A pre-listing home inspection is an optional step that a seller may choose prior to selling. It is a step that can give a seller an edge in setting the price and also in attracting buyers. It can reduce stress and give the seller more time to complete the repairs.
Do you know the condition of your home?
It’s amazing how home owners get used to the loose handle on the third drawer of the kitchen cabinet or a doorbell that doesn’t work or a small plumbing leak that was put on the back burner. Then the inspectors come through with a fine tooth comb. The buyer sends over a laundry list of serious and not so serious repair requests to be completed prior to closing.
Buyers are spending close to $1000 on inspections after their contract is accepted: radon; sewer lateral lines; termite/pest inspections; overall home inspections which include the roof, HVAC, plumbing, mold, etc. The inspectors and buyers are leaving no prisoners. With the prevalence of busy schedules, the idea of a new buyer performing repairs on a house, no matter how minor, is just not on their spectrum.
My oft repeated words are “knowledge is power”. The more you know about the condition of your home, the easier it will be to ward off hurt feelings and anger if a buyer sends you a request that might seem ridiculous. A DIY check-up can give you a head start on some of those minor fix-ups that will make your home more saleable. Here is a partial checklist
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The Top Things On the Mind of Potential Buyers
Sewer Lateral A sewer lateral is the underground pipe that connects a residence to a main sewer line. Most buyers will order a camera inspection as part of their inspection. The inspection looks for blockages, breaks in the line and tree roots. Sometimes the problem can be solved by cleaning the line. If there are major breaks, portions of the sewer lateral line may need replacement. The sewer is checked in both the yard and in the basement under the house. In the St Louis Metropolitan area, many municipalities have sewer lateral insurance. The coverage varies from municipality to municipality. There is usually a deductible and the insurance does not usually cover any breaks under the basement.
Radon Radon is a colorless and odorless natural radioactive gas that is produced by the breakdown of uranium in the earth’s crust. One in five homes in the state of Missouri is estimated to have elevated levels of radon.
Radon is considered a low level dose of radiation, where harm may occur over long exposure periods. Radon gas is likely to account for the greatest amount of radiation exposure, (55%), in a typical person’s lifetime, followed by CAT scans, (11%).
The EPA has established that a level higher than 4 pCi/L requires mitigation. Radon mitigation usually costs between $800 to $1200.
Termites and Pests St Louis has a lot of termites. Most likely the only termite you will see in your home is the termite swarmer also called an alate or reproductive. Subterranean termites in St. Louis and the Metro East live in the ground and build special protective mud tubes. Termites do not live in the home, but travel from the colony in the soil, to the food source. Termite Control methods include chemical barrier or liquid “treatments” and termite bait and monitoring systems. Pests in the attic are another issue. If you are hearing sounds from your attic or crawl space, have them checked. Removal can be long and frustrating.
MOLD What’s the saying “All that glitters is not gold”. Well all that looks like mold is not necessarily mold. Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Mold remediation experts can address the issue fairly easily. You just need to know it is there so you can bring them in to take care of the problem. Knowing that proper measures have been taken to clear up mold will make buyers much more comfortable.
General Home Inspection Home inspectors are looking for the safety, operation and condition of each component they inspect. Does the item pose any safety hazards directly or indirectly to inhabitants? Does it operate as the manufacturer intended? Is it in good condition? For a good explanation of what the building inspectors will be looking at, click here. Many sellers offer a one year home warranty as an incentive. Items available for coverage typically include: central air conditioning systems, central heating systems, kitchen appliances, clothes washer and dryer, plumbing system, electrical system and roof leaks. By choosing to offer a warranty at the inception of the listing, the seller is also covered for many of these items. Almost all warranties include a deductible. The cost is paid at the closing for most warranties.
Yes or No
In the past I have not been a strong proponent of pre-listing home Inspections. Part of the problem is that all home inspections are different and they can vary considerably. But as home prices continue to rise, buyers are expecting houses to be perfect. Not a possibility you say. But buyers are stressed, sellers are stressed. The shorter the list of imperfections, the better the possibility of a smooth closing.