For most people, buying or selling their home represents the biggest financial transactions they'll make in their lifetime. If you're a homeowner currently looking to sell, how can you ensure you get the best possible price for your biggest asset? Arranging a home inspection report is one of the most important steps to take, and here's why.
A home inspection is a thorough examination of a dwelling, focusing on its structure, its level of upkeep, and its overall physical readiness for a sale. It's carried out by a qualified home inspector, who goes through the building looking for faults or defects, and then writing up their findings in a report delivered a few days later.
Most often, an inspection report is arranged by a potential buyer to reassure themselves that the home they're buying is sound. However, there are several excellent advantages gained by a homeseller arranging their own independent inspection.
Although they're closely linked, a home inspection isn't the same as an appraisal. Home inspections focus solely on the physical aspects of a property, from the structure to the electrics to the plumbing. The inspector will take a careful look throughout your home to produce a detailed room-by-room report.
In contrast, a home appraisal takes a more cursory look at the structure, looking mostly for major faults or issues which could make the property a risk to the mortgage company. Appraisals also look at other factors which influence a home's value, such as neighborhood, local schools, and so on. None of these external factors are covered by a home inspection.
Arranging a home inspection may seem like an unnecessary expense for a seller, especially seeing as nearly all buyers will arrange and pay for their own. However, an inspection is an investment that can mean a home sells for a much better price, and with fewer delays and hassles.
An experienced home inspector will provide fresh eyes to take an impartial look at your home and what it offers to potential buyers. They'll point out areas where your home needs some attention before listing, smoothing the process of a sale once you start holding viewings and inviting offers. A detailed report can help you in several ways.
• When you're selling a home, the little things can quickly add up when it comes to making a strong first impression on a potential buyer. If many repairs are needed it can be very off-putting, even if the overall cost wouldn't be too high. A viewer who notices obvious defects will suspect there could be other issues lying in wait, and this will reduce the price they're willing to pay or even make them back out altogether.
• A thorough home inspection will flag up both major and minor issues which you may have been unaware of, giving you chance to fix them before they start turning off buyers.
• The expense of fixing all the small niggles and faults will usually be low compared to the costs of delaying a sale or being forced into accepting a reduced price.
• However, an inspection report isn't only about identifying the negative aspects of your home. If you've recently had the electrical system rewired, for example, or upgraded the roof, then this work will show up in a report as a positive.
• Highlighting these assets can put a solid foundation under the price you're asking, and work as a strong selling point in your favor.
• In a competitive market, any edge you can get as a seller could make a vital difference. Advertising that your property already has an inspection report shows that you have confidence in its quality and condition, helping to attract more viewers and therefore a better chance of a high sale price.
• For all these reasons, ordering a home inspection report can greatly help you increase your property value before selling.
But it's not only identifying repairs which can boost your home's value. An inspection report may comment on the overall standard of a home's facilities and fittings, and may identify areas where a few home improvements could significantly add to your home's desirability.
However, not all improvements are guaranteed to add value. If your aim is purely to achieve a better selling price rather than to enjoy the improvements for yourself, here are a few thoughts to bear in mind.
• For many buyers, the kitchen is the most important room in a home. If your kitchen is particularly outdated, a remodel to upgrade the appliances and replace the cabinets will be an expensive project.
• Average figures show that a typical mid-range remodel will only recoup around 60% of spending when it comes to a resale. However, it could be the key to unlocking a sale if an old-fashioned, ill-equipped kitchen is a major stumbling block.
• Less expensively, replacing the countertops will make an immediate impact on the impression your kitchen creates, and a fresh coat of paint or stain on the cabinets can give a useful lift without the cost and disruption of a full remodel.
• A full bathroom remodel is a project that's unlikely to boost your home's value enough to recoup its costs, generally only repaying around 60-70% of the expense. However, an attractive bathroom is vital for helping a sale, and there's plenty you can do to upgrade it without going as far as remodeling.
• For example, replacing your vanity countertops with an upscale material such as marble or granite can add a strong edge of quality to the room, particularly if your current vanity is looking a little old and worn.
• Likewise, installing decorative new faucets and fittings helps improve looks without costing a fortune, while replacing the caulk between tiles can give a fresh new appearance. All these things can combine to make your bathroom much more attractive to a buyer.
• Giving your home a fresh coat of paint both inside and out is one of the most cost-effective ways of improving its appearance. Not only does it remove dirt and mold, it also covers up minor cracks and damage. The overall effect is to make your home look well-cared for and conscientiously maintained, increasing its appeal enormously.
• A comfortable and attractive outdoor living space is a highly desirable feature for most buyers. Installing or upgrading a deck, patio, or porch is one of the few major home improvements that can repay most of its cost, with a well-planned deck installation earning back 80% or more in resale value.
• However, be wary of more upscale outdoor additions such as a hot tub or pool. These features require maintenance and create safety concerns, and are usually active deterrents for people who aren't specifically looking for them.
• Unless there's an existing problem, adding a new roof won't necessarily give a boost to the price your home will attract. However, it's almost certain to improve the chances of a quicker sale.
• Potential buyers will be reassured that a recently replaced roof is unlikely to need major repairs for several years at least, removing the prospect of expensive and disruptive work on top of the hassle of moving into a new home.
• But of course, if the roof has any defects, then replacement or repair is an essential unless you're selling your home as a 'fixer upper'.
• Lastly, upgrading your lighting can transform the feel of a room for only a few tens of dollars. Contemporary fittings can make a room appear fresher and more modern, even if little else is changed. Similarly, an ornate fitting above a dining table can be a centerpiece that really grabs attention.
• Carefully planned lighting in a kitchen, such as under-cabinet strips and spots, can turn an ordinary room into a space that's much more impressive. And perhaps most importantly, upgrading the lighting in your entryway or foyer will make a stronger impression right from the start of a viewing.
• When you list your home, it's vital to present it at its best to every single viewer. Arranging your own home inspection report will give you a solid picture of what needs fixing or upgrading, providing a starting point to build your improvements and staging around. If you want to sell your home quicker and for a better price, arranging a home inspection is the ideal start.