Preparing For a Home Inspection: Tips for Sellers & Buyers

There are two sides to any transaction involving the ownership of a home - the seller and buyer. [...]

There are two sides to any transaction involving the ownership of a home – the seller and buyer. Each party has a set of personal goals they are attempting to achieve within the dealings related to the house at hand. Both parties are looking for the best respective deal with as little hassle as possible. However, transferring the deed of a home between two parties is much easier said than done. There are numerous hoops to jump through from start to finish. The home inspection is a prime example of one of the larger necessities. Here, a discovery about the physical status of a home could make or break a deal. Seeing as both parties are interested in completing the deal as evidenced by their drive to have the home inspected, neither of them want this pivotal moment to go south. Home inspector Thomas Byrne spoke to the importance of being diligent with home inspections, “Like doctors with specialties, professional appraisers and home inspectors can see things that their customer typically cannot. It’s vital that both professionals be involved in the process.”

How do both buyers and sellers prepare for a home inspection? We connected with a few people with experience to understand their perspective on the matter. 

Buyers: Make it official

Alex Czarnecki is the founder and CEO of Cottage, a brand offering custom built accessory dwelling units. He suggests covering all bases by having the inspection as part of the official purchase contract. 

“Anyone who has thought about or investigated buying their own home is familiar with the idea of a home inspection. But did you know that if it’s not part of the legal agreement between all involved people, it really holds no weight on the deal? What I’m saying here is that you need to ensure that your realtor dedicates a clause in your agreement to the possibilities if issues are discovered during the home inspection. You don’t want to be stuck with a home that has overwhelming issues just because you didn’t do your diligence.”

Buyers: Don’t be afraid to say no

Home shopping can cause unnatural reactions due to the stress that goes into it. LifeGoal Investments is a business providing investment options for everyone. Their founder, Brett Sohns, advises others to be aware of the agency they have in the home buying process.

“It’s easy to feel like you have to sign the paperwork and buy the home once you’ve invested a fair amount of time into it and gone to the lengths of having it inspected. But, that inspection takes place before the final signature for some very good reasons. If an unpleasant surprise appears during the inspection, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to be afraid to say no to a house. It’s your money and when you sign your name, those problems become your problems. There’s more than one house out there so walking away from problems is wise.”

Buyers: Choose the right inspector

Embroker specializes in business insurance. Their founder and CEO, Matt Miller, considers it critical to identify a high-qualified inspector.

“Like with accountants or salesmen, there are inspectors out there who are simply better than others. Whether they’re more detailed, personable, honest, or careful, there are a number of qualities that will make your home inspection process far more transparent. You can easily find reviews of home inspectors as well as review their previous work to get an understanding of what you’ll be receiving once they’ve inspected your prospective home. You definitely want to investigate to see if an inspector has missed something in the past. Just like with those accountants or salesmen, the best inspector can make a world of difference.”

Buyers: Meet the neighbors

Meredith Kokos is the Head of Marketing at Guaranteed Rate, an insurance brokerage committed to serving its customers like no other company. She cautions people not to avoid the opinions of those living in the area of the home being inspected. 

“For you, seeing a home that you may buy in a neighborhood you’re unfamiliar with may be a bit daunting. There’s not only the financial aspect to consider but the physical one as well. You likely don’t have any experience with the area or have information about the home that wasn’t fed you by a website or realtor. This is where your neighbors can be helpful. At the very minimum these people have more experience with the area than you. But, they often knew the people who lived in the home before you began seeing it and can provide helpful information you wouldn’t come across otherwise.”

Sellers: Curb Appeal

Similar to human relationships, an inspector’s relationship with a home begins with a first impression. Steadily is a business providing landlord insurance. Their co-founder and vice-president, Datha Santomieri, proposes being prepared for this. 

“When your inspector pulls into your driveway to comb over the entirety of your home, their opinion about the home will begin to form from that moment. The curb appeal of your home sets a precedent for what’s on the inside. If the exterior of your home is disheveled then the inspector will assume the same about the interior. This is the worst way to start a home inspection. It generally leads to more issues being presented and leaves a sour taste in the seller’s mouth once the inspector has left. Both your home inspector and viewing audience will appreciate a visually appealing home so be sure to make it one of your focuses.”

Sellers: Remove the pets

VITAL specializes in a credit card with a unique rewards system. Their CEO, Chris Bridges, believes pets are a benefit to their owners, and a problem for inspectors. 

“Any good home inspection will take more than a couple hours and will involve the inspector visiting every nook and cranny of your home. Not only do they need ample time to accomplish this, they also need a distraction free environment so they don’t miss anything crucial. If your pet is following them around or even bothering them, their work becomes that much harder. Your pet may not enjoy being cooped up for a few hours but a missed item on an inspection is far more damaging than a grumpy animal. You also don’t want to put the inspector in a bad mood as that’s the last thing to help the interaction.”

Sellers: Get information first

Matt Woods is the co-founder and CEO of SOLD.com, a brand offering services for buying and selling homes. He advises anyone seeking to list their home to get an independent inspection before going public with a listing. 

“Between the amount of money involved and the numerous obscure laws that exist within the world of real estate, it’s crucial to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of as a seller. One of the classic plays people run on home sellers is to bring in a home inspector that identifies a fake issue which reduces the value of the home. You can avoid this runaround by bringing in your own home inspection to get all the information about your home first. That way, if there is anything out of sorts when a buyers inspector comes through, you have evidence to back up your claims.”

Sellers: Functionality

Outside of safety concerns, an inspector is trying to ascertain whether everything in the home works. Berry Law is a business providing legal representation for veterans. Their CEO and managing partner, John Berry, considers it valuable to take a look at some of these items before the inspector arrives. 

“It doesn’t take a qualified home inspector to determine if a shower head is working right or not. The same can be said about a lightswitch or a garage door opener. All of these items and more will be under scrutiny from any home inspector. If you don’t want surprises or a long list of problems, it will behoove you to test the functionality of your home. Fixing them before they get added to an official list will keep that headache at bay.”

For many buyers, a home will be the largest financial transaction they will make in their lifetime and they need reassurance that this is a well-thought out decision.  For many sellers, a home inspection is usually necessary to move forward with any agreement. Realtor Joan Ostrom summed up the idea behind a home inspection, “ A full home inspection is extremely important for anything over a few years old. The buyer can look at the report, which has 40 or so categories. You can be more confident the home you’re buying is in good shape when you buy it.” 

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Laura.Bartlett

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