Whether you are buying or selling, a home inspection is the first big hurdle after an offer is accepted. A home inspection is a non-destructive examination of a home or dwelling, preformed for a fee, which is designed to identify observed material and functional defects within specific areas of the home.
This week we partnered with Scott Guidry, owner of Paragon Inspections, to get great tips and advice on how sellers can prepare for a home inspection as well as for home owners to continue to keep their home running in tip top shape. Scott is one of the best in the business, not only is he owner of the company but also a real estate agent right here at Pennant Real Estate.
Buying a home is usually one of the biggest investments you will ever make in your life. Knowing that the home you are purchasing is a good investment, is the top priority for any buyer. When an inspector writes the report on a home, the information and wording is often daunting and overwhelming for a buyer. From the inspectors perspective, they are required to document deficiencies and suggested remedies with the worse case scenario in mind. For example, if a light fixture is not working properly, the inspector will document it as a possible electrical issue and suggest a licensed electrician evaluate it. This could be as simple as changing the light bulb but the inspector has no way of knowing that and neither does the buyer. This little thing could easily go from a $5 fix to a $100 fix if the buyer request the repair based on the inspectors recommendation.
In no way is the inspector’s purpose to help the buyer get a better deal on the home. However, the inspector is hired directly by the buyer so their best interest will be in that of their client. Not only can these little things add up when repairs are requested by a buyer but they can also cause deals to fall through. Louisiana Real Estate Law states that buyers are able to walk away from a real estate transaction free and clear at any point during the inspection period. So if you are selling your home and the inspection report has a lot of little items it could potentially scare away a buyer just as easily as larger items such as foundation and roof problems.
Watch the video above for the complete explanation and tips from the local expect, Scott Guidry with Paragon Inspections. Here are a few items that are discussed in the video starting with the exterior of the home and working the way inside the home.
Main electrical wire coming into the home
With so many beautiful trees in Louisiana, it is very common for them to grow and spread into the electrical wiring running directly into the home. This may not be something that you can take care of on your own but addressing it prior to the home inspection will definitely give peace of mind to the buyer.
Exterior AC unit
An inspector is only noting external defects and deterioration of the unit. Meaning, they will not open it up or take anything apart. (Remember, a home inspection is a “non-destructive” view of the home.) One of the first things they will look at is the foam insulation sleeve protecting the pipes that connect the exterior unit to the interior component in the attic. The foam sleeve protects against moisture and energy loss. If the sleeve has visible cracks or extreme wear and tear it will need to be replaced. Though this is a really inexpensive and simple fix, anytime something is noted regarding the air conditioner it puts up a red flag in a buyers mind.
Another recommendation that is usually always addressed on the home inspection is to have a licensed technician service the unit and have it properly cleaned. (This is something that a home owner should be doing on a yearly basis.) Again, not something that you maybe able to do on your own but addressing it prior to the inspection and eliminating the unnecessary note will leave the buyer feeling more confidant in purchasing the home.
The dryer vent covers
This is a major cause of concern and if not properly maintained can cause house fires. Something real easy to do is periodically check it to make sure it is clean and there isn’t anything clogged in it or blocking the air flow.
Vegetation and landscaping
It is beautiful and definitely adds to the appeal and overall feel of a home but if not placed a safe distance from the home can cause major issues. With all the rain and moisture in south Louisiana, vegetation and landscaping stays pretty wet and moist year-round. This moisture can deteriorate your siding and be a breeding ground for pest and inspects to enter your home. It is always recommended to keep a clear path along the exterior of the home and place plants and other landscaping away from the exterior structure.
Decking and other wood structures
Home inspectors will not inspect the home for termites. That is a different inspection preformed that is called a WDIR or wood destroying insect report. It is definitely recommended that you get one for your home and to have your home under contract with a pest control company to be routinely treated for termites and other pest. The Louisiana climate is perfect for termites and they can cause serious damage if gone unnoticed and untreated.
A home inspector will however look for potential problems or areas that could become problems. The biggest potential issue for wood destroying insects is wood directly touching the ground which is common in decking. A great recommendation is to keep the wood painted. That will be your first line of defense against weathering and wood destroying insects.
Wasp and other active nest
This isn’t any indication of the structural soundness or function of the home but could definitely leave a bad taste in the buyers mouth. It may also leave the impression that the home owner doesn’t do a great job of maintaining the home. It is also never good for the home inspector to get stung during the inspection either!
Lights and light fixtures
First thing most inspectors do when entering a home is turing on all of the lights. Since an inspector doesn’t carry around light bulbs, any light or fixture that doesn’t turn on is noted as a possible electrical issue. As rare as that case maybe, the inspector has not way of knowing for certain and must protect themselves as well as the buyer. Avoid the headache later and go ahead and change out all the light bulbs and ensure all fixtures are operating properly prior to the inspection. (We encourage our clients to have this done immediately when listing their home. A nice bright home is always more appealing than a dim and gloomy one. This will not only help the home inspector but also help your house get sold!)
The home inspector will always run all the kitchen appliances to ensure they are in proper working order. These are things that you probably use on a daily basis so it can easily be over looked when doing home maintenance. It is good practice to just check these items to ensure they are functioning properly just before an inspection. A common note from an inspector is the stove burners. It isn’t often that you use all of them at once or you may only ever use one or two of them. Be sure to check that all burners heat up prior to selling your home. Another common area overlooked is the range lights. If you don’t use them often you may not know that the bulb is burnt out. Simply checking all of these items can make your home more appealing and not create any issues during the inspection process.
This is another area where simple fixes can become extremely costly if not addressed prior to an inspection. The home inspector will ensure all plumbing is functioning properly. It is as simple as turing the water on and checking for leaks. Be sure to inspect around the actual faucet as well as opening up the cabinet and checking for any leaks from the piping. Often times leaks can be remedied by tightening of loosening the area and it will stop the leak. The same principle applies to all toilets, tubs and showers in the home.
AC return air vent
If it looks dirty (or even if it doesn’t) change the filter before the inspection. The inspector will take temperatures on the AC system and a dirty filter can effect those readings. In the eye’s of a buyer this could be an indication of larger issues and deter them from buying the home. A great way to elevate any misconceptions is to simply put a new filter in. (We recommend home owners change the AC filter every month. You don’t need to buy the most expensive, the mid-range options work just fine!)
Door knobs and electrical cover plates
These are not major issues at all. However, a home inspector will have to note any loose door knobs or handles as well as any loose, cracked or missing electrical cover plates. Simply tighten or replace these little things to help keep that inspection report as clean as possible. Definitely not a deal breaker on a home but combined with a major issue or a lot of little ones it can create an overall negative view of the home.
Whether you are preparing to sell your home or just doing your due diligence as a home owner, these are all great tips for maintenance on your home. A home is one of the biggest investments you will make, be sure that you are also investing in your home long after the purchase.
When you choose a Pennant Realtor to list your home, we have this knowledge and understanding of how a buyers mind works so we guide you in taking the best steps to sell your home. Peace of mind is key, and helping you do the things necessary to help you sell your home for top dollar and fast is what we are here for as your realtor. It is nearly impossible to eliminate everything that will come up on an inspection but if you can avoid the little things it goes a long way.
If you have any questions about home inspections, selling your home or general home maintenance we would love to help you in any way that we can. Our goal is to educate you so that you can be better equipped in any real estate transaction! Thanks for taking the time to visit our blog. Call us with any of your real estate needs at 225-663-2112.