Top 10 Repairs to Make Before a Home Inspection
When you are selling a pre-owned home, keep in mind two facts of the market:
1) You are most probably competing against new construction homes. So buyers will compare the condition of your home with a perfect, newly built home.
2) Most buyers will include an inspection contingency in their offer and request items to be fixed, or a price adjustment to compensate for the issues that need to be fixed.
New Construction homes can be difficult to compete against. With picture perfect model homes as the competition, it is important to tackle maintenance issues, small or large, as buyers will be comparing it against new homes. When buyers are walking through your home, they will begin to add up all visible repairs so it is important to take care of those before listing your home.
An inspection (or Due Diligence) contingency allows buyers to hire any number of experts (including a home inspector, a termite inspector and a structural engineer) to make sure that the house is safe, structurally sound and all the systems are working properly (i.e. that they are not buying a "lemon").
Many buyers may be frightened by an inspection report that contains a long list of issues and/or defects. Even if you are selling your home "as-is" (which means you are not willing to pay for any necessary repairs, so you will need to adjust the list price accordingly), an inspection contingency clause could be included in a buyer's offer, and it could be a key report for making or breaking the deal.
The inspection contingency allows the buyers to walk away from the transaction without losing their earnest money if they are not satisfied with the condition of the property, or if both parties cannot agree as to which repairs the seller must do before the closing.
Most contracts require the seller needs to convey a structurally sound, safehome which is free of leaks, with all systems (HVAC, plumbing, electrical) in working order. Issues such as plumbing, electrical problems, roof/skylight/window/faucet leaks, electrical outlets that don't work or noticeable wood rot are going to show up in any inspection report and you will need to fix them anyway before closing - so you won't save any money by delaying these repairs (on the contrary, you may be under pressure and may have to hire a more expensive contractor because of availability).
You will also need to go beyond these minimum requirements and fix any cosmetic or deferred maintenance issues, to make your home appear competitive against new homes and be able to get top market price.
You, like most owners, will probably know most of the issues that need attention around your house. Don't wait for the buyers' inspection to deal with known defects or deferred maintenance issues - the time to get ready for the home inspection is before you put it on the market!
By being proactive you may sell quicker, get a higher price, and ensure a smoother contract-to-closing transaction.
Here Are The Top 10 Repairs to Make Before a Home Inspection
- Prune overgrown vegetation
- Clean the gutters
- Service your HVAC & replace dirty furnace filters
- Install missing covers of electrical outlets and switch junction boxes
- Replace/check smoke alarms
- Replace burned out light bulbs
- Replace wax seals under leaky toilets & secure loose toilets to the ground
- Replace loose of missing insulation in the crawl space and/or attic
- Properly terminate all electrical splices in covered junction boxes (no "double tapping")
- Make sure your water heater has an expansion tank and earthquake strapping