Home Inspection Services Can Help You Sell
July 28, 2010
Home inspection services may not be something you’re excited about paying for when selling your house but they could be well worth your money. We had a home inspector come to look for any potential problems and he pointed out some home repairs that could potentially help us sell our house faster and closer to our asking price.
Home Inspection Costs
Home inspection costs will depend on the size of your home and how the inspector prices the work. Some inspectors charge by square footage, others by how long they spend, and others charge a flat fee for any house under a certain size. We ended up getting a 10% discount on the inspection of our house because we used the same home inspector to do a review of our house and the home we want to buy.
Home Inspection Checklist
So what do you get for your money when an inspector examines your house? Here’s the checklist of all the items our inspector reviewed, taken from the home inspection report he sent us after it was completed:
Grounds – Driveway, Sidewalks, Landscaping, Retaining Walls, Grading, Patio, Decks/Balcony, Fences & Gates
Exterior – Porch Cover, Porch, Stairs, Walls, Trim, Chimney
Foundation: Basement & Crawlspace – Walls, Columns, Accessibility, Sump Pump, Crawl Space, Foundation, Beams, Wood Frame, Insulation
Roof System – Attic & Insulation, Roof Covering, Flashings, Gutters & Downspouts
Plumbing – Main Line, Supply Line, Waste Lines, Hose Faucet, Water Heater, Fuel System, Sprinkler System
Heating – Air Conditioning – Furnace Location & Type, Burners, Pump/Fan Blower, Combustion Air, Venting, Air Filters, Ductwork, Outside Unit Condition & Temp, Condensate Line, AC Controls
Electrical System – Type & Condition, Main Panel, Conductors, Wiring
Interior – Doors,Windows, Interior Walls, Ceilings, Floors, Fireplace, Smoke Detectors, Laundry
Garage Carport – Roof, Floor, Walls, Ceiling, Garage Interior Door, Garage Overhead Door, Garage Opener
Kitchen – Sink, Range, Refridgerator, Dishwasher, Garbage Disposal, Microwave, Countertops, Walls, Outlets
Bathrooms – Sinks, Vent, Bathtub, Shower
The standard service doesn’t usually include mold inspection or termite inspection, some inspectors will offer those as an additional service or work with a contractor who specializes in those areas.
One thing to keep in mind is that it might be difficult to check heating/cooling systems in the alternate season. For example, he couldn’t check the heat pump in our house, it was too hot outside for it to turn on.
Finding a Good Home Inspector
Just like any type of contractor, you’ll find a range of quality and service from different home inspectors. One way to find a good inspector is to look for someone who is ASHI certified. To belong to the American Society of Home Inspectors, a member has to complete two comprehensive written exams and have done a minimum of 250 professional home inspections following ASHI standards. Once they’ve met those requirements if they pass an ASHI Standards Compliance Review then they can become ASHI members.
You can also ask if they’ve taken the National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE), some states require it to be a licensed home inspector but many do not.
Benefits of a Seller Home Inspection
The main reason to have your inspection done before listing your home is to eliminate issues that could cause delays in the closing process or end up costing you money. Most home buyers that make an offer on your house will write an inspection contingency into the contract, where they have 7–10 days after a professional home inspection to walk away from their offer based on what was found.
Depending on what a buyer’s inspection uncovers, they might decide they still want the house but require you to fix the problem or give them a price reduction so they can fix it. If you find issues first with a seller’s inspection you can have the repairs done on your terms and on your schedule. The difference between you finding local contractors to give you bids on work vs being rushed into a speedy repair by the buyer could come to hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the problem.
Another option is to disclose the issue up front and adjust the price so that it reflects the cost of the repair. This way there aren’t surprises that come up after you’ve already negotiated a sales price that could cause the buyer to ask for a lower price or even walk away from the deal.
Home Inspection Tips
In addition to the benefits above, another nice thing about doing a pre-listing inspection is that the inspector typically has gone through hundreds of houses with buyers and has heard how people react to what they see in a home.
Our inspector offered all kinds of tips and insights as he went through our house that we might never have considered. For example, if there’s dust gathered on top of your furnace or hot water heater he hears buyers wonder about maintenance and worry about having to replace them. Same concept if the air filter in your furnace is dirty, however, if it’s clean AND you have a new spare one sitting by it gives the appearance they are well maintained.
Something else he’s noticed is that dirty dishes sitting in your dishwasher tends to make buyers think the dishwasher is older and dirty and might need replacing. Even though those indicators may have nothing to do with the actual maintenance or condition of things in your home, it’s useful to know how potential buyers see them and a good inspector can help point those out as they go through your house.
We’re glad that we did a seller’s home inspection and are in the middle of working our way through the inspectors findings and fixing any issues that could cause delays in closing or a reduction in our home price.
All posts by Ben Edwards