You’re a seller and (finally!) someone wants to buy your house. You’ve got an accepted contract. Congratulations, you’re past the first hurdle in this slow market. Now it’s time to move on to, potentially, a more difficult phase- the home inspection.
When inventory is high and buyers have a lot to choose from, the ball is in the seller’s court to try and keep the deal together through inspection. Here are a few hints as a seller that will hopefully help ease the inspection process and move you on to the next step, mortgage commitment…
1. Have your own home inspection done before you list your house and have any major issues taken care of before it goes on the market. If the home inspector finds problems with the electrical, plumbing, heating, or any other major system, have a licensed professional come in and fix the issue. Keep receipts of the work performed and provide them to the buyer prior to their inspection.
2. Offer a 1 year homeowner’s warranty to the buyer. If any of your mechanical systems are near the end of their life, a homeowner’s warranty is a great way to give a buyer peace of mind for the first year of their homeownership. These typically cost around $400-$450 for the seller and will be rolled into your closing costs.
3. If the inspector finds mold, have it remediated if the buyer requests it. If you refuse to have the mold remediated and the buyer walks away from the deal, you then have to disclose that there was mold found. This becomes a “material fact” so your agent, and you, must disclose it going forward. Future buyers will most likely either be turned off by this fact and not put in an offer or request that you have it remediated as an outcome of their home inspection. It’s best to just have it taken care of once it’s identified as an issue.
4. Have your furnace serviced and chimneys swept. If you benefited from a year of use (or more) of your furnace and chimney, have the proper service professionals come in and maintain them.
5. Stating that you are selling your house in “as-is” condition may not be enough. The buyer may still request that items be fixed or they have the right to walk away from the deal. I recently had a buyer receive 3% off the agreed to purchase price of a house because major items were found during inspection and he threatened to walk away. Once those major items become known, they become “material facts” to the next buyer. You may need to be able to withstand a buyer walking away or bend to their requests and issue credits or have items fixed.
As the market shifts to favor buyers more than sellers, home inspection becomes another benefit to the buyer. Proactive sellers can improve their chances of keeping a deal together if they follow some or all of the steps above.
Tomorrow I’ll outline some home inspection strategies a buyer can take that will help them maximize the current market environment.