A thorough, professional inspection before closing a real estate deal is must. There’s no avoiding it, and you, the seller, will most certainly have to fix any problems or drop your price to compensate. And sometimes, a laundry list of issues, even if minor, can turn off a buyer and sour the deal. So, why not go ahead and and pre-inspect your home and conquer the to-do list BEFORE the official inspection? Yes, smart thinking.
Many of the most common repairs are an easy fix – usually inexpensively – and can often be done in a weekend or two. They are probably things that were already on your to-do list anyway. Here’s a list of pre-inspection must-dos—some major, some minor—that will help get your home inspection-ready:
If you think you might need a new roof, you probably do—or are very close to it. “Bite the bullet and get it done,” says Tony Brown, head of handyman operations for The Wills Company, which specializes in residential remodeling, repairs and maintenance. “A home inspector will estimate its useful life remaining, and even if a new roof is not necessary today, buyers will shy away from a home with a roof that only has a couple of meaningful years left.”
Sidewalks and drives:
“Be assured an uneven walk will be considered a tripping hazard by a home inspector,” says Brown. Since you will be having more “visitors” than usual while your house is on the market, Brown suggests you fix that hazard now to avoid possible accidents – and possible litigation.
Windows and doors:
Caulk windows and doors, and be sure all the windows are intact and open properly. Buyers hate bad windows almost as much as they hate a bad roof, so if your windows have lost their seals or the casings have rotted, take the plunge and replace them now.
Check your gutters. If you see rust or the joints are pulling apart, repair or replace them. Brown says it’s very important to inspect all of your downspouts to make sure the water isn’t running back into the foundation. If you have a deck, check that you don’t have water running into your crawl space underneath. “Most potential buyers won’t look there,” says Brown, “but the inspector sure will. Buyers have a tendency to run from homes with water issues, so it’s smart to address these kind of problems before putting your house on the market.”
Everyone has lived with minor kitchen appliance problems at some point. Maybe the oven light doesn’t work or the microwave doesn’t heat properly anymore. Even small imperfections can be off-putting to buyers, and if appliance don’t work properly, they won’t pass inspection. Appliances don’t have to be new, but they must work and should look presentable. Repair your broken appliances or get new ones, especially if they are really outdated.
Leaky faucets, poor water pressure, slow drains, and loose or running toilets are all things that can be easily repaired to avoid the inspector’s wrath. This is the time to fix your trick toilet and your backwards faucet handles. You will absolutely have to fix these things anyway, so do everything you can now to pass your inspection with flying colors –– and, as Brown cautions, “so they don’t end up being another question on the mind of a buyer.”
All doors, including cabinet doors, should be in working order and must open and close completely. Replace any door knobs and locks that don’t work perfectly.
Your home does not need to be old in order to have electrical problems, and countless inspections reveal some kind of electrical issues—even if the current homeowner was unaware. You may not be able to see all electrical problems prior to an inspection, but do take care of missing or broken outlet covers, lights that don’t work, and those “mystery switches.”
If you’re thinking of selling, consider investing in a full, professional home inspection prior to putting your home on the market. “While it’s not a substitute for the buyer’s home inspection,” says Brown, “you will be able address many issues that you might not notice yourself – and it may be the difference between a sale and no sale.”
Thanks to Wills Handyman for today’s market-ready tips!