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Home Inspection Red Flags for Sellers

3 Minute Read

With 2014 shaping up to be a sellers’ market, home buyers face limited choices these days. But that doesn’t mean they’re not sweating the details. According to the National Association of Realtors, even buyers looking for a bargain still pay close attention to a home’s condition before they make an offer.

After working so hard to attract buyers with a move-in-ready home, the last thing you want is to lose a sale because your home inspection turns up a red flag. So what’s a savvy seller to do?

Shawna Smith, a real estate Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) in Louisville, Kentucky, offers some simple suggestions for surviving the home inspection with your pride—and price—intact.


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Know What You’ve Got Before You Go to Market

Surprises are great—just not when they show up on a home inspection. That’s why Shawna says it’s a good idea to get your own pre-sale inspection before planting the for-sale sign out front, especially if your home is in questionable condition. A qualified inspector should perform a four-point inspection of the roof, HVAC, basic electrical and basic plumbing to avoid a lowball offer out of the gate.

“Make sure you keep good maintenance records on your mechanicals, plumbing and electrical repairs, and you know the condition of your roof,” Shawna says. “The seller does have to either disclose or repair any issues found during the pre-sale inspection, but it allows you to decide if you will price your home as-is or to make repairs to get it closer to market value.”

If your listing agent doesn’t offer a pre-inspection option, be prepared to deal with costly repairs or to lower the price if major issues are uncovered when the buyer conducts their inspection. You may find yourself having to wait until you can afford to fix the problem areas before your home can sell at the price you need to move on.

Know When to Fix Your Fixer-Upper

So how do you know which repairs are necessary to close the deal? The buyer’s appraiser may require certain improvements for the sale to go through based on the buyer’s loan and the value of your home. A seasoned real estate pro can help you make the call, but four key areas take priority.

“The electrical, plumbing, roof and HVAC should be in good working condition when a property is transferred,” Shawna says. “I always recommend hiring licensed professionals for these types of repairs so the buyers will feel confident about the condition of their new home.”

A major fix may feel out of reach if your money is tied up in equity, but you can still bring options to the table. Why not work with your agent to gather a few professional quotes for the repair and offer cash at closing or a discount on the sales price to cover the cost? Giving the buyer a choice is always a winning approach because they like having control over the outcome. It also shows you’re willing to meet them in the middle.

Know Who to Call for Advice

A less-than-perfect home inspection certainly complicates things. After all, it’s difficult to tell when a buyer is being reasonable or ridiculous. That’s why you need an experienced agent who can guide you through the rough patches and help you get top-dollar for your home.

Looking for a high-octane real estate agent who can get your home sold? Let us introduce you to one in your area.

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