Deciding to sell your house is the first and easy decision to make as a seller. The real task starts after putting your house in the market. The inspection is one of the most important steps when selling a property
In times of coronavirus, it’s a rather uncomfortable situation for the seller as well as an agent. Setting a few ground rules is better than to be sorry later. Social distancing may be the most difficult task to adhere to at this time.
As important as it is for an agent to be present while the inspection is going on, it is safer to limit the group to just 3-4 people. The best thing to do as a realtor at this time would be to keep your client aware of all the necessities for the inspection.
Points to keep in mind while advising your client:
1. Set expectations:
- Create a protocol to follow.
- Set a standard following all the guidelines necessary to ensure safety. (Sanitizers, gloves, masks, anti-slip socks)
- Make sure all areas are cleaned and swept especially the attic and nooks and corners. Disinfect all the areas that the inspector has touched with wipes.
2. Make space:
- Make sure to clean out as much space as possible. Give the inspector enough area to move and walk around freely. Create easy access for the inspector to check around all the corners in the house including the attic.
- Ensure areas around the heating/cooling vents, electrical points, and any security system are free for the inspector to look around.
- The inspector is not allowed to move any personal items of the owners, so make sure to free up enough space to avoid any delay or prolonging the process.
- Clear out the garage and ideally move the car out of the garage to avoid any accidents.
3. Explain how systems work:
- Be sure to inform your client to walk the inspector through all the appliances and other systems in the house.
- Ensure that the inspector is fully aware of how everything around the house works to avoid any delay or confusion. We do not want a situation wherein the inspector declares something as ‘not working’ because they can’t figure out how it works.
- Create a checklist of all the electronic services around the house so as to allow the inspection to move along as quickly and stress-free as possible
4. Have the HVAC serviced:
- Probably one of the most important parts of any inspection is checking the HVAC system. Ensuring that it is serviced, cleaned, and set in working condition prior to the inspection is reducing a very important point thing on the list of worries.
5. Check light bulbs and fireplace:
- Check light bulbs to make sure they’re all functioning properly. If any of the electrical fixtures work using remote controls then they need to make sure the batteries are changed working.
- Turn on all the pilot lights before the inspection. If the house has a fireplace, ensure it is in working condition before the inspector arrives.
6. Take care of missing caulking:
- Remember to tell your sellers to check if any surfaces or tiles in the bathroom or kitchen need to be caulked.
- Pay special attention around wet areas like the sink and tubs.
7. Check on your pipes:
- Keep an eye out for any leaks and damages in your water system.
- The inspector is for sure going to look for water damages, be one step ahead and get everything checked in advance!
- When looking for leaks, be sure to check under sinks, around faucets, around the base of your toilets and bathtubs and/or showers, and under any appliances that may leak, such as dishwashers and refrigerators.
- In terms of water damage, examine walls, ceilings, and floors, looking for signs of warping, sagging, or buckling.
- Don’t forget to check the exterior of your house for signs of leaks or water damage as well. If you see water pooling near the base of your house, that should be a cause for concern.
8. Don’t forget the dryer vent:
- Clean out the dryer vent! A very common mistake that gets caught often is the dryer vent. Most sellers forget about the dryer vent.
9. Clean windows:
- Dust the windowsills and tracks, an area that is often overlooked during everyday cleaning but a sore sight for when an inspection is going on.
- Be sure to completely wipe down these areas to reduce the debris and accumulation of dead bugs too!
10. Take care of any bug problems:
- Get proper pest control done well in advance. We don’t want any surprise visitors on D-day!
- A problem evidently forgotten, be sure to check the kitchen, closets, and the attic before the day of the inspection. We definitely have a deal-breaker on our hands if we accidentally find ourselves amidst creepy crawlies.
11. Check on all the doors, cabinets:
- Having a squeaky door or loose hinges on a cabinet is no new issue but can be a major turn off for both a new buyer as well as an inspector.
- Take a walk-through of your house and check each door to make sure that it’s in working condition.
- Interior and exterior doors should be latching into the frame with no problem, doorknobs should be securely in place, and any locks, particularly on doors that lead outside, need to be functioning properly as well.
- Sometimes cold or heat can warp normally functional doors and lead to problems, so be sure to check all doors, including those you don’t use very often.
12. Test the sprinkler system:
- If the home has a sprinkler system, sellers need to check it to make sure that the heads are hitting the areas they should, and that none of them are leaking when they run.
By the day of the home inspection, you should have done everything you can to prepare. Now, it’s just about making sure it goes as smoothly as possible. Most buyers aren’t expecting complete perfection; they just want to know that there are no heavy burdens waiting for them. It’s common for the home inspector to note a few minor issues, but most of the time, if there’s something serious to detect you’ve already figured it out on your own.
Masks and hand sanitizer aside, this is a helpful checklist to run through before an inspector comes through your sellers’ home. Taking care of these items will hopefully shorten the time the inspector is in the home and minimize the need for a return visit to look at things they couldn’t access the first time around.