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Home Inspections prior to Selling

People often ask what they can do to make their house sell faster once they decide to put it on the market.  Before a seller begins to think about pricing, etc., I strongly suggest they have a home inspection done.  That's right, the seller.  While buyers usually choose to have a home inspected prior to purchase, I feel that it's just as important to have the seller conduct an inspection.

Why have a home inspected that you're not going to stay in?  The answer is fairly simple.  First of all, it illustrates to potential buyers that you care about the house and the house's upkeep.  If you're willing to have the home inspected, you're obviously a careful and thorough homeowner who would have taken good care of your home from the start.

In addition, when the inspection is done, you can take care of any issues that come up yourself which saves time during the negotiating process. I can't tell you how many times a buyer will submit a bid, pending a home inspection, only to come back with the list of needed repairs detected through the home inspection, which means the buyer and seller have to  go back to the negotiating table for a price.

There's also the option of not doing the repairs but being honest with potential buyers.  For example, the sellers may need to repair the downspouts and gutters and may take some money off of the selling price, acknowledging that the work needs to be done by the buyer.

So, regardless of whether you are the buyer or the seller, what are the qualifications to look for when choosing a home inspector?  First of all, in North Carolina, they must be licensed by the N.C. Home Inspector Licensing Board.  Also, consider how long they have been in the business and if they have been in the construction business themselves.  You also want to be sure they are bonded and have liability insurance.

Now, you've chosen the inspector.  What can you expect?  Cost will vary according to home size.  In general, up to 1,000 square feet will be about $250 while a 4,000 square foot home will be at least $400.  Beware of anyone who gives you a rock bottom price.

A complete inspection will cover everything from structural defects and foundation problems to plumbing to roofs to porches and decks.  Generally, it is preferable for you to be present during the home inspection so that you can see first hand any issues that the inspector discovers.  Expect a thorough inspection to take two to three hours, again depending on the home size.

According to Dan O'Brien who works in Asheville and Black Mountain with Pillar to Post, a national home inspection franchise, the most common problem he sees during inspections is water damage.  This issue can be caused by not maintaining the gutters, not ensuring the home is properly painted, and improper landscaping so the ground does not slope away from the structure.

Another problem he sees frequently is GFI outlets, those electric outlets near water that are more sensitive, not working properly. 

"It's amazing how a few simple things could be done so there aren't any problems at all," he explains.

That's another reason I strongly suggest a seller's inspection.  Being able to offer a home clear of inspection problems goes a long way toward simplifying the selling process.  And a simple process equals a quicker sale.


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