Aviva is the Managing Broker of Sonenreich & Co, a third-generation commercial real estate broker, owner and investor in Denver, Colorado.
In such a hot real estate market as we’re experiencing today, many buyers are passing on property inspections, attempting to win the bidding wars incited by the current inventory crisis. But the inspection is still one of the most critical stages in the process of buying and selling property. Let’s be realistic: Properties deteriorate over time. Professional property inspections dig deep into the features of a building and can often lead to unexpected results.
Sellers can and should protect themselves so that during the inspection there are fewer surprises on the back end. With some basic knowledge of dealing with inspections and property maintenance, you can easily maneuver your way through the inspection and ultimately maximize your property’s returns.
1. Check for major issues in the property before inspection.
The first thing you should focus on is finding if the property has any major issues. These might include structural issues, problems with electrical or sewer systems, or mold or termite infestations. Each factor can drastically reduce the price of your property, or worse, kill a deal. Ensure that you know the ins and outs of your property before you put it on the market to ensure a profitable sale.
2. Get professional help from your real estate agent.
If you are not experienced in property sales and inspections, get help from your trusted real estate broker to assess the true condition of your property. Remember that real estate agents have experience selling properties and can ensure a level of experience that will be of value to you.
3. Make a checklist of different property features and their condition.
It is always helpful to make a checklist of the various features of your property that might be of interest to the inspector. Some of these features include grounds, structure, roof, exterior, windows, doors, the kitchen, bathrooms, plumbing and electrical. Write them down and mention their condition. Also, write down the repairs required. It will help you get things done in an organized manner and save you money in the long run.
4. Don’t ignore the minor issues.
While most of the time minor issues can easily be addressed, do not ignore them before your inspection. Minor issues can include HVAC units, garage doors, doors, lights, walls with cracked or flaked paint, minor exterior maintenance, outdated appliances and worn subtleties. These are not deal-breakers, but it helps significantly to update your minor issues before selling your property. While they don’t usually result in a major devaluation of the property, it is always better to be prepared for the worst. Some buyers get so stuck on small things that they cannot see the bigger picture. Avoid that problem before it presents itself.
5. Clean the property before inspection.
Cleaning your property before an inspection is a must. The inspectors will be looking beyond the superficial sparkle of a clean property, but a clean building is easier to sell at a more favorable price than a dirty one.
6. De-clutter the property before inspection.
It’s important to de-clutter your property before an inspection. Make sure that that the inspectors have easy access to attics, basements and electrical panels. Make sure all systems are turned on to ensure a seamless inspection.
7. Make sure the property is in 100% operational condition.
Make sure that all the utilities including gas, water and electricity are turned on. You should also provide the inspector with remote controls for different equipment including lights, fans and HVAC systems.
8. Allow the property inspector and buyer the necessary time for inspection.
It can take anywhere between one to four hours for the complete inspection of your property, depending upon its size. Allow the property inspector and potential buyer the necessary time for inspection. Don’t try to rush them.
9. Leave the property.
It’s a good idea to leave the property during the inspection. This gives the inspector and the buyer the privacy they need to look at things from their perspective. While you might think that your presence will ease things, it can prove to be a hindrance to the inspector. Think of it as if you were buying the property: Wouldn’t you like the luxury of interrupted access during your inspection? Your buyer would too. It goes a long way.
10. Don’t try to hide any issues.
This is simple: Do not ever try to hide issues. They will be found — if not by the inspector, then by the buyer. When you fill out your seller property disclosure form, you must disclose all known issues. When you sign the document, this becomes your liability. It is always in your favor to do the right thing. When you do the right thing, you always win.
The reality of the situation is that property inspectors are experienced professionals who have been through the motions before. Chances are if you behave suspiciously, they will know. You will also lose valuable trust with your inspector and buyer.
Property inspections can be quite nerve-wracking, especially for inexperienced sellers. If you follow the tips mentioned above, you can get through the entire process with ease.