Will Your Home Pass the Inspection?

From on July 07, 2009 in General

elementconstruction.jpgPhoto credit: Element Construction

So you listed your home for sale and received a fair offer – great. But now it’s time to book all the inspections and hopefully pass with flying colors. And, with any luck, the buyer’s offer will align with the value on the appraisal report.

I wish it could be that easy. List your home, get your asking price, appraisal comes back perfect, and the inspection reports come back with an A+. But, in the real world it usually doesn’t turn out this way and discoveries made during the inspection process could cost you the sale or delay the escrow period.

The Inspections

  • Chimney inspection
  • Pest inspection
  • Roof inspection
  • General inspection

A chimney inspection can reveal cracks that need repairing or something as small as adding or replacing a chimney cap or screen.

Pest inspections can reveal termite damage, dry rot and mold. If your home has any of these issues, you can expect to pay thousands in repair costs and perhaps need a $2,000 to $3,000 fumigation tent. You could lose your buyer over any of these issues for fear of future problems.

Roof inspections will reveal damage from water, missing shingles, or it could suggest you replace the entire roof. Depending on the materials you use, a roof replacement can run between $10,000 (very low end) to $30,000 on a typical 1,600 square foot home.

General inspections are where tons of little things add up to cost a small fortune, especially if you’ve had work done without a permit. I recently bought a home and the repair work on the general inspection report came out to $3,500. The fence needed new posts, all the electrical wiring was reversed, there were areas of exposed exterior wiring, etc. In total, the seller’s out-of-pocket expense for all the repairs came to $10,300. That’s a chunk of change.

outsidehome.jpgPhoto credit: Element Construction

Things You Should Do Before You List Your Home

If your roof is older than five years, get a roof inspection and make any recommended repairs.

Get a chimney inspection and make any necessary repairs.

If you skip the roof and chimney inspection because you’re too busy to make that call, don’t skimp on the pest inspection. There’s a 50/50 chance the buyer will back out of the deal if there’s any evidence of termite damage, mold, or dry rot. The pest inspection is a few hundred dollars, which you’ll pay for twice – pre listing and during escrow, but worth the money. Make all necessary repairs – you’ll need to make these repairs anyway so do the job before you list your home.

Don’t hold back on the general inspection either. A buyer will think you did not take care of your home if there are pages and pages of recommended repairs. I know firsthand because I almost walked away from the house I was buying. The only reason I didn’t walk was because I love the area and the price was right.

The general inspection costs typically run $275 to $350 for an average 1,800 square foot house. In most cases the buyer pays for the house inspection so you won’t have to pay this fee twice (as in pre listing and during escrow.) Do the repairs yourself or hire a contractor – here again you’ll need to do the repairs anyway so do them before you list your home.

It’s Easier than It Seems

There’s an easy way to get all this accomplished. Pick up the phone and call a realtor. They are a great source of information because they usually work with one or two favorites, per inspection type, who are reliable and efficient. Get their contact information and book those inspections. After the inspections, call one of our licensed, pre-screened CalFinder contractors to do the repair work.