Congratulations! You’ve received an offer on your home and the papers have been signed. Before you can move out and collect your cash, however, there’s one final step you still need to take - the home inspection.
The home inspector is hired by the buyer to examine the house thoroughly for any red flags. This includes broken appliances, needed repairs, non-working outlets, plumbing problems, poor wiring and structural damage, to name just a few. The inspector’s report is very important because the buyer can use it to complete the purchase of the home, request certain repairs be done ahead of time and, in some cases, renegotiate the price of the home. In other words, if you’re the seller you want to pass your home inspection with flying colors.
Luckily, there are a number of things you can do in order to clear this final hurdle and sell your home.
Keep critical areas accessible
The inspector will need to check every nook and cranny of your home, so make sure he or she can get to them. Unlock boxes, clear a path to cupboards and make sure your electrical box, hot water heater and AC units are free and clear. If the inspector can’t access what is needed, he or she might assume you’re trying to hide something.
Test smoke detectors
Make sure your smoke detector and carbon monoxide monitors are operable. Check the batteries and make sure you have one on every level of your home. It’s not just a good habit; it’s the law.
Open and close doors and windows
First of all, you want to make sure doors and windows can be opened and shut easily and without sticking. You also want to make sure they don’t make any strange creaking or squeaking sounds. If you hear something unpleasant, tighten screws as needed or apply WD-40 to the offending spots to keep things quiet.
Let’s face it - sometimes we put off changing a burnt-out bulb so long we get used to it and don’t even notice it anymore. If your home is up for inspection, it’s important to replace those bulbs so all lights come on, even those you don’t use regularly. Again, if a light doesn’t come on, the inspector will have to assume it’s a problem with the wiring, which is a huge red flag.
Check the plumbing
Make sure all the plumbing fixtures in the house, including toilets, tubs, showers and sinks, are in good working condition. This means they drain quickly, don’t clog and are spick and span. If, for example, your shower collects standing water, head to the home improvement store and buy some Drano. It’s a fast and simple fix that will go a long way toward a great inspection.
Fill in the cracks
If you have an older home with plaster walls, there are bound to be a few cracks. Most of these hairline cracks occur naturally as the house settles and shifts over time and are not a cause for concern. If, however, a crack is keeping your windows or doors from closing or is located in your foundation, you’ll want to have it checked out by a professional prior to your inspection.
Don’t forget the yard
Trim your trees to keep overhanging branches off the roof. These can cause mold and mildew to form, especially in Wilmington’s humidity. You’ll also want to remove any dead trees or limbs that could fall on your property or onto the neighbors’.
Be open and honest
Maybe your stove is broken or your dryer makes a terrible screeching sound when it’s turned on. Instead of covering up these problems, leave a note near the appliance describing the issue and explaining how and when you plan to fix it. This will help the inspector, plus the buyers will view you as trustworthy and responsible, which are excellent qualities of someone from whom you plan to purchase a house.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be that much closer to passing your inspection and selling your home. For more advice that will help you sell or buy a home, contact a Network Real Estate agent. Our knowledgeable and experienced team will ensure your real estate process is smooth and stress-free.
Neal Johnson is a CMCA, CRB, CNE and GRI-certified, licensed real estate broker at Network Real Estate, which has exclusively served a high volume of property sales and purchases in the greater Wilmington area for more than 30 years. With three offices at College Road, historic downtown Wilmington and Pleasure Island, Network’s brokers are widespread and well-versed in this marketplace, making Network a preferred real estate company for first-time home buyers and beyond.
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