If you’re selling a home, you may think that home inspection red flags don’t apply to you. While you may not be weighing the pros and cons of repair items like potential buyers, a surprise at that point in the process can wreck a deal. And once you’re under contract with buyers, do you really want to go back to square one because a patch of mold or an electrical issue sent the buyers running?
After working so hard to attract buyers with a move-in-ready home, the last thing you want is to lose a sale because your home inspection turns up a red flag.
So, what’s a savvy seller to do?
Seller Tip #1: Know What You’ve Got Before You Go to Market
Surprises are great—just not when they show up on a home inspection. That’s why it may be a good idea to get your own pre-sale inspection before planting the for-sale sign out front, especially if your home is in “questionable condition”. A qualified inspector should perform a four-point inspection of the roof, HVAC, basic electrical, and basic plumbing to avoid a lowball offer out of the gate.
Make sure you keep good maintenance records on your mechanicals, plumbing, and electrical repairs, and you know the condition of your roof. As the homeowner, you do have to either disclose or repair any issues found during the pre-sale inspection, but it allows you to decide if you will price your home as-is or to make repairs to get it closer to market value.
If your listing agent doesn’t offer a pre-inspection option (this is not an option that all homes need or should be recommended), be prepared to deal with costly repairs or to lower the price if major issues are uncovered when the buyer conducts their inspection. You may find yourself having to wait until you can afford to fix the problem areas before your home can sell at the price you need to move on.
Seller Tip #2: Know When to Fix Your Fixer-Upper
So how do you know which repairs are necessary to close the deal? The buyer’s appraiser may require certain improvements for the sale to go through based on the buyer’s loan and the value of your home. I can help you make the call, but a few key areas take priority.
The same areas a home inspector evaluates—electrical, plumbing, roof, and HVAC—are the ones you may have to prioritize when it comes to repairs. Also, with some types of financing, such as FHA and VA, broken glass in windows and a simple thing like exterior chipped and peeling paint, may be enough to cause financing to be declined.
The electrical, plumbing, roof, and HVAC should be in good working condition when a property is transferred. I always recommend hiring licensed professionals for these types of repairs so the buyers will feel confident about the condition of their new home.
A major fix may feel out of reach if your money is tied up in equity, but you can still bring options to the table. Work with your agent to gather a few professional quotes for the repair and offer cash at closing or a discount on the sales price to cover the cost. Giving the buyer a choice is always a winning approach because they like having control over the outcome. It also shows you’re willing to meet them in the middle.
Whether you’re buying or selling a home, a less-than-perfect home inspection certainly complicates things. After all, it’s difficult to tell when to spend the money to fix an issue and when to negotiate a compromise. That’s why you need an experienced agent who can guide you through the rough patches and help you come up with a solution.