Habitation Investigation

What to do Before, During, and After a Home Inspection as the Seller

If you are planning on selling your home in the near future, then there are a few things that you need to take care of before, during, and after an inspection. What should be done before? What is important for me to know about the process of inspecting my house? What could happen if I don’t prepare properly? What can I do during an inspection that will help make it go as smoothly as possible for everyone involved? What should be done after an inspection so that everything goes off without a hitch? 

Let’s find out!>In this blog post, we’ll cover what needs to be done before, during, and after a home inspection, so that you can make sure your best interests are represented at all times.

What is a Home Inspection?

During the homebuying process, a prospective buyer will usually hire a home inspector to come by the home and conduct a visual inspection of the home’s condition. The home inspector is looking for anything that poses a safety hazard, is nearing the end of its life, or is otherwise not functioning properly. The home inspection can be a stressful part of the process, especially for the seller. It’s important to remember that no home is ever perfect, and the home inspection is not a test that is either passed or failed.

The purpose of the home inspection is simply to provide the potential buyer with as much information on the home’s condition as possible to help them make an educated purchasing decision. In that aspect, home inspections also facilitate renegotiations between you and the other party. As the seller, you are not obligated to make repairs but provided that an inspection clause was included in the contract, the buyer will have the opportunity to walk without consequence if they are unsatisfied with the home inspection’s findings. 

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

While the buyer will usually hire their own home inspector to inspect the property, some home sellers make the decision to schedule a pre-listing inspection. There are several reasons why you may also make that decision, but it’s helpful to understand how pricing works while thinking over your options.

In the United States, the average cost of a home inspection is about $400. Factors such as location, square footage, age of the home, and the inspector’s experience level can all affect the final price you pay for your home inspection. Prices vary between houses, condos, and mobile homes as well. Additionally, depending on where you’re located and what your personal concerns are, there are additional services that may be beneficial to add-on to your home inspection. These include radon, asbestos, mold, lead, and sewer scope inspection. These services are not often included in the cost of a home inspection but can be a great tool in helping you understand the condition of your home.

How Long Will a Home Inspection Take?

Sellers should not be present during the buyer’s home inspection for the same reasons they should not be present during the showing. However, if you have opted to schedule your own inspection, you should be present during the inspection. Regardless of whether you will be present or be finding something to occupy you and your family for the duration of the inspection, it’s helpful to know exactly how long you should plan for the inspection to take.

The amount of time it takes to complete a home inspection depends largely on the size of the home and the number of individual rooms. An average home inspection will take between 2 to 3 hours, and an average condo inspection will take between 1 ½ to 2 hours. When you know that the average home has more than 500 components, you know this is time being well spent!

Something that can very easily slow down the home inspection process is a cluttered home. If the inspector needs to constantly move around and adjust the furniture and other items in the home to see what they’re inspecting, you can understand why this would throw a wrench in the process. 

Before the Home Inspection

Coming to the decision to sell your home was the easy part. Now you need to prepare your property for the home inspection! The results of the home inspection are a massive factor in whether your sale goes through or not, and this is why many sellers choose to complete a pre-listing inspection before the home is even publicly listed for sale. Although the buyer will likely hire their own home inspector to look over the property, having your own done ahead of time will give you a heads up on what your buyer is likely going to discover. You’ll also have an idea of what items in the home need to be replaced. If you elect not to make repairs/replacements yourself, you’ll be able to reflect that in the purchase price of the home. 

A pre-listing inspection also has the benefit of being an indication of honesty. It shows your potential buyers you have no intention of hiding anything, potentially giving buyers the confidence they need to put in an offer. 

Besides deciding whether or not to elect for a pre-listing inspection, there are quite a few things you’ll want to check off your list before you get to the home inspection. Firstly, make sure you’ve decluttered your home! A home inspection is primarily visual; the inspector shouldn’t have to move around a stack of boxes to access the other half of the room.

After you’ve finished decluttering your home is a good time to do a complete walkthrough of the property. During your walkthrough, you should be testing everything a home inspector would check. This means light switches, ceiling/bathroom fans, garage door openers, plumbing, downspouts, and more! As you’re completing this walkthrough, it will also be a great idea to ensure your home’s safety precautions are properly functioning and easily accessible. Take a few minutes to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors, test the carbon monoxide detector, and double-check that you have a fire extinguisher available. 

Aside from these smaller checklist items, before the home inspection is also the ideal time for you to complete any necessary home repairs or improvements you’ve had in mind. This could mean replacing light bulbs, re-caulking around the bathtub and sinks, replacing damaged window screens, or it could mean a larger project, such as cleaning out your gutters, trimming tree branches that are hanging close to the home, or pressure washing debris off the roof. 

The last of your home inspection prep is about the actual day and making plans for what to do to occupy yourself during the inspection. You should plan to leave the home an hour before the home inspection starts time to give the inspector and the potential buyer some space. If possible, you should take pets with you so as to not interfere with the inspection process.

Leave any remotes for garage door openers, ceiling fans, lights, etc, and leave keys for any gates, outbuildings, and electrical boxes. If you’ve been occupying the home, make sure your laundry is out of the washer and dryer and dishes are cleared from the sink. If you’ve not been occupying the home, ensure that all utilities are turned on so everything can be tested. 

During the Home Inspection

As mentioned earlier, as the seller, you should not be present for the home inspection. While there is no law that prohibits you from attending, it is universally agreed upon by realtors that the seller’s presence during the inspection has more cons than pros. The home inspection is the only significant block of time a buyer has to look over the home in detail.

The seller’s presence will be highly distracting, and will also likely prevent the buyer from speaking to the inspector about concerns. Purchasing a home is a huge decision, and not being able to have an open dialogue with your home inspector because you’re worried about the seller becoming defensive will only cause unnecessary stress and hesitancy to move forward.

It is, however, a good idea to make yourself easily available via phone call or text if any questions arise during the home inspection.

After the Home Inspection

One of the purposes of the home inspection is to reopen negotiations between the seller and the buyer. That is unless your buyer has agreed to purchase as is and the contract explicitly states the home inspection is for information only. Generally, sellers can expect certain big-ticket inspection items to require their attention before the sale is closed with their buyer.

You are not obligated to make any repairs, but depending on the state of the housing market, chances are that it will be more beneficial to you in the grand scheme of it all to agree to a couple of repairs or give your buyers some credit to make the repairs themselves. Just as you are not obligated to make any repairs, neither is the other party obligated to follow through with the purchase. A seller that refuses to negotiate will have great difficulty finding a buyer.

Conclusion

The home inspection is your opportunity to ensure that everything in the home is in working order and safe for a new owner. What you do before, during, and after will have a big impact on the future of your sale. Are there any other things you would like to add or suggest? What has your experience been with selling a home that might help others? What questions do you have about what it means to be a good seller prior to, during, and after a home inspection? What other kinds of articles would you like to see on this site? Let me know in the comments below!

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