Real estate is an appreciating asset. Over time, the property's physical structure naturally deteriorates requiring significant upkeep. Some issues may be blatantly apparent. Water flowing through your home because of a burst pipe is just one example. But, not all wear and tear is visible to the naked eye
That's often why, after years of keeping up on routine maintenance on your home, you may be surprised when an inspection report comes back with a major concern. What a headache, huh?! How could you have avoided such a dilemma?
The first thing you should do is trust your real estate agent. They likely have been through this step of the selling process a time or two. Your real estate agent should help you understand any maintenance issues that are common in your area as well as help you determine if you have enough time, and money, to hire a contractor or if you want to offer repair credits to potential buyers. A good real estate agent should have a wealth of information to help guide you through listing your home.
To prepare yourself for the big day (inspection day, that is), there are a few things you can do to make the inspection run smoothly. First and foremost, please, please, please, do not leave Fido out to play. He may be the sweetest pup in the world and the inspector may want to cuddle the fluffer doodle, but they really do not need any help from your fur baby. This goes for the elusive kitties as well. Plus, it's never a good thing if the pet sneaks past someone coming through the front door to go on a walk-about in the neighborhood.
Make note that inspections typically take 2-4 hours. It works out to approximately 1 hour per 1,000 sq feet. Inspectors will inspect upwards of 150 items in your house. That's a lot of investigating! Take this time to grab a coffee with friends (socially distant, of course), run errands, read a good book, play with your kids in the park if the weather cooperates, or indulge in a massage. In other words, leave the house if possible. This is your home; many wonderful memories have been created here. Watching someone come in and test every appliance and check every nook and cranny can be nerve-wracking and may hit a little too close to the heart.
One of the biggest hurdles for inspectors can be clutter. Boxes piled in front of crawl space access doors. Storage cabinets in front of the electrical panel. If the inspector can't find it, they can't inspect it. This could be incredibly detrimental to the inspection report results. So, pitch those old doors you kept from the remodel, and clear out that closet full of Christmas decor so the inspector can easily access any panels or hatches to the attic/crawlspace.
Learn what inspections could reveal and correct those items if you see them in your home. Don't worry, they are not looking for how well you dusted the tchotchkes. What they will be looking for are issues such as water damage, the structural integrity of the home, roof damage, faulty wiring, plumbing issues such as slow drains or leaking pipes, and if the HVAC is properly cooling and heating. Always make sure you have the correct tools for any repair job!
If you are not sure just what to look for, consider having a 5-point pre-listing inspection done. It's not a full home inspection but will give you peace of mind that your house is in tip-top shape or give you a list of items to fix before listing.
Probably most importantly, do not try to conceal any issues. This will most definitely come back to bite you. If something comes up in the inspection that was not disclosed to the buyers, the buyers can and will back out and take their earnest money with them. Keep your home well maintained and know that houses age no matter how well you maintain them.
Now, go get your home ready for the Spring Splurge! It's a great time to sell your home!