What Sellers Can Expect From A Home Inspection

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. In New Orleans, home inspections are typically performed within 10-15 days from the date the contract was accepted and 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 to minimize 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.

home inspector General guidelines

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.

Exterior

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.

Interior

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.

Mechanical

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.

HVAC

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.

Attic

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.

Roof

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.

Electrical

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.

Plumbing

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.

goodbyeMost 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.

Related reading

Why Do A Pre-inspection When Selling Your New Orleans West Bank Home?

About Louisiana Property Disclosures

Need more information about selling your West Bank homeContact us for a confidential and complete market analysis or if you just need a little home selling advice.

 

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  1. If a seller is really worried about the inspection process, I recommend that the seller do the inspection his/herself. We do them for sellers to generate foot traffic to their homes by hosting the reports online.

    Advantages of selling a home that has been Move In Certified:

    The seller can choose a certified InterNACHI inspector to inspect the home properly before the buyer’s inspector arrives.
    The seller can schedule the inspections at the seller’s convenience.
    It might alert the seller of any items of immediate personal concern, such as radon gas or active termite infestation.
    The seller can assist the inspector during the inspection, something normally not done during a buyer’s inspection.
    The seller can have the inspector correct any misstatements in the inspection report before it is generated.
    The report can help the seller realistically price the home if problems exist.
    The report can help the seller substantiate a higher asking price if problems don’t exist or have been corrected.
    A seller inspection reveals problems ahead of time which:
    might make the home show better.
    gives the seller time to make repairs and shop for competitive contractors.
    permits the seller to attach repair estimates or paid invoices to the inspection report.
    removes over-inflated buyer procured estimates from the negotiation table.
    The report might alert the seller to any immediate safety issues found, before agents and visitors tour the home.
    The report provides a third-party, unbiased opinion to offer to potential buyers.
    A seller inspection permits a clean home inspection report hosted on http://www.FetchReport.com to be used as a marketing tool.
    Move In Certified yard signs attract potential buyers.
    A seller inspection is the ultimate gesture in forthrightness on the part of the seller.
    The report might relieve a prospective buyer’s unfounded suspicions, before they walk away.
    A seller inspection lightens negotiations and 11th-hour renegotiations.
    The report might encourage the buyer to waive the inspection contingency.
    The deal is less likely to fall apart the way they often do when a buyer’s inspection unexpectedly reveals a problem, last minute.
    The report provides full-disclosure protection from future legal claims.

    Nick Gromicko
    Founder
    InterNACHI
    (Non-profit, tax exempt inspection trade association)
    http://www.nachi.org

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