Friday, February 16, 2024

Should your home be inspected before you list it for sale?

By Richie Vraux

When you are ready to sell your home, your listing agent should recommend a pre- home inspection.

There are several reasons why the answer should always be yes! It may be a little costly for you up front, (usually between $500 and $1,000), but by knowing what your home’s issues are in advance, a home inspection can save you as a seller many thousands later.

Your real estate agent can recommend a reputable home inspector, but ultimately the choice is entirely your decision. Sometimes an inspector will identify minor problems, which when fixed in advance, will reduce the liability for both the buyer and the seller. Having done that will raise the seller’s confidence, that the potential issues are fixed and will minimize the issues that the buyer can come back at you with.

It just gives all parties peace of mind knowing they will not need to dole out large amounts of money in advance in selling your home. Minor deficiencies, such as a missing light switch plate cover or exposed wiring out of an electrical box could mean you would have to hire a licensed electrician to close it up, and we all know how expensive they might run you for a bill. It is always better to find out what your deficiencies are in advance, correct those problems in advance, rather than to hire a professional to fix it after the inspector points out all the issues in his report.

Having a pre-inspection report and fixing the issues can reduce the liability for the seller, get it sold in a timelier manner and might even award him top dollar, even more than asking price. Also, it will reduce any chance of having to negotiate the price due to the corrections that might need to be made and the potential risk of not closing on time. It just keeps the seller on target and the buyer happy so there are not any obstacles to slow the process.

When the inspector goes to the house, he looks at all the home’s systems: electrical, plumbing, roof, basement, structure, water leakage, signs of insect/ rodent presence both inside the home and out. He looks for all and any defects and writes a report. If you so desire, he will check for radon air and water, water test, septic inspection, and all other systems in the home.

All homes, those old and new, have issues, but an inspector will look at all systems. While newer homes are required to be up to current municipal, state and federal code guidelines, older homes most likely are not up to current codes and standards of today, and do not need to be. The older homes were built to municipal code when it was built. Your inspector will know this.

An inspector will write his report, which will usually be accompanied by pictures showing the defects listed on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most important to address first in decreasing order to 1, the least important to address.

This is a good way of seeing the issues firsthand to know what order of things need to be dealt with immediately and what problems are not as extreme. A home inspector will check for leakage both in the basement and in the roof. Remember, an inspector cannot inspect anything that is not visible.

Ask your agent who he would recommend as an inspector and if they are licensed, do they have liability insurance, E/O insurance and do they have third party coverage. These are all good questions to ask before settling on someone to perform a home inspection. The agent will recommend a few inspectors they have worked with previously and someone they feel that they can trust implicitly.

Listen to your agent as they are the professionals here and have gone through this process before and are experienced at choosing a proper home inspector.

Richie Vraux is a broker at Maine’s Premier Team at Better Homes and Gardens-The Masiello Group. With offices in Gorham and Windham, call Richie to seek professional advice for buyers and sellers at 207-317-1297. <

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