Selling a home is a complicated and often stressful process. There is a great deal of uncertainty involved, often right up until the exchange of contracts. One of the trickiest parts of selling a home is preparing it for an inspection. Anyone buying a property will employ a professional to inspect the home as a matter of course. The inspection will be extremely thorough, and will usually find multiple flaws, most of them easy and inexpensive to fix. And while only around 2% of property sales are completely derailed by disastrous inspections, there are still some key areas which, if not up to scratch, can make the whole process unravel. Therefore, it is well worth identifying and addressing these crucial areas, preferably before you even list your property on the market. Let’s look at the serious problems that could doom your sale.
Inspectors are there to assess and evaluate everything they find, positively or negatively. One key area that needs to be taken very seriously is structural integrity. If your home has been built badly, or is very old, the foundations may have started to become compromised as water in the surrounding soil increases and depletes. This can lead to cracks which can let more water into the structure. There are some tell tale signs that your home may be suffering structural damage. If you have cracks by doors and on basement walls, uneven or bouncy floors, leaning staircases and chimneys, or nails popping out of walls, it may be wise to call for a professional assessment. Structural damage is not always cheap to fix, but if it remains unattended it will worsen, and will likely put off any potential buyers.
Problems with plumbing are not always cheap to fix, so this is another critical area of the inspection process. Call a professional plumber to assess your home before you list it, to identify big and small problem areas. Even if you have minor problems such as leaking faucets or running toilets, these can be extremely costly month on month, and could be symptomatic of a bigger underlying problem. Have your valves updated and replaced. Check for broken or leaking pipes, a clogged sewer line or a broken thermostat. Get the water pressure tested. All of these issues are fixable, and will keep your property sale on track.
As you can see, water is your home’s worst enemy. Water damage is, at best, unsightly, and at worst extremely dangerous. Water can affect the structural integrity of your home, and needs to be tackled with urgency. It can leave unattractive stains on walls and ceilings. It can cause mold, which can be toxic to humans, and can be costly to remove. Most of all, it puts up a big, red flag to any potential buyers, and can derail your sale.
Issues with the electrical systems of homes accounts for a worrying percentage of house fires per year, so it is no surprise that with so much at stake, having a modern, well functioning and safe setup is high on an inspector’s list. Once again, the rewiring of a property by a licensed professional can be very costly, but is necessary work in order to sell your home. Once major problems have been identified it is essential to have the work done, nothing will put off a buyer more than the thought that they may be putting their family’s safety at risk. Smaller problems that home inspectors frown upon include dodgy wiring – exposed wires or those going around sharp corners. Reversed polarity, undergrounded three prong plugs, aluminium wiring – these are all red flags for an inspector, so get an electrician on the case before you list.
Carpenter ants, termites and other wood destroying insects can cause significant damage to your property, and need to be exterminated so that the damage can be assessed and repaired prior to sale. Rodents can be a huge issue – capable of reproducing incredibly quickly, carrying disease and difficult to eradicate. They can also chew through wires, leaving your property unsafe. This can lead to repairs that can spiral into the tens of thousands. Get rid of the pests and get the damage sorted, or else you’ll put off your buyers.
Almost all homes will incur a long list of problems during a home inspection. Happily, most of these will be easy fixes, but get the professionals in, check out the fundamentals to save yourself time, money and stress before you sell.