Prepping for the Home Inspection

Even in a seller’s market here in Orange County, it is a good idea to prepare the home inspection. It will make for a smoother transaction by removing any potential roadblocks or hiccups on the way to close of escrow. Preparing can give you peace of mind, and put your buyer’s mind at ease, too. They will view your home as in good shape and in good repair, adding value in their mind. It could even increase the amount buyers are willing to pay for your property.

Here are a few things you, as the seller, can do to prepare for a home inspection:

Exterior

  • Clean debris from gutters and drains
  • Re-caulk around exterior windows & doors
  • Repair damaged masonry on walkways & steps
  • Repair minor defect in exterior wall materials
  • Replace damaged and missing shingles
  • Seal driveway cracks

Interior

  • Repair leaking faucets and fixtures
  • Repair cracked and broken window panes
  • Have a professional electrician inspect receptacle & switches, then make necessary repairs
  • Re-caulk around bathtubs & sinks
  • Arrange service for your HVAC
  • Replace batteries in smoke & carbon monoxide detectors
  • Loosen any windows that are hard to open and close

Inspection Day

  • Clear entrance to storage sheds, attic, crawl spaces, basement, and garage. Clear paths of debris.
  • If the buyer will be present, then be away from the house for the duration of the inspection.
  • Keep pets in a safe location or remove them from the property if necessary.
  • Move objects away from water heater, furnace and air conditioner.
  • Provide all keys for any locked doors.

Disclosures

  • Disclose past fires, floods and major repair work.
  • Provide building permits or plans for any major renovations.
  • Provide invoices & warranties for major improvements like roofs, furnaces, and appliances.

This is not all-inclusive nor do you HAVE to do any of these items (possible exception of making sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order). However, these items usually come up on home inspections, and buyers usually have questions about them and may ask that they be repaired/addressed prior to close of escrow.

Even if you don’t address any of these items, maybe inspect your home for yourself ahead of time so you know where you stand in regard to repairs.

Home Inspection – Eyes Only!

Home Inspections are a necessary part of the home buying process. Take your time to get a really good look or two, hire a pro to help you and ask questions. It’s all about the all-important peace of mind when buying and selling a home.

My latest podcast has a some tips and info help you gain that peace of mind.

Maintaining Your Dishwasher

Wow. I just watched a short video on realtor.com that showed me how to quickly clean some of the residue from my dishwasher. Also a good idea to add this to your list of things to do before you put your home on the market.

Now, some of you may already know how to do this, and you may have your own tried and true cleaning methods. Here is what they suggest:

  • Remove any loose debris on the bottom of the dishwasher near the filter.
  • Place a cup of white vinegar in the top rack and run an entire cycle.
  • Sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and run through a shorter cycle, making sure it still uses hot water.
  • They also suggest you check the hinges/springs on the door to make sure it closes/seals properly.

And here is the video: maintaining your dishwasher.

I can’t stand a dirty and even slightly smelly dishwasher. Unfortunately, they do get that way over the years with use. Realtor.com suggest cleaning like this every six months. More often if you are finicky like me!

Tips on Writing Your Offer So a Seller Listens

There are all types of sellers, all types of buyers and all types of properties. Each scenario is going to be different. But if you are a buyer who has found a nice home you really like, and it is listed by a seller who takes some pride in their property, here are a few things to think about and take into consideration if you want the seller to take you and your offer seriously.

  • It all starts with the first showing of the property. If you want to make a good impression on a seller, show up on time, leave the home the way you found it, and follow any specific showing instructions.
  • If the seller is present, take your lead from the seller. If they are staying in the background, don’t bother them. If they seem like they want to show you their property, allow them to do so. Try not to ask any personal or financial questions and keep the comments positive and brief.
  • Let your agent speak to the seller’s agent to try and determine any special circumstance or motivation of the seller. See if the seller’s agent will disclose to your agent any deal-breakers for the seller in terms of length of escrow, etc. Perhaps you can make them very happy with special terms if they will budge more on price.  How, other than price, can you make things easier on the seller? Think: give and take.

The last thing you want to do to a seller who has a lovely home is insult them or get them upset with you or any offer you write.

  • Sellers are just like you, and need to make a move, and the stress is no fun.  If you can’t meet their price, or it is obvious their price is too high, submit your best or almost best offer in terms of price in hopes of starting a back and forth conversation with them.
  • The offer itself and the manner it is presented should also reflect respect and professionalism to the seller. It should be complete and neat. The buyer’s agent should communicate honestly and courteously with the seller’s agent. The seller doesn’t want to open escrow with someone who may seem “flaky.”
  • If the offer price is low compared to list price, the buyer and their agent should respectfully submit recent sales to validate the price offered.
  • It may help to write a very short letter of introduction to the seller. Discuss this with your agent who may have insight into whether or not it may be a good idea in your particular instance.
  • Be prepared to wait for the seller to get back to you, especially if the price offered may appear low to the seller.  Sometimes sellers take things personally; the last thing you want to do is to get a seller upset so that they just don’t want to work with you or even respond to your offer.

Bottom line is you want to put your best face forward on any offer you present and with any initial dealings with the seller; especially if it is a seller’s market. Often, your initial offer will stick with the seller; they will form an opinion of you as a buyer and may not budge from it even if you sweeten the offer later. First impressions matter! Show them you are serious, you are motivated, willing to work with them and be flexible where you can.

Best of luck!