Selling Your Home

 

Inspection and Inspectors


Inspections

If you listened to your realtor, you had an inspection when you put your house on the market. You have to have another after before closing is complete, but there shouldn’t be any surprises.

Your buyer will hire an inspector to check your home for termites and other pests, for potential hazardous substances, and for proper and safe working of heating and air, water, and other systems. Structural components including foundations, walls, chimneys, patios, and decks will also be checked. Inspectors will know about local building code, and note things that are out of compliance.

As the homeowner, you will be asked to make repairs. Before final acceptance of the agreement, you can negotiate what you are willing to repair or change.

A Vital Note on Inspectors

All inspectors are not created equal. A bad or inexperienced inspector can cost you a sale.

Ask your realtor to get the name of the inspectors under consideration, and to verify membership in ASHI (the American Society of Home Inspectors) and reputation for impartiality before your home inspection takes place.  You don’t want your buyer inadvertently hiring a “deal killer.” This really does happen. And a realtor who hasn’t experienced it yet (and that may be your buyer’s agent) won’t watch out for it.

Additional Specialized Inspections

Your state may require specific elements in the general home inspection, or additional inspections. These might include

  • Termites or other pests
  • Water quality
  • Lead, asbestos, radon.

Letters from inspections become part of the documentation that you provide at closing.

Don’t Want to Make Any Repairs - Selling "As Is"

Selling a property “as is” means you aren’t going to fix things regardless of inspection results.

The assumption will be that there is more wrong than meets the eye – and worries about foundations and other structural defects will plague the potential buyer. Only the most rundown homes are sold “as is,” or abandoned houses in less desirable areas. That may appeal to those who “flip” houses or other bargain hunters, but you certainly won’t get the best price you can.

If you simply don’t want to bother or can’t afford to spend the $500 to a few thousand dollars making repairs or giving your house some facelift elements, discuss this with your realtor. If you can afford to make these repairs, focus first on anything that can be seen. Not only will buyers worry about what they see, but regardless of what they’re willing to risk, mortgage lenders may not give them the money to make the purchase if an inspection comes back showing significant defects.

And remember - that doesn’t mean you should fix what they see and then neglect on the disclosure statement any defects you are aware of. You’re asking for a boatload of legal trouble if you risk that one.

Repairs

Often you will have a list of repairs to make before closing. You have a week, or two weeks, or maybe a bit longer to get it all done. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Your realtor may have a list of people who can help make repairs if you don’t.
  • Keep the receipts and paperwork that proves you made the repairs; bring these documents to the closing.
  • Make sure it all gets done.
  • If you’re buying another home simultaneously, you have a lot going on – timing the buying activities on that house, and coordinating your upcoming move.
  • If the timing of your move into a new home doesn’t coincide with vacating this house, coordinate storage and interim housing.
  • Ask for help. Make lists. You will have a lot going on.
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