Getting ready to sell your DC House and Preparing for the Home Inspection
Average Buyers in the Washington DC area prefer to have a home inspection before they go to the closing table. Federal law leaves regulation of home inspections to the individual states. Washington DC does not require one be done but many home buyers will make their offer contingent on one taking place; and home inspections are highly recommended to buyers regardless of the law. Either way, plan for a home inspection to be part of your real estate transaction and you should do your best to have your house prepared for one.
Preparing your home for inspection will not only present your property in its best condition, but will also help to prevent any delays during closing due to incomplete or repeated inspections.. Attending to the items listed below should make for a smooth and easy sale of your Washington DC house.
– Make repairs ahead of time.
Even minor issues can cause your property to be seen in a less favorable light. Fix the little things like handles, knobs and faucets, blown light bulbs. Repair major defects (like roofs), Plumbing, HVAC and be straightforward about them and adjust the asking price because you’re only hurting yourself in the end.
– Thoroughly clean the house.
While, one would assume that this is a given, but cleaning the house is often overlooked before an inspection. An unkempt house gives the impression of neglectful homeowners. Also, new buyers may even accompany the inspector and will feel the same way; they may possibly rethink their offer and find the property less appealing than they originally envisioned.
– Be on time…actually be early
A home inspection can take as long as three hours. Often times an inspection at another house may not have taken the entire allotted time and inspectors end up showing up to your house early. A good rule of thumb is to be ready thirty minutes to an hour before the appointment time. Also remember that inspectors will often times start examining the outside of the house and they may be at your property without your knowing they are there.
– Leave A Set Of Keys.
Leave keys to all locked utility boxes and doors. Having a locked door or utility box is a common reason for incomplete inspections and delays. Arrange a place for the inspector to find the keys, or provide them ahead of time.
– Keep Utilities On
If the property is unoccupied, be sure all utilities–electricity, gas, oil, water–are on so the inspector can run them. The home inspector will need to test heating and cooling systems, plumbing, appliances, faucets, electrical systems and more. Without utilities, these required testing cannot be done and will result in an incomplete inspection.
– Keep pilot lights lit.
For safety and liability reasons, home inspectors will not light pilot lights on stoves, furnaces and water heaters. When pilot lights are not lit, inspections are rendered incomplete and as mentioned above…it will cause delays..
– Remove Contents from the Appliances.
Dishwashers and washing machines are subject to the home inspection and will be run. Even if that appliance is not included in the sale, inspectors will run your machine to ensure that the plumbing, venting and electrical supplies are in working order.
– Clear exterior clutter and debris.
Foundations, outside electrical outlets and faucets are a few of the items inspectors will want to see outside. Remove trash cans, trim branches and brush, dispose of dead limbs and clear an accessible path around the home, especially in winter. Again, the inspection will be easier. You will also improve the overall appearance of your house.
– Keep All Receipts (Like your Mother told you)
Keep all receipts and invoices for anything you have had fixed in the home. This shows proof of upkeep and answers many questions the inspector may have.
– Remove pets.
If possible, do not have your pets around. At the very least, secure animals in crates, kennels or leads far away from any area where the inspector will be. Avoid an incomplete inspection, pet loss or liability resulting from pets.
Plan to leave for at least two to three hours. This includes you, the kids and anyone else living in the house. Buyers often come with the inspectors and both will want uninhibited, free access to speak without offending anyone and explore the home.
Now while the list above is no an exhaustive list of what needs to get done in preparation of a home inspection, it will get you going on the right track.