If you are selling your home (or plan to sell it sometime down the road), you will want to take every measure possible to prepare for a home inspection. The more preventive measures you take to keep everything in your home in working order, the easier it will be to close on a sale when the time comes.
Of course, regular maintenance is key to keeping repair costs low, but if you are planning to put your home on the market soon, here are some common issues inspectors find that you should work to eliminate before a home inspection:
1. Anything that could cause water damage
Home inspection expert Rick Yerger told HGTV that a home's susceptibility to water damage is most homebuyers' No. 1 concern.
"Of the many homes I have inspected, water damage to the structure has been the most damaging and costly, causing foundation problems, rot and the dreaded mold," he explained.
One major safeguard against water damage is the roof, so if your roof has not been well-taken care of, now is the time to fix it up. Your roof guards your home, and if it has cracked or vulnerable to weather elements, water may easily be able to leak through into your home. In addition, most roofing materials have finite life spans, so it is possible yours might be nearing its end. Point2, a source for real estate marketing agents, said sellers shouldn't have to replace the roof if it still has a few years left - as long as it has been well-maintained of course.
Another indicator of potential water damage includes grading that slopes toward the house, which could cause rotting walls, water leaks in the basement and could even cause your foundation to shift. The National Association of Realtors said that to fix this issue, you must regrade your slopes so they are tilted away from your home by at least 10 feet. You should also remove any spongy material present around the home's foundation. NAR also said to make sure you keep your gutters clean or else water will not be properly carried away from the property.
If a house does seem like it has been a victim of water damage in the past, then it is also likely to have some rotten wood. Point2 explained that rotten wood can be found anywhere a home has been exposed to moisture, especially around the roof, the base of the home and window sills. If your home was built during the 1980s or 1990s, it is even more likely that the wood has rotted along your window sills, as the type of woodwork used during that time makes them extremely susceptible.
2. Weak ventilation and/or insulation
Without proper insulation, a home cannot retain heat. This causes energy bills to skyrocket. Buyers will not be happy if during a home inspection a home is found to not have adequate insulation, so make sure to keep your attic and walls well-insulated. Otherwise, heat will easily escape.
Point2 explained that good ventilation is key to preventing mold problems in a home. It is important for a home to have strong, evenly distributed airflow throughout the entire property. Some rooms, however, may be difficult to reach, like the basement, As long as the airflow is strong in most rooms, you should be alright.
NAR said signs your home might not be well-ventilated include vapor condensation and intense heat in the attic. To fix this issue, you may need to install more roof vents and make it so the vents in your bathroom and kitchen lead outside. In addition, it is important to make sure your roof soffits (the material connecting an overhang with the house) are not blocked.
3. Electrical problems
Exposed wires pose fire hazards, so make sure to take care of any of those before a home inspection. In addition, Yerger explained to HGTV that older houses generally have weaker electrical systems that are made even weaker by the number of extension cords snaking through the home due to a lack of sufficiently place outlets.
According to Point2, an older home may contain knob or tube wiring, which many lenders consider deal breakers when deciding whether to offer someone a home loan.
4. Poorly maintained heating and cooling systems
Your heating and cooling system should be checked regularly. NAR said home inspections may reveal cracked heat exchangers or water tanks, as well as risks of carbon monoxide leaks if the systems are not kept up. These are huge safety issues and it would be best to take care of them before a home inspection is completed. Point2 said the age of a system also matters, so if your system is too old it may need to be replaced.
Once issues are discovered during a home inspection, the seller and buyer will have an opportunity to negotiate who will cover which repair costs. While it is possible the buyer will be willing to take on some of the repairs himself, you will be able to glean more money from a home sale if you take care of major issues before it is time to sell.
In the end, if you keep your home well-maintained throughout the entire time you live there, you will avoid the need to make tons of costly last-minute repairs before a home inspection. Preventive measures are key to a healthy home.