One of the most stressful events in an individual or couple's life can be the purchase of a home. Whether your clients are first time home buyers and green around the edges, or seasoned veterans who seem like they're prepared for just about anything, buying a house can take determination, perseverance, and a heaping helping of patience. As real estate professionals, it's our responsibility to navigate our clients through the sometimes murkey waters and get them to the closing table to enjoy their new property for years to come. However, signing on the dotted line can be a journey some don't realize they're about to take.
When a home shopper charts a course to purchase a home it typically starts out with a time consuming on-line search of available properties to determine just where they want to take up residence and what style and size of home best fits their needs. Once they find the home of their dreams the offer is submitted and the nail biting and waiting game begins whether or not the seller agrees with the contract terms. The good news arrives and you're able to speak the magic words you've been waiting to tell your client: "Your offer was accepted!" Elation erupts but is quickly tempered when you now advise them to schedule a home inspection.
Home inspections are absolutely vital to the successful purchase of home. Not only will they determine flaws and deficiencies in the structure of the home itself, but they will bring to light faulty appliances, improper or out-of-date plumbing and wiring, roofing defects, and any number of hidden issues within a home just waiting to be revealed. Nerves and tensions can be on edge when waiting for the results to be declared but how can we best serve our clients and prepare them for not only the inspection itself but also how to handle the outcome?
Should the buyer be present for the Home Inspection?
As a homeowner myself, I understand the want to be as involved with the home purchase process as much as possible. However, a home inspection can become very overwhelming as you watch the inspector make note after note regarding possible or perceived defects in a home that you fell in love with just days before. We certainly can't prevent our clients from personally attending the home inspection but if we've done a good enough job of getting to know our clients personality we may be able to recommend they forego the potentially paralyzing scene of a home inspector picking apart their dream home room by room.
If you feel your client may not be able to handle the home inspection process then perhaps clearing your schedule to attend the inspection with them could go a long way in easing their minds when they see the inspector mark down dozens of potential problems.
Regardless of whether or not your buyers are purchasing a brand new construction home or a property that has seen it's glory days long since pass by, a home inspector will find flaws and defects in any home. Having an open and honest conversation with your clients before the inspection and advising them to be prepared for the inevitibility of some deficiencies that will be found can go a long way in tempering their expectations about the house they felt was perfect.
Review the Inspection Report
Inspection reports can be intimidating to decipher especially to a home buyer who has never gone through the process.Seasoned real estate professionals have seen more than their fair share of inspection reports and can interpret the perplexing jargon found within it's pages. Not all home inspectors are created equal and not all home inspection reports are easily analyzed. Advise your clients that you are available to review the report with them to help determine what repairs are minor and which ones need to be addressed right away.
Share your Referral Network
Once your buyers decide which repairs they would like the seller to address, offer to assist them in obtaining bids from licensed repair companies. If you've been a licensed agent for any length of time you've undoubtedly met dozens of contractors, electricians, roofers, plumbers, air conditioning professionals, landscapers, and any number of other certified specialists. Most clients won't even know where to begin when it comes to obtaining bids for repairs that need to be addressed. However, time is of the essence since contractually a buyer is only alloted a certain time frame to decide which improvements they desire a seller to complete. We can alleviate some of this pressure and stress by sharing with our clients our stable of repair specialists in which we have previously worked along side.
Now that we've discussed how we can prepare a buyer for a home inspection we can turn our focus to sellers. Selling a home can be just as stressful as purchasing another. The daunting tasks of preparing your home for sale range from detail cleaning, de-cluttering, packing, and performing minor repairs throughout the property that have been put off for months or perhaps even years.
As a homeowner myself, I am keenly aware of the quirks and flaws of my own house. Those tiny imperfections we've grown accustomed to ignoring on a daily basis could be big issues for buyers when they view your home to determine if it's a good fit for them. When you make the decision to place your property up for sale there are a number of ways you can ease the minds of prospective home shoppers and prepare yourself for the impending home inspection that awaits once your house is under contract.
Don't Disguise Defects
As previously stated, homeowners know what problems lie within their properties so we should advise our clients not to try and hide them. They should be open about repairs that may need to be address. A home inspector's job is to find flaws. Your sellers can help them by placing notes around the house the day before advising the inspector they are aware of certain shortcomings. If an appliance is broken, a shower head leaks, a door won't properly latch, a stair railing is loose, or perhaps a light fixture is broken, these are all things they can disclose ahead of time to the home inspector. The more they try and hide, the more a home inspector will be leery of what else a homeowner is attempting to conceal.
Make the home accessible
Providing easy access to all areas of a property will not only allow for a quicker home inspection but it will also allow every space possible to be reviewed for possible defects. Crawl spaces, attic spaces, basements, closets, storage rooms, and even main living areas can get cluttered with belongings making an inspection difficult. A seller should clear a path in each room or space of their home so that a thorough examination can be done. This might seem a bit excessive, but think of it this way; What if the home inspector uncovers a roofing leak, water damage in the a basement, major foundation issues, or other hidden flaws that are threatening to cause severe destruction if left unattended? They might not have been able to uncover these problems if they had no access to the area. What if, because of these major defects the buyer of the property decides to cancel the transaction? Your homeowners should want to be made aware of these looming threats so that they can truly decide whether selling their home at this time is the right step to take.
Make sure all Utilities are On
You may be thinking this is a no-brainer, but what if your clients have already vacated their home and moved in to a new one? Keeping the utilities on in a vacant home will be vital to a proper and thorough home inspection. Home inspectors must be able to test every aspect of a home including plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling systems. This will require Water, Electric, Gas, and other utilities to be on. Turning off utilities to a vacant home may seem like a cost saving measure, but once turned off, most utility companies will require a costly deposit to re-activate them. Advise your clients to ensure all utilities remain on during the entire home selling process.
Replace all burned out light-bulbs
A home inspection is time consuming enough. Remind your clients to replace any burned out light-bulbs so that the home inspector won't waste time testing each light fixture if it doesn't shine brightly once the switch is turned on.
Properly secure or remove all Pets
All homeowners love their pets but not all home inspectors may agree. Recommending your clients kennel their animals or removing them from the premises will allow the inspector to complete their job without worry of letting a dog or cat escape out of the door, or be bothered by a curious creature following them around.
Whether your clients are purchasing or selling a home, properly preparing them for a home inspection will go a long way to ensure a less stressful experience. Our agents at Zion Realty in Gilbert, Arizona guide our clients through the entire home buying process. If you or someone you know are interested in purchasing or selling a home in Gilbert, Arizona contact us Today!