Many news reports point to the sub prime lending mess as the cause for the housing slump. But home sellers should know that plenty of people with good credit are simply cautious buyers, which can keep sales down.
In most areas it’s a buyer’s market, so people can be picky. “Most buyers in this market will try to re-negotiate based on the findings of their home inspection. If the seller is unwilling to make repairs or lower the price, they may walk away because they know other properties are available,” says Kathleen Kuhn, president and CEO of HouseMaster, a leading national home inspection franchise company.
But sellers do not have to stand by with their fingers crossed to secure a fair sale.
Sellers must anticipate the concerns of potential home buyers in order to ensure their homes sell at acceptable prices. To overcome the tough real estate market, many sellers are turning to pre-listing inspections as a tool for enhancing the salability of their homes in a slow market.
“More and more home sellers are getting a pre-listing home inspection that helps identify potential deal-breaking issues before the house is listed on the market,” Kuhn says. “This way, sellers can fix problems and worry less about a buyer walking away late in the deal process.”
The following four underlying conditions are the most common deal killers when it comes to real estate transactions:
Roofing Concerns: A new homeowner does not want the expense of roof replacement shortly after closing. Many sellers believe that if their roof is not presently leaking it is in acceptable condition. But an astute buyer knows that a worn roof needs to be replaced before it leaks.
Electrical Problems: Older panels are often undersized and might even pose a fire hazard. Although an upgrade is usually straightforward, the potential fire risk can be scary for prospective buyers.
Structural Issues: Major structural issues are one of the least common defects found in homes, but when they do occur, they can be costly to repair, and can really stop a buyer in his tracks. Fortunately, there are often repair options that will make the sales process go smoother. But it will often require another inspection by a structural engineer or repair professional, and additional time, to determine what can be done.
Synthetic Stucco or Exterior Insulation Finish Systems (EIFS): Overall EIFS can be effective, economical alternatives to traditional stucco. Unfortunately improper installation can lead to trapped moisture behind the siding. This can cause structural damage and mold, and can cost tens of thousands of dollars to correct.
“Sellers lose some advantage when they are caught off guard by issues, even minor ones. In a market where every edge counts, sellers can use tools like pre-listing home inspections and repair records to show that they are conscientious and have taken appropriate steps to sell responsibly and competitively,” Kuhn says.
The information provided in a pre-listing inspection report enables the seller to plan a course of action for addressing any conditions found. This way, the seller can set his or her home apart from other houses available for sale in the area. The inspection report also provides a strong bargaining tool during original listing negotiations with the buyer, ensuring a quicker, more hassle-free sale and smoother closing.