You own your home, and live in it, and know all of its small idiosyncrasies: the creaks in the stairs, the window that is hard to open and close, or the vent fan that sounds like a jet taking off. Now you’ve accepted an offer on that home. What should you expect from the buyers inspection at the beginning of the sale, as well as the inspection at the end of the sale?
Yes, there are two inspections, not one.
The first inspection is done by a home inspector. It looks at the functional mechanics and structural soundness of your home. These are the repairs that you should have made while you owned the home, or items that you did not even know were issues. Before you put your home on the market, you should obtain your own home inspection, so you know what to expect from the buyers inspection. You can then head off most issues or can determine the cost of repairs–both without the pressure to accept a price reduction or lose your sale.
In addition, the buyer’s inspector will be sure to point out a couple of items that have nothing to do with function or repairs. They will suggest that your heating system be serviced (or replaced) depending on the age of the furnace, that your hot water tank be replaced (unless it is less than 5 years old), that the dryer vent be cleaned out, and that all of your roof is cleaned and the gutters cleaned out. Over the past five years, more than 75% of the inspections on my listings or sales have requested most if not all of these items.
The second inspection is the one that surprises most sellers and that often creates more hard feelings and upset for both buyers and sellers. Buyers have the right–and should exercise the opportunity–to inspect the home just prior to closing of the sale to make sure everything is basically the same as when they wrote the offer. (Note: If there were repairs required by the home inspector or the appraiser, these would already have been inspected.)
Here are some of the issues I have seen which cause arguments between buyers and sellers (and their agents) from this final inspection:
1. Leaving the home dirty.
2. Nail holes–or worse, large holes–in walls where pictures were hung.
3. Mixed wall colors, where the seller tried to paint over damage and used different paint.
4. Carpets made dirty from people going in and out of the home to move items.
5. Damage to walls, corners, or stairs from movers banging into them.
6. Leftover food from move-out night, such as pizza, causing stains on floors and carpets.
7. Garbage, tools, or personal items left in the garage, crawl space, storage shed, or attic.
8. Light fixtures, curtain rods, or other attached items removed that were not disclosed as part of the sale.
9. Shrubs, trees, or flowers removed without agreement.
10. Yards or fences damaged from moving out.
11. Not leaving garage door openers, or keys to all doors or mail box.
The last week before closing can be a stressful process of arranging and scheduling people and activities. We have a moving checklist that can help people, plus a website, moving made easy, that will help both buyers and sellers with the process. In addition, we suggest that sellers schedule a cleaning company and handyman to make the home ready for the buyer. While this is a little extra cost, it is so worth the stress reduction and goodwill.
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