Congratulations, you have an accepted offer and now the fun really begins– possibly finding a new home, scheduling movers, choosing colors, etc. But before any of those activities can happen we need to clear possibly the largest hurdle in the transaction: the inspection. As a veteran to the home-buying process I don’t need to explain to you why inspections are important. However, if this is your first time selling, there are some important steps to take prior to having the inspector walk through your home. That is why I’ve assembled my top 3 things every seller should know about home inspections, to help my listing clients cruise through the inspection with ease.

I’ll take a second to caution you that every inspection is different, and while these steps could help reduce the overall impression for the inspector, the amount of issues found during the inspection are determined by the overall condition of the home. That said, by completing these pre-inspection items, the inspector will be grateful that you took the time to properly prepare the home for the inspection, and can use different language when explaining the defects as well as describing the home to the new owners.

Make Room

Be prepared to have every corner of the home searched, probed, and prodded. Both a huge time saver and stress reducer is to clear the clutter for the inspector. Not having full access to the home, forces the inspector to have a default mindset that something is wrong, instead of being able to prove to the buyer that the home is in good working order. The most important area for the home inspector to access are the mechanical areas — the water heater, furnace, A/C, water treatment equipment, etc. By allowing the inspector to guarantee the condition of the mechanicals, you calm the nerves of the new buyer and show that you aren’t trying to hide any potential issues.

Make Time

If it’s been a few years since your home inspection, know that technology has made the process a completely different inspection than what you experienced. Reports are instantly compiled using special software. State of the art cameras are used to “look” through walls to find potential issues invisible to the naked eye. While technology has made the inspection more thorough, it has also added time to complete it; inspections are now expected to take up to three hours to complete. Once the inspection has been scheduled, plan to vacate the home for 3-4 hours. Additionally, make sure to take the dog with you. The goal is to reduce the buyer’s’ stress level, and a barking dog will not help achieve that goal.

Do your homework

By homework, I mean get those pesky to-do lists done. All those little things that for years have been pushed to the wayside, it’s now time to get them done; get the electrical plates on the outlets, finish installing the trim in the closets, etc. The fewer smaller items found, the more likely the buyer is to feel good about the purchase. Trust me when I tell you that the inspection is often the first time that the buyer is looking at your home with the express reason to find things that are incomplete, wrong, and/or broken. By ensuring that your home is “complete”, it conveys to the buyer that their post-move in checklist will be minimal, and they’ll be able just to move in and enjoy the home. Here is a great checklist to utilize.

While these pre-inspection items aren’t monumental, they’re guaranteed to pay huge dividends in the post-inspection phase of the transaction; the buyer will be calmed by the overall condition of the home, lack of post-closing issues they’ll have to deal with, and the inspector will describe the home in glowing terms– which is what the buyers really want to hear.

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