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A Pre-Sale Inspection Gives the Home Seller a Competitive Edge

By Dan Bowers, CRI, NAHI Member, Holmes Inspection Co., Shawnee Mission, KS

Most real estate agents will agree that a house in good physical condition is more likely to sell, and command a higher price, than one that needs a great deal of repair. Yet according to home inspection experts, approximately half of the resale homes on the market today have at least one significant defect, and just about all homes need some type of maintenance or repair work.

“Correcting these problems early, not only makes the property more attractive and desirable, it also simplifies the negotiation process when the time comes for the buyer’s pre-purchase home inspection,” says Dan Bowers, CRI. Bowers is the Senior NAHI Member in Kansas City and the owner of Kansas City’s leading Home Inspection Company (Holmes Inspection Co). “A favorable home inspection report not only confirms the buyer’s good feelings about the home, but helps to expedite the sale.”

To identify the components or systems that are most in need of repair, many smart Realtors and sellers will hire a Professional Home Inspector before putting up the for sale sign. The person best qualified to do this is an experienced and professional NAHI Home Inspector.

According to Dan Bowers, CRI and education director for the Heartland NAHI Chapter in Kansas and Missouri, a homebuyer’s primary concern is the condition of the home’s basic structure, the roof coverings, and the major electrical and mechanical systems. Most buyers, particularly when there is a large selection of homes to choose from, consider only those homes which do not require a great deal of time and money to repair.

The best items for a seller to repair, then, are those concerns which would typically appear on most home inspection reports. In a recent survey of its members, the Heartland NAHI Chapter in Kansas and Missouri found that the number one problem was improper grading and drainage around the house, a leading cause of water penetration and foundation problems. The second most frequently found problem area was the electrical system, including situations such as insufficient electrical service to the house, inadequate overload protection, and amateur, often dangerous, wiring connections. Though these problems are not especially costly to fix, they do significantly affect a buyer’s impression of a home.

The third and fourth most frequently reported problems were roof damage and mechanical problems with the heating and air conditioning systems. Repairing worn or improper roof flashing as well as faulty HVAC controls, according to Dan Bowers, are examples of maintenance investments that will pay off when the time comes for the buyer’s evaluation by his or her own inspector.

A pre-sale home inspection will also alert home sellers to a variety of other maintenance improvements that will enhance a home’s appearance and marketability, such as:

Fixing even minor items can go a long way toward improving that important first impression of a home, so home sellers should remember to repair leaky faucets, tighten loose doorknobs, replace damaged screens, and replace broken panes of glass.

Pre-sale home inspections will usually point out important safety precautions which buyers will appreciate, such as:

When selecting a home inspector for this pre-sale evaluation, it is important to look for someone with the right professional qualifications, objectivity, and experience; someone who has demonstrated competence in this field. A home inspector’s membership in the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), should therefore be the primary consideration.

NAHI is a national organization which is recognized throughout the United States by leading real estate professionals and government housing officials, such as the FHA, HUD, the VA, and by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). NAHI was founded in 1987 to improve professionalism among home inspectors nationwide, develop the industry’s Standards of Practice, and to establish a strict Code of Ethics for the consumer’s protection. For a free brochure about home inspections, and a list of local NAHI Members in your area, call 800-448-3942, email info@nahi.org, or visit www.nahi.org.