When you’re selling your home, the home inspection could be a make it or break it moment for closing the deal. If problems pop up during the inspection, you could be on the hook for dealing with expensive repairs — or worse, the prospective buyer could drop out.
To help ensure this doesn’t happen, try making these repairs and improvements before the home inspection so you can get a positive result and make that sale.
Ensure Outlets Are Properly Wired
“Home inspectors will walk through each room and check to make sure each outlet is wired properly,” said Jordan Fulmer, a real estate investor with Momentum Property Solutions. “While this may sound complicated, you can buy a tester from Lowe’s or Home Depot for less than $10. Simply plug this device into each outlet and it uses lights to tell you if everything looks good or not.”
You should also make sure all outlets within 6 feet of a water source are GFCI outlets.
“Unless you are very comfortable and have experience working with electrical systems, it is best to get these issues repaired by an electrician,” Fulmer said.
Repair Your Roof
“Before the inspection, make sure your roof is in order,” said Rick Abbiati, owner of Colony Property Investments, LLC. “Your roof is the very first thing an inspector will see when he walks up to your house. Few people want to buy a property with a bad roof.”
The cost to replace or repair a roof ranges from $5,583 to $11,619 on average, according to HomeAdvisor.
Install or Repair Gutter Downspout Extensions
“One of the most overlooked repairs by home sellers is gutter downspout extensions,” said Jason Gelios, a realtor with Community Choice Realty. “These are critical in keeping the water from causing damage to the foundation and causing leaks in the basement. I have seen many times where not having the extensions run water away from the house causes issues while the home inspection is being conducted. Prior damage is usually evident too.”
The cost of downspouts depends on the material, but expect to pay between $5 and $8 per foot for vinyl and aluminum downspouts, according to HomeAdvisor.
Ensure Your Water Heater Is Up To Code and Working Properly
Different states may have different safety requirements for your water heater.
“In California, hot water heaters are required to be secured with two earthquake straps,” said Robert Taylor, a real estate rehabber and investor with The Real Estate Solutions Guy.
You should also check the temperature/pressure relief valve.
“Is the temperature/pressure relief valve properly run outside of the home without ever running uphill?” Taylor said. “A handyman or a plumber can usually add the discharge line for a minimal cost.”
Install and Replace Smoke Alarms as Needed
“Do each of your bedrooms have an operating smoke alarm? Do they work? Have you tested them or replaced their batteries?” Taylor said. “If they have 10-year batteries, is the installation date written on the alarm? Are any of the smoke alarms closer than three feet to an air conditioning vent? If so they need to be at least three feet away from the air register.”
If all that needs to be done is battery replacement, this is a cheap and easy fix to make prior to an inspection. If an alarm needs to be added or moved, this can be more costly.
Install and Replace Carbon Monoxide Detectors as Needed
“Do you have a carbon monoxide detector on each living area/floor of the home? Typically, one is placed outside the bedrooms in the hallway and on any floors where there is a natural gas or propane appliance in a living area,” Taylor said.
Make Sure Your Electrical Panel Is Properly Labeled
“Are all of the electrical circuits properly labeled? If not, get someone to help you identify each breaker and the location they operate,” Taylor said. “A labeling machine works really well for making easily readable labels.”
You can buy a label maker for around $35 for this quick fix.
Make Sure All Your Light Bulbs Are Working
A burnt-out light bulb can lead to an unnecessary red flag on your home inspection report.
“Do all of the light bulbs and switches work? Your inspector won’t replace a light bulb. They’ll simply assume the switch may not work,” Taylor said. “Don’t get a red mark on your report because of a bad light bulb.”
Fix a Broken Irrigation System
“Some inspectors won’t check irrigation systems, others will,” Taylor said. “Do your sprinklers work? If not, have you already disclosed that to your buyers so they aren’t surprised when they read the home inspection report?”
To prevent any possible red flags on your home inspection report, take care of irrigation system repairs ahead of time. The average cost to repair a sprinkler system is $257, according to HomeAdvisor.
Make Any Needed Repairs to Doors, Locks and Windows
“Do all of your doors and windows open and close properly without dragging or binding? Do the locking mechanisms work properly? Does the door latch when pulled shut, or do the striker and strike plate need adjusting? On exterior doors, can you see daylight around the weather stripping? If so, it probably needs to be adjusted or replaced,” Taylor said. “It goes without saying that broken doors or windows should be replaced.”
The average cost to repair a door is $225, while the average cost to repair a window is $369, according to HomeAdvisor.
Repair Your HVAC Systems
“Your home inspector will test both the heating and cooling systems of the house,” Taylor said. “Some inspectors will have digital thermometers to read the temperature of the air being distributed at each of the registers.”
If there are known issues with your HVAC systems, call a contractor to repair the system before you list your home on the market, Taylor said.
The average cost to repair an air conditioning unit ranges from $167 to $600, while the average cost to repair a furnace is $304, according to HomeAdvisor.
Fix Any Leaks
The home inspector will check for leaks throughout your home, so be sure to address these before the inspection. The cost to hire a plumber ranges from $45 to $200 per hour (or more) depending on the job, timing and location, according to HomeAdvisor.
“Plumbing is a major concern for meticulous buyers,” said Stephen Keighery, CEO and founder of Home Buyer Louisiana.
Address Mold and/or Termite Issues
“Mold and termite issues can end a deal,” said Khari Washington, broker and owner of 1st United Realty & Mortgage. “The seller should get an inspection beforehand and fix problems so that the buyers don’t cancel.”
These can be expensive issues to address but may be worth it if you don’t want to lose out on a sale. The average cost for mold remediation is $2,216, and the average cost for termite treatment is $573, according to HomeAdvisor.
Repair Damaged Flooring
“You must repair the damaged floors as aesthetically, it harms the entire design of the room and prompts buyers to look somewhere else,” said Liz Hutz, real estate investor and co-owner of Cash Home Buyers NC. “Chipped floors and tiles can be a potential hazard for families with children and pets.”
The cost to repair flooring (vinyl, wood or tile) costs $365 on average or between $192 and $543, according to HomeAdvisor.
“Investing in a new floor plan is relatively inexpensive and gives a unique appearance to your home,” Hutz said.
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