This post on home inspections is addressed more toward sellers than buyers. Buyers are usually the ones who order home inspections after a property has gone under contract, but that’s not the only time that home inspections are useful in real estate transaction. Sellers, too, can use home inspections before the home is even listed.
When you’ve been living in a place for a while, you become immune to the little quirks about the place. Things like doors that don’t latch easily, faucets that drip slightly, and dishwashers that only run between the hours of 2 and 3 a.m. (and only if you’ve used that special detergent) become just part of the deal. You don’t notice them anymore, because you’ve learned how to deal with them. You’ve made a decision, consciously or not, that those little things are not worth bothering with. Chances are, you literally don’t even notice them after a while.
The thing is, others do notice. People who don’t come to your house very often will notice. People who are thinking about buying your house will definitely notice, and they’ll actually pay someone to find those little annoyances. Once found, those little annoyances could become big grievances that could derail a contract to sell your house.
Buyers will look at those “little things” that home inspections reveal, and wonder what giant problems lie within. They’ll think those “little things” are just an indication that this house was not properly maintained. They’ll adjust their offering price, if they make an offer at all. The longer the property sits unsold, the more stigmatized it becomes, and the harder to sell it becomes. Trying to convince buyers that those little things really aren’t that bad will backfire nearly every time.
The solution, of course, is to fix all those “little things” before anyone has a chance to find them. Like I said, though, chances are you don’t even notice them anymore. As you live your life, you just automatically, unconsciously, accommodate them.
So how are you going get your house “up to snuff” if you aren’t really aware of what’s wrong with it?
You could try to force yourself to become more aware of the issues. Make a list, and start repairing.
But what about the things that go beyond what you’ve simply learned to ignore? The things you really and truly don’t know are issues? How will you know to fix those?
The easiest solution is to use the same technique that buyers use: home inspections. Hire a home inspection company to objectively go through your house, testing and identifying the issues that you might or might not be aware of. Do this before the house goes on the market. Get all those things fixed, and buyers won’t have problems to find. When there aren’t issues, buyers will be more at ease and more likely to offer a greater price for your home. Negotiations on the property will be smoother and less stressful.
Is there a cost involved? Of course there is. You’re going to have to spend a few hundred dollars, and take the time to have an inspection. If anything is found, you’ll need to pay time and/or money to have it corrected. On the other hand, you’re buying a smoother transaction, without the aggravation of “low ball” or “no ball” offers from buyers. When the buyers have their own inspection done, it will come through clean because all the issues have been handled. The cost of the pre-listing home inspections will be minor, indeed.
By the way, there is absolutely nothing that says that home inspections can only be completed during a real estate transaction. Home inspections can be really useful to a homeowner as a periodic check that everything is operating correctly. The few hundred dollars you might spend every few years on home inspections could save you literally thousands — or even the complete loss of your home — by identifying problems before they become catastrophes.
So what’s next? Take your pick.
Yeah. You should probably do at least one of those things right now.