Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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Selling a Home? Fix it Now or Later

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Your home needs repairs. You know it, and the potential buyers will see them. What do you do?

I watched a home go from being offered for sale before the weekend. By Tuesday the house had a slight change to the sign out front: for lease. By Wednesday the sign had come down. The home had been rented. I do not know if this should be considered a success or settling on the part of the sellers. I hope that the sellers are getting what they want. The Realtor has been quick to accept first offers from my experience, which may not be the best thing to do.
The sellers denied the need for many repairs before the house went on market; however they did have a one day repair sprint. On Sunday, they informed me of several obvious repairs that were needed: a busted frame on the back door from when it was kicked in; a busted out window pane from a tenant who lost his keys; and a few others. When a house goes on market in a desired neighborhood, you can expect a flow of buyers and Realtors checking out the home to see if they should make a move before others make an offer. This can taper off after the first weekend, depending on various factors. This initial rush can be important, because a bad first impression can be reported beyond that first crowd.In my limited experience in watching the full process of homes being offered for sale, I have seen buyers from the first weekend coming back to the home, and then making an offer. A bad impression will kill that opportunity.
Do you need a home inspection before selling your home? My answer remains the same: not necessary unless you have true concerns. However, not having a home inspection means you should not inspect your home. Step away from the house; put on your buyer thinking cap; and enter the home with fresh eyes. Be critical of everything. The tougher you are on your home, the more you will find to correct. Go after the obvious first. This means visual items like that hole in the  bathroom ceiling, but also normal use items, like the bathroom. Your toilet will be flushed. Take care of these issues first. Some major issues may not be noticed by the buyers, but you should have a plan for dealing with them. What will not be noticed? You would be surprised. Some buyers walk into a home with rose colored glasses, but some do not sense the problems. Sense? Yes sense. I have had Realtors and buyer taken aback when I state in a quick walk through a home that there is a foundation problem. On a recent inspection, the buyer asked stunned: how do you know. I explained what I felt when walking across the first floor. Gave him a quick evaluation of what I thought the foundation expert would state, but added that I still had to perform my inspection. The buyer looked at me knowingly when the foundation expert told him in more detail what I had said after my first work through. I have no special gift; all home inspectors become atuned to the signs.
I do think that before listing a home, you have to take the time to make an effort to create the best impression on the buyer. You are asking them to make the biggest purchase that they have ever made, so they will be worried.

« « What is Thermal Bridging?| If I Do these Foundation Repairs, Will I Have to Worry About the House Falling Apart in the Future? » »

© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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