Pre-Inspection Home Seller Checklist: Getting Ready for Your Certified Pre-Owned Home Inspection
Over the last couple of weeks, our blog has explored the value of having A-Pro perform a Certified Pre-Owned Home Inspection before putting a property on the market—a great idea that can help you move the home faster, at a higher price, and with fewer headaches. Be sure to check out these past posts if you’re a homeowner who’s considering this option during this unprecedented seller’s market.
For sellers who have already decided that a pre-listing inspection is a smart route to take, we’ve put together some hints to make sure you get the most out of your comprehensive foundation-to-roof checkup.
Understand the Purpose of the Inspection
Before receiving your pre-listing inspection, it’s important to have a firm understanding of the inspector’s role in the home-buying/selling process. Many sellers believe a home inspector will issue a “passing” or “failing” grade after examining the house. Others assume that since the home inspector has been hired by the seller, it is the inspector’s job to make the home look favorable to potential buyers. On the opposite side, some sellers think inspectors are there to give the home the “white glove test,” pointing out every negative they can fit into a report, from the outdated kitchen cabinetry to the neighbor’s unsightly front lawn.
Rest assured, none of the above is true.
Sellers receive an unbiased, fair, and balanced report—the same industry-leading assessment that A-Pro Home Inspection has been providing to homebuyers and sellers for more than 27 years. That means the home inspection report highlights the home’s positive attributes as well as problem areas, such as defects and systems that are nearing the end of their useful life. No home “passes” or “fails” a home inspection. What you will receive is an honest visual and operational evaluation of the home’s condition, inside and outside, covering hundreds of components both large and small.
How you proceed after receiving the inspection report is entirely up to you. With the report in hand, you can choose to make recommended repairs or replacements before listing, or you can make potential buyers aware of issues that will be their responsibility. Cosmetic concerns, such as the style of carpeting and window treatments, will not be part of the inspection.
If the best-case scenario occurs and no problems are found, you now have a documented report—completed by a trained and certified third-party professional—that adds value to your property and gives those placing bids peace of mind that the house has been independently evaluated. Further, the report is fully transferable to the buyer. If there are issues, including safety hazards you weren’t aware of, you have the information you need to get the home in top shape.
Attending the Inspection
When a buyer hires a home inspector, it’s preferred that the seller vacate the property so the inspection can be performed without interference. But for a pre-listing inspection contracted by the seller, the inspector will encourage the homeowner to be present. Since the seller is more intimately aware of the home’s quirks and history, he or she can let the inspector know the best way to access tricky areas; provide immediate answers about the age of systems and equipment (HVAC, roof, etc.); and show documentation of repairs, replacements, and upgrades. Being able to ask the inspector questions as you walk through the home is another huge benefit.
Just as the inspector will be respectful of your property, you, as a seller, must allow the inspector to honestly assess systems in the home without getting in the way. We understand that as a homeowner who takes pride in your property, you may find it difficult to hear anything negative about the house you’ve worked so hard to maintain. While the seller’s insights can be valuable to the home inspection, quibbling about every observation and contradicting the inspector’s findings in real-time can make for a long and unproductive inspection. Bottom line: It is important to let the home inspector do his or her job. In the end, all parties will benefit from a fair and accurate assessment.
Before the Inspector Arrives
There are several steps the seller can take to make sure the inspection goes as smoothly as possible:
Ensure that there is clear access to areas that will need to be inspected. For example, remove objects and clutter near water heaters, furnaces, crawl space entrances, etc. The same goes for trimming back vegetation that might make it difficult to view the home’s exterior. In the winter, clear snow, if possible, from around the foundation, on the roof, and other areas that may hinder the inspector’s ability to complete the inspection.
Send any pets to a friend’s or relative’s house or, if you can’t find anyone willing to provide temporary shelter, make sure dogs, cats, or other pets are crated while the inspector is present. First, the inspector doesn’t want to be responsible for a beloved pet running away after opening the wrong door, and second, you don’t want to be liable for the inspector being attacked by a pet that is simply protecting its turf.
Never try to hide or cover up defects. If the home inspector doesn’t find them, the new homeowner eventually will—and that doesn’t benefit anyone.