Real Estate TipsSelling May 21, 2012

Get Your Westchester Home Inspected Before Listing it For Sale

One of the more stressful parts of the home sale process is the part where the seller and their agent “sweat it out” while the buyer completes their home inspection prior to contract signing. Often, this yields to a the buyer’s revisiting their “meeting of the minds” price and ask for a reduction in price or repairs to address the inspection findings. This causes no small amount of angst. It is also quite preventable.

Westchester County is filled with older homes, as the post-war baby boom yielded almost full development in many towns. We have almost no new construction. Older roofs, termite damage, outdated electric or heating systems and other signs of long term wear and tear are standard issue. Given this fact, the best way to avoid the home inspection blues is to get out ahead of the matter and do your own inspection prior to listing the home for sale.

For a fraction of the cost of addressing many repairs (typically just a few hundred dollars), the homeowner can know exactly what the latent issues are and address the needed repairs before the buyer can use them as bargaining leverage later. It also give the home seller peace of mind that an 11th hours surprise is extremely unlikely.

Whle the market is showing some signs of life this time of year, buyers have not shed their boldness. The most common statement I’ll hear from a buyer after an inspection is a variation of “If the seller has neglected the (roof, heat, driveway etc), how will we know if the rest of the place isn’t neglected?” Worse, some sellers will go the DIY route and do the duct tape thing as a stop gap repair and make matters worse.

The simple solution is to invest a small amount of money and time into your own pre-listing inspection and address the home’s issues on your own terms without the pressure of losing a buyer and quite possibly enhancing the home’s appeal. An inspection can help you find out if the water heater is about to go, if the circuit breaker panel has a double tap, and dozens of other smaller, potentially incendiary matters that are, in actuality, simple to fix. It goes without saying that more serious things can also be discovered and dealt with. The best part of it is that it puts you ahead of potential problems and more in control.