Tuesday, March 06, 2007

What to Expect from a Home Inspection

Agents frequently discuss home inspections with home buyers, since inspections are a valuable tool for them to use in deciding if they can afford a prospective home in its current condition. But inspections are also valuable tools for sellers, who can use pre-listing inspections to develop a check list of repairs to make before the home goes on the market – and while there are no time constraints relating to a pending transaction. Even sellers who don’t have time for repairs can benefit from a pre-listing inspection, because they’ll be able to anticipate what the buyer’s inspection will uncover and can use that knowledge with their Realtor® to set the best price possible.

Sellers frequently ask their agents how they can prepare their home for a buyer’s inspection. Aside from holding a pre-listing inspection, remind sellers that they can take the following steps to ace a buyer’s inspection:

Outside impressions: Advise the seller to clean the home’s exterior, and remove soil or mulch from contact with exterior siding. They’ll want to clean roofs or gutters, and double-check how water flows from downspouts and other pipes. Sellers should trim trees and bushes and remove roots that are near the home’s exterior or foundation. They may also wish to paint or repair weathered siding, bricks, and trims around doors and windows. All external wall penetrations should be caulked.

Interior efforts: Tell sellers to clean and replace heating and cooling filters or, at the very least, clean them. They’ll need to test smoke detectors and replace burned-out light bulbs. They should clean the chimney, fireplace, or wood stove, and have furnaces and air conditioners serviced. Moving furniture or storage belongings may be necessary so that an inspector can easily access attics, crawl spaces, the garage, and areas of the basement that contain major home systems. Sellers should keep utilities running if the home is vacant, and make sure windows will open and shut properly. Sellers may want to add insulation and ventilation to attics and make sure crawl spaces are dry.

Bathroom and kitchen work: Sellers will want to make sure plumbing works without leaking or perpetually dripping. They may also need to caulk around tubs or other fixtures. They should check that ventilation systems (range hood, bathroom fans or ventilation systems) work, and clear under-sink areas so an inspector can access pipes.

Gather documents: Before listing the home, sellers may want to organize service records and warranties for appliances in one place. This can help an inspector or buyer see what repairs were made to various home systems and how often or well various home systems and appliances were maintained. Sellers may wish to make a note of any warranties that are transferable to a new owner.

© 2005-2007 WIN Home Inspection. WIN Home Inspection is a registered trademark of World Inspection Network International, Inc., a franchisor of home inspection services.

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