New Orleans home inspections
Agents spend a lot of time explaining the inspection process to home buyers, but too often the home seller has no idea what to expect once a contract is received and the inspection period starts. New Orleans home inspections are typically performed within 10-15 days from the date the contract was accepted. There can be a flurry of activity at your home depending on how and when they are scheduled. Personally, I always try to get all of the inspections done in a single day. This minimizes the time that the seller needs to be out of the house and the time that a buyer needs to take away from work and family.
After a conversation this week with a seller who wanted to know exactly what the inspectors would be looking at, I decided to put together a short list of items to answer that question.
The inspector should be able to easily access not only the interior of the home, but the attic and garage as well. They are not allowed to move things while doing the inspection, so it is incumbent on the seller to be sure that they are able to perform a thorough inspection or you may be asked to pay for their return trip if one is needed. Termite inspectors need to be able to access all of the bath traps as well, so if yours are in closets, be sure to clear a space for them.
The inspector will be looking at the entire exterior of the home, checking out the condition of the windows (do they open/close or have cracked panes), bricks/siding (is there any damage, cracking or rot), roof, and outside HVAC equipment.
There are many small things that go on during the home inspection, such as opening and closing doors and cabinets, reviewing the condition of counter tops, vanities and sinks and testing light fixtures. This part of the inspection is where many sellers think that the inspector is “nit picking”, but remember that his job is to inform the buyers of everything that he can about the house, from the obvious defects right down to the nicks in the walls from doorknobs.
Any appliances remaining with the home are tested if possible. This includes checking all stove burners and oven settings, along with running the dishwasher, disposal and any other appliances included in the sale.
Testing of the HVAC system includes physically inspecting the units and testing for the appropriate temperature change when the AC or heating is turned on. Since having the system cleaned and serviced is a recommendation on 99% of home inspection reports, sellers should consider having this done before putting the house on the market.
Methods of construction are noted by the inspector, along with any visible signs of previous repairs or repairs that may be needed due to water intrusion or termites. Additionally, they check for exposed wiring, the condition of the AC duct work and whether or not there is sufficient insulation in the attic and walls.
The decking of the roof is inspected from the attic and the condition of the shingles and flashing are inspected from the exterior. The inspector will note if the roof is installed properly, if there are any missing or damaged shingles and if there appear to be any potential problems that could cause leaks or other damage.
Outlets are tested to determine if they are “hot” and whether or not they are grounded. The circuit breaker box is also inspected to ensure that the appropriate amount of amps are being supplied to the house and to be sure that there is not a fire risk from overloaded breakers.
Tubs and sinks are filled and drained, toilets are flushed, and visible piping is inspected for leaks. If there seems to be a problem with drainage, the home inspector may recommend a separate inspection to perform a video of the underground plumbing to determine what the problem is.
My favorite home inspector provides a comprehensive report complete with photos, making it easy to understand what he is referencing in the report. Sellers should remember that the buyer has the right to walk away without any explanation if they are not happy with the results of the home inspection. This is where completely disclosing everything that has ever happened to the house becomes an issue. Oftentimes, the home inspector will find issues that the home owner knew about but did not disclose. This sets the stage for the buyer to become uneasy about the home and when buyers are uneasy they generally move on to another property.
Most buyers, however, will request repairs if they deem them necessary. All of these requests must be in writing and accompany a copy of the written inspection report. Sellers have 72 hours to respond (also in writing) and there are several options available. You can offer to correct all, some or even none of the items requested. Or, you can offer to renegotiate the selling price based on the home’s condition. Sometimes it is a combination of adjusting the sales price and making some repairs.
Remember…deals have been broken over inspection results! My usual advice to home sellers is that if this buyer is asking for a particular repair, then the next one more than likely will too. There are some issues that buyers just don’t want to deal with and a seller who is not willing to make repairs or lower the price of their home to account for those repairs may be in for an extended time on the market, not to mention the emotional ups and downs of thinking your home is sold and having a deal canceled.
Need more information about selling your New Orleans home? Contact us at 504-327-5303 for a confidential and complete market analysis or if you just need a little home selling advice.