If you are selling your home it is very important that you understand how important various home inspections are.
If you are planning on selling your home, you can count on a qualified buyer spending money out of their own pocket to have an independent third party conduct a home inspection. This is a virtual certainty in today’s market. For a seller, this can be an extremely stressful time. Let’s face it, as sellers we all think our home is just fine. We’ve live there a long time and often overlook small seemingly insignificant things as we go about our lives. However, you can count on a home inspector to find just about everything wrong with your home. They will generate a report often 40 pages in length with pictures to document their discoveries. Often times this is where a seller can become insulted and frustrated and a buyer can begin to have second thoughts. Having a strategy in place and remaining calm is very important.
That’s not all…in addition to a home inspection, your local municipality may also require very specific inspections on things like chimney, fire places, septic systems, smoke detectors, carbon detectors, building permits for work that was done on your home, sidewalks and more. So, getting an understanding of what the process is and how to prepare for it is very important. Townships call these mandatory inspections either their Certificate of Occupancy or Use and Occupancy inspections. There is always a fee to the local township for filing the paperwork and for their inspector to come out. Â Sellers will usually receive a list of items that the township will inspect. Often these items are safety related items, but understand that not all township requirements will be listed on their list of requirements. This can be a frustrating time. Items identified in these local township inspections are mandatory and must be addressed and corrected in order to have a house settlement. If the seller does not get a clear Certificate of Occupancy, then settlement may not happen. Lastly, in addition to the township certificate of occupancy requirements, many townships also require an inspection by the local fire marshal, who will check for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and the placement of fire extinguishers. Again, every township is different so you will want to check your local requirements.
This is part of a continuing series of articles by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers, who service Pennsylvania and New Jersey and specialize in real estate, property management, home content downsizing and estate sale services. These tips and insights are especially important and true in the environment we are in today, with the global economy turned upside down, massive job losses, and the need for extreme social distancing due to the Corona Virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.
Selling a home can be a stressful experience for most homeowners. When it comes to home inspections, most homeowners are not used to having a stranger peer into their attic, open every cupboard and closet or test every appliance. For some, this stress can turn into a major nightmare.
While most sellers look at inspectors as the bearers of only bad news, there are some positive factors. Often times, in today’s market, sellers contract with a home inspector to conduct an audit prior to putting their house on the market. Home Inspectors can give sellers the opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition. Home inspections can ensure a smooth transaction and assist sellers in receiving the asking price. Maintaining your cool, as a seller is a must. Please remember that most Real Estate transactions can be emotional between buyer and seller. It is very important that both buyer and seller have an open mind and be amenable to compromise. We can tell you that if both parties are not flexible and reasonable when reviewing the home inspection and the township certificate of occupancy reports that is will be unlikely that the transaction will go forward. All properties no matter how old or new they are will inevitability have things come up that will need to be addressed or negotiated by the buyer and the seller. It is very important that both parties understand that. Â Nothing in the reports should be taken personally. Some things are safety related issues and some things in the reports are things that are broken or defective, all parties should be open minded for a deal to be completed.
Here are three tips for navigating the home inspection process:
1. Be prepared for the inevitable.
When the home inspector comes through and begins pointing out flaws, many homeowners take the comments personally. This is why it’s important to make sure that your house is ready for inspection. Before the inspection process, it can be helpful to do a walk-through of the home yourself and note potential issues. By taking a really hard look at your home prior to putting it on the market will reduce the shock when the inspector points them out, and it will give them the opportunity to fix it preemptively.
2. Be proactive.
Before the inspector arrives, as a seller, you will want to decide if you want to be in the house during the inspection. You can count on the buyers being present during the inspection, which can take several hours. It can be very helpful for a seller to be prepared to answer questions that the inspector may have such as repairs, stains, leaks and other commonly asked buyer and inspector questions. This can help alleviate any tense or awkward moments.
3. Remain calm and focus on your goal.
When the time comes for the actual inspection process, sellers should be reminded that the home inspector is simply doing his or her job. It is important for all parties to remember this especially when the inspector comments on the improper installation of their favorite fixture. If the buyers are present during the inspection it is very important for the sellers to understand that often times the home inspection, with all the emotions that may be associated with it can terminate a deal. Every seller thinks their house is a castle and every buyer wants price concessions or repairs made by the seller for often even the smallest home inspection identified issues. This is often where deals blow up. Buyers an sellers have a meeting of the mind relative to price and conditions but inspections can and often do throw a monkey wrench in things. Keeping a level head and being open minded to negotiations from buyer and seller is important as this is often the home stretch in getting a reasonable real estate transaction done. Both parties need to understand the importance of giving and taking. It is important for sellers to take the emotion out of the situation. Sellers should be reminded to keep their eye on the bigger picture, which is their goal of selling their home in the first place and getting the best return on their investment and finding a new home.
Lastly, sellers should be made aware that a home inspection is just the first step. Often times, as noted earlier, local townships also require a certificate of occupancy inspection. C of O inspections often focus on safety issues ranging from sidewalks, steps, railings, smoke detectors, carbon detectors, septic tanks, chimney, heating ventilation systems, and will also check to see if proper permits were taken out for work done on the house. If a buyer is financing the purchase with an FHA or VA mortgage there will be additional inspections, so having a sellers house in order is critical for any deal to move forward towards settlement. Additionally, FHA and VA backed mortgages require the seller make the necessary repairs to a home prior to mortgage approval and settlement.
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For more information on real estate or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with EveryHome Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.