Sellers can benefit from some simple tips before putting the house on the market. For example, a pre-listing inspection could help identify the components of the house that are most in need of repair — which will make the home unattractive to potential buyers. Homeowners who hire a qualified inspector will find it well worth their investment. Here are the common problem areas that are typically identified by home inspectors. Early correction of these problems will increase the house’s marketability (and its selling price!).
CHECK THE MAJOR SYSTEMS
After size, style, and location, nothing will sell a house quicker than the good condition of the home’s basic structure and major mechanical systems. A pre-listing inspection of visible and accessible home components can reveal problems in the structure and systems, and an inspector will recommend the necessary repairs. The most important components to consider are the roof structure, foundation, basement or crawl spaces, heating and air-conditioning systems, electrical and plumbing systems.
These basic, simple, and usually inexpensive improvements will make the home more appealing to buyers. Make the home “drive-by perfect” by trimming trees and shrubs, applying new caulking or weatherstripping as necessary, cleaning gutters of leaves and debris, and making sure all windows are free of cracks. Inside, the homeowner should replace bathroom caulk or grouting, ventilate closed basements and crawl spaces, re-grade the soil around the foundation to keep water away from the house, replace dirty filters in the climate control systems and have the systems professionally serviced, and maintain chimneys, having them professionally cleaned and installing hoods or caps as needed.
ATTENTION TO DETAILS
Fixing minor problems as they occur will indicate “loving care” to the potential buyer. Repair leaky faucets, tighten loose door knobs, replace damaged screens and windows, repair driveways, repaint walls and ceilings, and make sure all railings are secure. These simple steps will make sure the buyer doesn’t leave with a bad impression.
Inspectors pay attention to the items in the home that will help protect the dwelling and its occupants. Install a smoke detector on each level of the home, keep flammable products away from heat sources and install GFCI outlets in wet areas, such as the kitchen, laundry and bathrooms.
In the world of real estate, looks do count, so homeowners should do all they can to assure their home is neat and attractive. Make sure the lawn is mown regularly, exterior walls and trim are clean, and the house is neat. Open windows and shades to let in light. Make sure those “hot spots” that buyers inspect closely — like kitchens and bathrooms — are up to the “white glove” test.
The homeowner should have house records on hand to answer questions easily and confidently. Appliance receipts, service records, and warranties and information about all major components.