So you’ve received an offer, got a sale contract in place, and are ready to move on to the final step of closing. But not so fast – there’s an important remaining step that can make or break the deal. That’s the inspection, a contingency written into most offers. And that means that if the inspection turns up a problem or flaw that the buyer isn’t happy about, the buyer can retract the offer without losing the earnest money. It’s a good idea then to have a plan in place for preparing your house for inspection in Houston to ensure a good outcome.
What the Inspector Will Look At
So what exactly do inspectors look at when they arrive at your house for sale. According to the Nation Association of Home Inspectors, most inspectors have a checklist of 1,600 items to guide them in the inspection. Really, though, you need to be concerned only about the major areas inspectors will examine. These areas and the problems inspectors are on the watch for include:
- Lawn and landscaping – Poor grading, standing water, unhealthy shrubs and trees, fences in bad shape, crumbling sidewalks and walkways
- Structural integrity – Evidence of faulty framing, cracked or sagging foundations, window, and door frames out of plumb
- Exterior – Damaged/decayed siding, peeling paint, rotting window/door frames
- Roof – Sagging spots, missing shingles/tiles, damaged/poorly maintained guttering.
- Interior – Water stains on ceiling/walls, insufficient insulation, poorly functioning HVAC system
- Electrical – Faulty/dangerous panels, wiring not up to code, dead outlets, and switches
- Plumbing – Slow drains, drains improperly vented, low water pressure
Preparing for the Inspection
After understanding what the inspector will be poking into and looking at, you need to begin the process of actually preparing your house for inspection in Houston. Some of these things may seem minor or merely cosmetic, but they can have a cumulative effect. The idea is to dispose the inspector to see your house as well maintained to avoid an attitude of nitpicking. Here’s what you can do . . .
CLEAN AND DECLUTTER
Yes, the inspector will look much deeper than the surface cleanliness, but this is a good beginning. A clean house free of clutter will appear to be a well-maintained house that doesn’t call for a hypercritical inspection.
ENSURE EASY ACCESS
To further put the inspector in a good mood for a less critical inspection, make sure the inspector can get to everything easily. Clear the path and access to electrical panels, attics, basements, and so on. Unlock gates and make sure the garage door is operating smoothly.
MAKE NECESSARY REPAIRS
You’ve probably lived in the house for at least a few and are aware of the things that need some attention. Do be sure and take care of these matters before the inspector finds them. Go ahead and fix that air conditioner that barely cools, replace the missing shingles, and call a plumber to get the bathtub draining properly again.
GET DOCUMENTATION IN ORDER
After you make those repairs, set up a file to have all the necessary paperwork handy. You need to have all the documentation that proves you have kept the house maintained and have made repairs, for example, receipts and insurance claim reports.
Consider a Pre-inspection
Since most of us don’t have the trained eye of an inspector, we can miss a lot that needs to be taken care. Sometimes, then, it’s a good idea to have your own third-party inspection – a pre-inspection – done so you can find out ahead of time what you need to fix and then take care of it before the buyer’s inspector arrives.
Just be aware, though, that a pre-inspection cuts two ways. First, different inspectors will come up with different areas of concern, so your inspector may not see what the buyer’s inspector will. In addition, if your inspector finds a problem, you are legally obligated to disclose it to the buyer.
Go Away During the Inspection
Preparing your house for inspection in Houston should also include preparing yourself. And that means primarily finding somewhere else to be during the inspection. Most of the time, your presence, especially if you hover (which is hard not to do), will make both the buyer and her inspector uncomfortable. Your presence can impede the inspection and put the inspector in a bad mood, which is absolutely what you do not want.
Let Your Agent Guide You
Finally, in preparing your house for inspection in Houston, you should let your agent guide you. Your agent can advise you on getting your house ready for inspection, and she also knows how to read those confusing inspection reports, as well as how to leverage them during negotiations.