Aviva is the managing broker of Sonenreich & Co, a third-generation commercial real estate broker, owner, and investor based in Denver, Colorado.
In such a hot real estate market as we are experiencing today, many buyers pass property inspections, trying to win the bidding wars sparked by the current inventory crisis. But the inspection is still one of the most critical stages in the process of buying and selling real estate. Let’s be realistic: properties deteriorate over time. Professional property inspections dig deep into a building’s features and can often lead to unexpected results.
Sellers can and should protect themselves so that there are fewer surprises at the back during the inspection. With some basic knowledge of dealing with property inspections and maintenance, you can easily work your way through the inspection and ultimately maximize the return on your property.
1. Check for major problems in the property before the inspection.
The first thing to focus on is to see if the property has any major problems. These could be structural problems, problems with electrical or sewer systems, or fungal or termite infestations. Any factor can drastically lower the price of your property, or worse, kill a deal. Make sure you know the ins and outs of your property before putting it on the market to ensure a profitable sale.
2. Get professional help from your broker.
If you are not experienced in real estate sales and inspections, seek assistance from your trusted real estate agent to assess the actual condition of your property. Remember that real estate agents have experience selling real estate and can guarantee a level of experience that will be of value to you.
3. Make a checklist of different property features and their condition.
It is always helpful to make a checklist of the various features of your property that may be of interest to the inspector. Some of these features include grounds, structure, roof, exterior, windows, doors, the kitchen, bathrooms, plumbing and electricity. Write them down and state their condition. Also write down the necessary repairs. It will help you do things in an organized manner and save you money in the long run.
4. Don’t ignore the minor issues.
While minor issues are usually easy to fix, don’t ignore them for your inspection. Minor issues can include HVAC units, garage doors, doors, lights, walls with cracked or peeling paint, minor exterior maintenance, outdated appliances, and worn subtleties. These aren’t deal breakers, but it does help a lot to update your minor issues before selling your property. While they usually don’t lead to a major property devaluation, it’s always better to be prepared for the worst. Some buyers get so attached to the little things that they can’t see the bigger picture. Avoid that problem before it occurs.
5. Clean the premises for inspection.
Cleaning your property before an inspection is a must. The inspectors look beyond the superficial sparkle of a clean building, but a clean building is easier to sell at a more favorable price than a dirty building.
6. Clear the premises for inspection.
It is important to clean up your property before an inspection. Ensure that inspectors have easy access to attics, basements and electrical panels. Make sure all systems are turned on to ensure a seamless inspection.
7. Ensure the property is in 100% operational condition.
Make sure all utilities, including gas, water, and electricity, are turned on. You should also provide the inspector with remote controls for various equipment, including lighting, fans and HVAC systems.
8. Allow time for the property inspector and buyer to inspect.
It can take anywhere from one to four hours to fully inspect your property, depending on its size. Allow time for the property inspector and potential buyer to inspect. Try not to rush them.
9. Leave the premises.
It is a good idea to leave the premises during the inspection. This gives the inspector and buyer the privacy they need to see things from their perspective. While you may think your presence will make things easier, it may prove to be a hindrance to the inspector. Think of it as if you were buying the property: Don’t want the luxury of interrupted access during your inspection? Your buyer would too. It goes a long way.
10. Don’t try to hide problems.
This is simple: don’t do it ever try to hide problems. They will be found – if not by the inspector, then by the buyer. When you complete your seller ownership disclosure form, you must disclose all known issues. When you sign the document, it becomes your liability. It is always to your advantage to do the right thing. If you do the right thing, you always win.
The reality of the situation is that real estate inspectors are experienced professionals who have gone through the moves before. Chances are, if you act suspiciously, they’ll know. You also lose valuable trust with your inspector and buyer.
Property inspections can be quite nerve-wracking, especially for inexperienced salespeople. If you follow the tips above, you can go through the whole process with ease.
Pyjama People Real Estate Council is an invite-only community for real estate executives. Am I eligible?