Congratulations, you just accepted a buyer’s offer to purchase your home. But you can’t breathe easy just yet, since it’s almost a certainty that the buyer will have a professional home inspector complete a thorough inspection of the home. Many a deal has died at the hands of the dreaded 20 page inspection report. This report could make your house appear as though it’s about to fall over and scare the buyer into asking for an egregious amount of repairs.
There are some things that you can do to help get a passing grade and ease a buyer’s mind. Taking the actions below will help the buyer feel like they are buying a home that has been well taken care of and will increase your chances of cutting down on repair requests that may seem overly nitpicky.
1. Get your HVAC serviced and make minor updates.
It is very common to have an inspector site issues with your A/C or furnace and recommend having a licensed technician come out to look at it. This will very often turn into a request for you to have your system serviced. The solution is to beat them to the punch. Have an HVAC tech come out and service your system and make any small updates that may be code issues. Then provide the paperwork to the buyer before they even get it inspected.
2. Caulk around siding and windows.
A relatively easy job as a DIY project or inexpensive job for a handyman that makes you look like a savvy and meticulous home owner. It also helps to avoid language in an inspection like “conducive conditions for potential water penetration”
3. Trim your trees and hedges.
If tree limbs are hanging over your house and touching your roof, the inspector is likely to recommend getting a roofer out to make sure there is no scraping damage to the shingles. This means you are stuck with one more set of eyes picking apart your house to find problems. It is also very common to see a note that overgrown shrubs create “conducive conditions for wood destroying insects”. That is layman’s terms for, greenery growing all over the house is a risk for termites or carpenter ants to crawl into the house. This will lead to a request for you to a hire pest control company to come treat the house for insects that may not even be there. Trim it up before they get a chance to complain.
4. Have an electrician take care of any minor code items that could pop up.
Electrical codes can change on a yearly basis so it’s almost a guarantee that your home will be “out of code”. Regardless, you can still make small upgrades to your electrical system to avoid items showing up on the report. Adding GFCI outlets (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) to wet areas like kitchens, bathrooms, garages and exterior outlets is relatively inexpensive and shows you are committed to keeping your home safe.
5. Check out your vents, ducts and insulation.
The inspector will be testing the A/C and temperature differential in the house. Often times leaks in the duct work will cause the A/C to fail to cool properly. This can be misdiagnosed as issues within the unit rather than the actual relatively minor issue in the ductwork. Patch any leaks with the proper duct tape and clean out the vents to make sure the house is cooling and hold temperature properly. It is also common for the inspector to cite a lack of insulation in the attic which can sound like an expensive problem. The reality is that insulation is relatively cheap, and if you buy it from Home Depot, they have machines you can rent to blow it into the attic. In a matter of a few hours, you have a more energy efficient home that will pass an inspection.
In the end, it will be very difficult to eliminate everything that could show up on the report. But doing these few things will help prove to the inspector that the home has been well taken care of, which will be noted in the report and conveyed to the buyer.
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