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— by Pat Hiban

Stop Deals From Falling Through With Tips from a Home Inspector

Have you ever had a client’s sale fall through due to a bad inspection report? Most listing agents have. In fact, along with undervalued appraisals, it’s one of the main reasons why real estate deals deteriorate after a home goes under contract. 

Lab Coat Agents, Nick Baldwin, Tristan Ahumada, labcoatagents.com, Real Estate, Pat Hiban, Home Inspections, Deals

But most home inspectors aren’t trying to sour sellers’ deals or get on agents’ nerves. They’re just ensuring that home buyers are able to make an informed decision.

Home inspector Preston Sandlin explained this during a recent podcast. The most interesting part of my interview with Preston wasn’t the purpose of the inspection process, however. 

What really piqued my interest as a former listing agent was Preston’s suggestions for sellers who want to ace their inspection. These are suggestions you should share with your sellers before the inspection process begins for smoother, more profitable transactions and happier clients at closing. 

In addition to providing a rundown on the issues to address prior to a home inspector’s visit, Preston gave his take on the pre-listing inspection. 

Preston’s Seller Inspection Checklist 

Most people wouldn’t try to take an important exam without studying for it, but that’s essentially what the vast majority of sellers are doing once their home goes under contract. 

Instead of preparing for an impending inspection, the average seller simply leaves it to chance. They stand to lose thousands of dollars on the deal if the inspection goes bad. It isn’t because they don’t care; they just don’t know any better. 

Make sure your sellers do. 

The home inspection process is predictable. While each home is different, the items inspections cover are more or less the same. When your sellers know this, and know what inspectors are going to be checking, they’ll have the opportunity to ensure that their inspection results look as good as possible to potential buyers. 

Preston shared something he calls the “Seller Inspection Checklist” with me, and he guarantees that sellers who use it will wind up with a better inspection report. To learn more about the checklist and how it’s used, listen to the following clip from episode 680 of the Real Estate Rockstars podcast. 

Lab Coat Agents, Nick Baldwin, Tristan Ahumada, labcoatagents.com, Real Estate, Pat Hiban, Home Inspections, Deals

Preston’s checklist covers everything from quick fixes to preparatory steps to take prior to inspection. Below is a selection of important items to cover with your sellers. 

Ensure all utilities are turned on 

If all utilities aren’t turned on at the time of a scheduled inspection, it could cause a long, unnecessary delay. Since some homeowners have their gas turned off during warmer months, be sure to mention that utility in particular. 

Shampoo and restretch carpets 

Dirty, damaged carpets will be immediately noticeable to the inspector and are almost guaranteed to make their way into the report along with unflattering photos for buyers. Cleaning and restretching carpeting can go a long way when it comes to improving the inspection report.    

Check garbage disposal and dishwasher 

These appliances are prone to problems. Luckily, the most common issues have cheap, easy fixes. Have sellers test them both for proper function and leakage. If they notice issues, repairs should be arranged prior to inspection. 

Test faucets and showerheads for pressure 

In homes with hard water, mineral deposits can clog aerators and cause issues with water pressure. Sellers should ensure their faucets and showerheads provide adequate pressure and investigate further if they do not. A quick cleaning can resolve this issue and keep it off the inspector’s list of recommended repairs. 

Fill nail holes and repair damaged drywall 

While repainting is often recommended prior to resale, inspectors aren’t going to comment on a seller’s color choice. What they will note, however, is damage to drywall. Some professional patching and filling is recommended prior to inspection in order to avoid comments that may cause buyers unnecessary concern. 

Clean the home and leave a number 

Many buyers like to attend inspections. Sellers should assume potential buyers will be present and ensure that the entire home is as clean as possible on the day of the inspection. Also, sellers should leave a contact number for the inspector in case they have questions regarding the operation or location of items in the home. 

Lab Coat Agents, Nick Baldwin, Tristan Ahumada, labcoatagents.com, Real Estate, Pat Hiban, Home Inspections, Deals

Preston’s Take on the Pre-Listing Inspection 

There’s a lot of debate regarding the value of pre-listing inspections. If you ask Preston, they’re a no-brainer. Pre-listing inspections provide major benefits, including the potential for bigger, better offers. 

When buyers see that a property has already been inspected, they take notice. It’s one less expense to bear, and this does influence their decision on whether or not to make an offer. Because of this, a pre-inspected home is more likely to receive multiple offers than a home that will require buyers to foot the bill for their own inspection. 

Additionally, when sellers make repairs prior to their inspection as described in the section above, they’ll have a report to share that eases potential buyers’ minds. This is extremely valuable as buyers will know from the start that they’re looking at a sound home, not a project that will require extensive repairs upon purchase. 

While some sellers still won’t be interested in paying for a pre-listing inspection despite the benefits, there’s a way to win them over: give them a way to recoup the cost. 

By charging potential buyers a small fee for access to the report, sellers can easily make most if not all of their money back. When handled correctly, the sale of inspection reports is also a great way to generate some of the best buyer leads in the business. 

As a listing agent, the pre-listing inspection is an incredibly valuable tool. Use it in addition to Preston’s checklist to prevent your sellers’ real estate deals from falling through. 

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