Most buyers will want a professional home inspector, some lenders require it. At times home inspections are done even before the home goes under contract.
Although home inspections will cover multiple systems within the house, there are several specific sports that buyers worry about most. You don’t need to wait for inspection day to arrive in order to assess the condition of your home. Make necessary home repairs and avoid having small problems turn into big headaches. Those big headaches can often require a lot of money to fix and might even lower your home’s market value. Below are listed some of the most common problems, and ways to fix them:
Crawlspaces and Wet Basements
If your basement smells of mildew, it is signaling that the basement is too moist. Inspectors will closely examine walls and floors for signs of dampness and patches of mildew. Moisture can deteriorate building materials and attract insects, some an inspector might even use a meter to determine how much moisture can be found in some of these spaces. Use plastic to cover exposed earth in crawl spaces or basement; this will help keep moisture levels down. It may be fairly expensive to repair leaking walls. If this kind of problem exists but you do not want to make repairs, consider lowering the asking price of the home, with a written understanding that the price reflects this problem. You also might give buyers an allowance option to make repairs after closing is completed.
Mold or Mildew.
Mildew stains and odors make buyers nervous, even more so now that toxic black mold has become such a presence. You might never get an acceptable offer if mold or mildew are present anywhere in or outside the home. Kill the mold and mildew and fix the source of the problem. Although the mold in your home may be of the normal variety, and not the toxic stuff (called stachybotrys chartarum) it needs to be remedied immediately. Kill the mold and mildew and then find and fix the source of the problem.
Your roof will be noticed right from the start, especially by home inspectors. If the shingles are moist or rotting beneath, you can guarantee repairs will be required. If needed, climb on your roof and be sure that things are in order. Even if the shingles are merely deteriorated you might still be asked to replace them. Ensure gutters are clean and free from leaves or dirt, as well as positioning downspouts so that water runs away from the house rather than near it. Also if you have a chimney, flashing around the base should be watertight.
Plumbing needs to be fixed or clogs unclogged. Appliances like washers and dishwashers will be tested and these things become apparent during these tests. The inspector will also check your water pressure by turning on several faucets and flushing toilets at the same time. The inspector also may check the septic system. One of the ways of doing this is by flushing dye down a stool. The inspector will then wait to see if the dye surfaces on the drain field, and if so, this indicates a draining problem. You can try these things yourself to see how well your systems respond. If you notice any problems, take care of them, possibly by hiring a professional plumber, before the house is inspected.
The inspector will look for receptacles with ground fault interrupters (GFI), specifically in bathrooms and kitchens. The circuit breaker and electrical panel configuration are probably adequate for the home’s needs. A 125 amp electrical panel will work for most homes. However, be certain that individual circuits are not overloaded. Also, these GFI receptacles have little red test and reset buttons. The inspector will probably make certain that they are what they appear to be, and not just fake ones that aren’t wired to work. And lastly, grounded receptacles, those with three pronged plugs will likely be checked out also.
Heating and Cooling
Heating and cooling systems will be checked and the inspector will make comments on their efficiency. All appliances will be checked, along with smoke detectors, foundation, and other areas.
Before the Inspection
Keep in mind that home inspectors make note of everything. It is very possible that the inspection report will come back with negative statements, but don’t let this discourage you. Remember that no home is perfect, and just do everything you can to put the house in good condition before you attempt to sell it.
Remember that the home inspection report is not a wish-list for buyers. Read your contract carefully–it probably states which systems should be in good working order at closing. For instance, if the roof is older, but doesn’t leak, it is in good working order. If there’s a leak, and fixing just the leak is possible, the roof will be in good working order.
Your contract may also state that you are under no obligation to make any repairs at all–although the buyers can then likely withdraw from the contract. Don’t feel you must comply with unreasonable demands for repairs.