Buyers today will typically have the home they purchase inspected by a licensed home inspector. Acting as buyer agents we always will insist they do as they are buying a ‘used’ home and not everyone takes care of their home the same. And even a well-maintained home may have defects that the seller was not aware of.
As the seller, you should expect this as part of the sales process. Even if you are selling ‘as-is’ a buyer will most likely do an inspection just to make sure they don’t get any surprises. They buyer hires and pays for this inspection so the inspector will be working for the buyer. With that in mind they will almost always find something wrong. The buyer will then present you with a Buyers Inspection Response that lists items they want repaired before they will close on the sale.
First, here are things expected of the seller for the inspection, which can take anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours.
- As a common courtesy, the seller should vacate the home during the inspection. Pets should be removed or crated during this time. If you cannot leave for some reason at least leave the inspector and buyers alone so they have some privacy. The inspector needs to be able to discuss items freely with the buyer.
- Access to the mechanicals, such as the furnace / AC, water heater, etc. is necessary for the inspector to check them out. Move boxes, items, etc away so they can remove the panel on the air handler unit.
- Any access to the attic areas or crawl spaces must be clear of all items. Cars parked in a garage can keep them from attic entry if that’s where the opening is. Locks on crawl space entry must be removed or a key left behind.
- Any electrical panel should not be blocked or hidden. If there is a picture hanging over it remove it. The inspector will need to pull the cover off to check the wiring.
- Any outbuilding, detached garage, etc should be unlocked or key left in home so inspector can enter.
Second, here are some things the seller can do to help prepare for an inspection.
- We usually suggest or sellers have the furnace / AC serviced when they list their home unless they’ve already done so recently. That way there are no surprises and inspectors will always point out serviced systems.
- If the home has a crawl space peek in there or hire someone to check it out before listing. This is where some of the most expensive repairs come from. Often from a non-working sump pump that leads to water damage and mold.
- If the roof is more than 10 years old or age is unknown, have a roofing contractor inspect the roof for damage before listing your home. This gives you time to get quotes and check for insurance coverage way before the inspector finds and reports the issue. This also is often an issue with appraisers and having the roof replaced can be a condition on the sale of the home.
- If you or a ‘buddy’ have done electrical work or you are aware of some electrical items that just don’t work correctly, it would be a good idea to have an electrician come inspect and repair any of these items. These often show up in inspection reports.
- Leaking pipes, call a plumber. It’s often not just repairing the pipes but repairing water damage that can run up the costs on inspection repairs.
- If you have a wood burning fireplace, it’s best to have it inspected and cleaned by a chimney sweep.
- If there are any major items you are aware of but don’t want to fix, get quotes beforehand. It helps with negotiations when you have a quote on the repair costs ahead of time.
Keep in mind the Buyer’s Inspection Response is a negotiation and not necessarily a demand. But the items listed above are generally items that should be addressed, as nobody wants a leaky roof, electrical or plumbing issue, water or mold issue, or a furnace that breaks down the first time it gets cold. We generally say look at the items you would want fixed if you continued to live in the home and work from there. In some cases it can be negotiated as rather than making repairs the seller adjusts the selling price in compensation to the buyer.
As both buyer and listing agents we’ve see it all. For question on home inspections, selling, or buying a home feel free to call or text The Derrick Team at 317-563-1110. We work 7 days a week including weekends and evenings.