So, you accepted an offer on your home and you have started planning on your move! The buyer is pre-approved and there are no contingencies except a home inspection. Your home is perfect so there are no worries! Think again. Home inspections have led to many transaction failures sometimes over minor problems.
Assuming that an initial inspection was done prior to listing and the home and all major problems were addressed, there are still some simple things that can be done that may eliminate potential problems that could arise between buyer and seller. Preparing the home for an inspection should include some small things to make it easier for the inspector to perform a complete inspection and thus eliminating uncertainties which could bring doubt to the buyer.
Getting ready to move means packing. When those large boxes are blocking normal inspection areas like the garage, water heater, attic or crawl space access, inspectors have a hard time completing their inspection. If an inspector is unable to access an area, unable to verify that all systems are working delays are possible and further inspections may be called for which may not be necessary.
Make small changes. Change burnt out light bulbs to remove the suspicion of faulty wiring. Clean the furnace filters. Clean the windows so it is clear that there are no blown seals. Provide any receipts for repairs. If there is a crawl space, make sure it is free of debris.
Even with preparation, problems could still exist. Bruce MacKintosh, founder of Centennial Home Inspection Services, Inc in Woodinville and chair of the Washington State Home Inspectors Board, adds cedar shake roofs to a list of last minute surprises. The seller with an older roof who has paid for a roof certification assumes that the certification is always sufficient to eliminate the possibility of re-roofing an older shake roof.
According to Bruce, there are only two kinds of companies that should certify a roof: roofing companies and roof certification companies. Since each has a financial stake in certifying, or not certifying, neither should actually do the initial inspection.
"Bogus roof certifications are the bane (or one of the banes) of our industry. Nothing creates as much needless drama as a bad roof with a worthless roof certification. Home inspectors would love to exempt a roof because it has a certification. The funny thing is, nobody wants us to exempt the roof, and once we inspect it, we "own" the opinion of the roof - the cert is irrelevant. Understandably, some people—even our clients—want us to inspect the roof and also accept the roof cert. This is something no reputable home inspector will do. The simple fact is that while you can nurse a bad cedar shake roof almost to infinity, you cannot sell it that way.”
And remember, all certs come with exemptions for proper care and maintenance and other weather related damage.
The best way to prepare for a stellar inspection is to always keep up with necessary home maintenance. Keeping a home in good shape diminishes the problems that could be encountered when it comes time to sell.
Joan Probala is the managing broker for Issaquah Windermere (Windermere Real Estate/East Inc.). She has 30 years of experience in real estate, construction and sales. She is president-elect (2012) of the Seattle King County Association of Realtors.