With the spring homebuying season rapidly approaching, home inspections are a must -- for the seller. "If you have maintained your home while living there it will be a smoother [buyer's] inspection," says Bryan Felder
, a broker with The Virginia Realty Group in Chantilly, Va.
It's not a bad idea to do a home inspection before even listing your home. It may sound like a hassle but it could save you a lot of money and stress early on. "It will pinpoint danger areas or red flags that could be a potential problem," says Felder. "It gives the seller the ability to address it before [a buyer comes in to judge]."
Remember, you're not buying a dump, so don't sell a dump either.
Having your home already inspected ultimately also gives the prospective buyers the comfort and confidence that the seller actually cared about their home in the first place. Just be sure to
inform the buyer and show proof of the home inspection you so kindly took care of. Doing so avoids any unnceccesary and costly redundancies and hiccups during the transaction.
Kurt Salomon, President of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)
, based in Salt Lake City, provided AOL Real Estate with a pre-listing home inspection checklist to keep things significantly less nerve-racking and not terribly costly before the buyer's home inspector comes through.
1. Clean your gutters out.
This is a commonly overlooked detail that just ends up being a hassle later on. Don't get docked for such a simple yard work chore.
2. If your furnace is over 15 years old, spend the $100 it typically costs to have it serviced and cleaned.
"Then make a copy and put it in a ziplock bag and tape it to the furnace," says Salomon. "Home inspectors are known for calling out a problem when there isn't a problem there. Put the proof up to eliminate the uncertainty the home inspector will fall to otherwise."
3. Check for positive drainage of the landscape around the house.
You don't want to flood the basement, so get some dirt and toss it into the wheelbarrow and level out the slopes.
4. Reinstall any handrails.
Many people remove the handrails along their stairs, but when you move out you want to put them back. The home inspector will insist on it.
5. If it's safe, check out the condition of your roof.
You want things looking normal, or, otherwise you'll have to get some maintainance help.
6. Check the auto reverse on the garage door opener.
Make sure there's a safety release.
7. Sounds funny, but check that all toilets are flushed properly.
"You'd be surprised how many people forget about flushing the toilet in the 'other bathroom,' or, guest room," says Salomon. "You don't want things to pop up."
8. Check your sink and bathtub drains.
You need a functional drain, not a slow drain. The home inspector will fill up your tub and watch for what happens. Get any hair out and add Drano when necessary.
9. Take care of any leaks if you can.
Check under your sinks and vanities for leakage and tighten what you can on your own.
10. Check your windows.
Open and close each hung window -- especially the ones that go up and down so as to make sure the springs are in place and the windows won't slam down.
11. Fix up any deteriorated paint jobs.
12. Test out the dishwasher and washing machine along with any other appliances that will be staying behind.
You want everything functioning properly, so there are no surprises.
And as for the don'ts, Salomon speaks from experience when he advises not to leave "any stuff out that you wouldn't want your mother to see -- if you catch my drift." And on a more serious and less embarrassing note: "Don't ever take off the electric panel. That's one thing to leave to the inspector!"
Thinking about adding value with home improvements? Here are some AOL Real Estate guides to help you, whether you're selling or staying.