In part 1 of this series, Alexandria VA Home Sellers: Surviving the Home Inspection, we touched on how stressful a home inspection can be on a seller who is under contract.
In this post, we’ll discuss some practical actions you can take before your house goes on the market to help minimize the issues that may arise during the home inspection. Of course, the best way to minimize home inspection issues to stay on top of all maintenance issues, but let’s face it, sometimes we do tend to let certain things slide, then simply forget about or put them off.
Unfortunately, though, that deferred maintenance is not only a potential worry for a buyer, but it may also cause them to question how well maintained your home really is.
Here are just a few of the things you can do to ensure your house is in tip top shape- some may seem really simple, but trust me, even burned out light bulbs can make a bad first impression:
- Caulk all cracks in moldings, baseboard and crown moldings;
- Repair all drywall cracks;
- Replace all burned out light bulbs;
- Replace all light switches and electrical plugs that do not work properly;
- Repair or replace any failed windows (*this is a biggie for buyers);
- Make sure all locks on windows and doors are in working order If you have to jiggle or use a little trick to get your locks to work properly, it needs to be adjusted or replaced. Buyers don’t want to have to “learn” to operate your locks.
- Replace filters in furnace;
- Make sure the dishwasher has an air gap;
- Make sure the area around the outside A/C unit is clear of debris;
- Make sure all outside caulk is in place with no separations, missing or discolored caulk;
- Repair any damaged wood or trim. Make sure you do not have peeling paint – if your buyer happens to be using FHA or VA financing, this could become an appraisal requirement, anyway;
- If your property is in an HOA or Condo Association call and request an inspection of your property. Make any required repairs prior to listing the house for sale so you’re not “called out” by the Association when you go to sell;
- Clean all bathroom caulk, replace if it is stained;
- Repair any dripping faucets;
- Replace any finicky plumbing fixtures if they do not work as designed or are hard to operate;
- Leave your house in show condition for the home inspector;
- Leave instructions for any hard to operate items you know they will be testing;
- Gas fireplaces seem to be the trickiest for home inspectors to operate – and know they are not going to light pilot lights or mess around with it too much, so be sure the pilot light is lit and if not easy to operate, leave instructions;
- And speaking of pilot lights, be sure they are lit on the furnace and water heater.
- If you have a wood burning fireplace which has not been inspected and cleaned on a regular basis, have it inspected and cleaned prior to putting your house on the market;
- Make sure mechanicals and electrical panels are accessible; move items out of the way if they block access;
- Fix broken fences and/ or gates and make sure your deck is in good shape;
- And, finally, if your property is vacant, be sure all utilities are on, including gas, electric and water.
It may seem a little overwhelming at first, but as they say, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. By following these guidelines, not only will your home inspection negotiations go more smoothly, but your house will be more likely to impress prospective buyers, too.