1. Think safety first
2. Make sure utilities are on
3. Clean up and move stored items
4. Simple maintenance
5. Consider fixing a few things, or get some quotes for pricing ideas.
In many cases, a home seller has worked with a realtor, and made extensive preparations before listing their home for sale. However, here are some simple tips from All The Way Home Inspections for owners preparing to sell their homes.
Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure working order and replace batteries if needed.
Replace missing outlet and light switch cover plates that may have been removed for painting.
Replace missing or broken light bulbs. Open light sockets pose a safety hazard, and fixtures without bulbs are difficult to assess as to whether they are functional or not.
Be aware of your stored items. Do you have paint, stains, or household chemicals stored improperly? Are they next to appliances with pilot lights? Often, extra paints and stains are left behind for the new home owner. However, it isn’t safe to store them in certain areas. Do yourself and the family that will move in a favor and move them to a safe location.
Lastly, if there is anything that you feel is dangerous in your home, please tell the realtor, the buyer, and the home inspector. Home inspectors encounter dangerous conditions regularly. In most cases, we can deal with the condition without incident. However, the realtor and buyer may not be as aware of such issues, so please warn the guests in your home if something is hazardous.
Gas, electricity or water may be turned off if a home has been vacant for a while. If you have an offer on the home you are selling, you should make arrangements to get these services turned back on prior to the inspection.
A home inspector will not be able to completely assess the home and its systems if the utilities are off. More than likely, this will delay the sale until the utilities are turned back on, and a thorough inspection is completed. Do yourself and the buyer a favor and get these services turned on prior to the inspection.
A clean home gives the impression that the home is well maintained. It doesn’t have to be spotless, but a little cleaning can go a long way. Sometimes, a simple cleaning helps to make sure things are in proper working order. Appliances like stoves, range hoods, vents and fans may be functional, but if they are so dirty that their performance is impaired, then the home inspector will report that cleaning is needed for proper operation. Don’t let a little dirt or grease cost you money during the negotiation process. Clean up before the inspection.
Are there stored items or moving boxes blocking certain areas of your home? If you can, try to move these before the inspection. The inspector will need access to places like the attic, crawlspace, and basement. If there are too many stored items the inspector may not move them all in order to gain access. This can delay the inspection, and ultimately your sale. The home doesn’t have to be empty, but the inspector and buyer need to be able to access every location in the home if possible.
You don’t have to be a contractor to perform some home maintenance. Depending on your level of comfort, you may be able to perform a few tasks that will help your home look its best. Changing furnace filters, tightening door knobs/cabinet pulls, and reinstalling downspout extensions are a few easy home maintenance issues that most people can tackle on their own. Don’t feel like you have to do everything, and if you are not confident in your skills, be sure to consult a few manuals or leave it to a professional. When in doubt refer to Step 1-Think safety first.
We understand that you may not want to invest a lot of money fixing every issue with your house before you sell it. However, don’t be caught off guard if a prospective buyer asks for you to fix a major issue or asks for a large amount of money as a credit after the inspection. Do you know that your roof is worn out? Are you aware of the leaky pipe that drips water in the basement? You may want to consider repairing a few issues prior to selling the home. If not, we recommend that you get a few quotes to verify what the current market price of repairs will cost. Don’t know a local contractor? No problem. Websites like Thumbtack or Home Advisor can help you get multiple quotes on home repairs in minimal time. Once you get a few quotes, you may decide to fix a few things prior to the inspection. At the very least, you will educate yourself as to what some home repairs might cost, and will be prepared for effective negotiations.
To recap, there are certainly some easy steps every home seller can take to prepare their home for an inspection. Ultimately, these tips are simply that…tips, and the opinion of the author. We recommend that you talk about these tips and others with your realtor when you list your home for sale. Thanks for reading and best of luck!