There may be issues that are discovered during the buyer's inspection that may cause them to want to renegotiate the price, or maybe walk away from your house altogether. This can be especially true if the house has been neglected, has had no improvements for many years, or you're not really a technical type and perhaps not aware of issues that may be lurking.

A pre-listing inspection can bring all of these issues to light prior to putting the house up for sale, giving you the chance to address issues before they become a speed bump to the sale. This can be very helpful if time is of the essence. We have seen houses on the market for months, only to have a hard-won buyer walk away because of too many issues. Some of the things we see that regularly give buyers pause are roofing problems, electrical deficiencies, poor quality windows, water leakage, gas leaks, asbestos, plumbing issues...and the list goes on. In a buyer's market, there is more inventory than buyers and they have their choice.

Here are some other ideas to consider when placing your house on the market. Many of these ideas are relatively simple and will help your house sell faster without costing a lot of money:

  • If you have a lot of stored goods in the house, consider moving your stuff to a storage unit, to make your house feel more roomy. People can have a hard time imagining living in a house if it is too cluttered. Less is more! Space is the place!

  • Have an interior decorator or realtor stage your house. Staging can involve some very simple ideas to subtly make your house more buyer-friendly.

  • Hire a landscaper to spruce up the grounds.

  • If you haven't painted in a long time, a good prepping and painting with neutral colors will make a huge difference by covering up cracks and old water stains and make the house seem more like it's in "move-in" condition.

  • Do minor repairs like fixing leaky faucets and squeaky doors, and replace burned-out light bulbs.

  • Clean up thoroughly. Wash windows. Make the bathrooms and kitchen sparkle. Pay special attention to the microwave, oven, and refrigerator. Dust and vacuum. Have carpets cleaned.

  • Rent a pressure washer for exterior pavement. You'll be surprised at how much crud can be removed from pavement under trees.

How to prepare for a buyer inspection

  • A good inspection will take some time. Do not expect it to be over in 45 minutes. Allow for sufficient time or arrange to have someone at your house who can host while the inspection is going on.

  • It would be helpful to fix leaks and replace bulbs so that these items don't come up as issues in the report. If there are any plumbing fixtures that cannot be operated, let the inspector know ahead of time.

  • Remove any stored items that impede access to electrical panels and utility meters as inspectors typically like to examine them closely. Most inspectors will want to be able to remove covers from electrical panels.

  • Remove any items that hinder access to attic and crawl space entry hatches.

  • Make sure that heating / cooling equipment is in working order.

  • Have documentation on hand for any work that was done and for any recently installed appliances. Any additions to the house should have final Certificates of Occupancy/Compliance from the local building department.

  • Relocate menacing dogs from the property or secure them to allow the inspector full access to all areas of the house (interior and exterior).

Are you a home owner with strange things going on in your house?

We have done consultation for home owners who do not necessarily want to sell their home, but have lingering questions that have gone unanswered. For example:

  • "My gutter guy says my roof needs to be replaced. Are they just trying to make work for themselves?"

  • "Why does water keep showing up in my basement?"

  • "When I bought my house I skipped the inspection and always wondered if there was stuff that I need to know."

  • "Why do I keep smelling gas?"

  • "Did my contractor do the right thing?"