Be proactive: head off problems in the home sale before they happen

Hank Bailey
Hank Bailey
Published on February 18, 2019

When listing a home for sale, the homeowner is an active partner in many aspects of the sales process. From agreement on the listing price to preparing the home for the market, and being flexible when buyers’ agents request showings!

If you are thinking of listing your home within the next few months just remember to expect lots of activity when it goes on the market for sale.

Then is not the time to prepare – that time is right now. Taking certain steps right now ensures smooth sailing through the entire process.

“If you’re proactive, you focus on preparing. If you’re reactive, you end up focusing on repairing,” according to American author John C. Maxwell. And, we agree.

Consider a pre-listing home inspection

When we live in a home for some time we naturally assume we know about all of its problems. Wrong.

We often see homeowners who are caught completely by surprise when the home inspector’s report turns up problems.

Depending on the scope of the problems, the deal can end up significantly delayed or even derailed.

Knowing all of the home’s problems prepares you for what is to come. And, should you decide not to make the repairs, it can help you more appropriately price the home for its condition.

Make the repairs that lenders/insurers commonly demand

If your buyer is using an FHA- or VA-backed mortgage, the lender may require certain repairs before agreeing to lend money to the buyer.

Typically, the lender will take issue with any problems dealing with the health and safety of the home’s occupants.

Some problems that don’t meet the FHA’s “minimum property standards” include:

  • Debris in the home’s crawl space
  • Lack of a fire door between the home and the garage
  • Missing handrails on stairways and decks
  • Cracked glass in windows
  • Minor plumbing problems (such as dripping faucets)
  • Ratty floor finishes or coverings (worn flooring, badly soiled carpeting)
  • Evidence of previous termite or other wood-destroying pest damage if there is no evidence of previous repair work
  • Worn countertops
  • Appliances that don’t work properly.
  • Loose roof shingles
  • Make sure that HVAC works!

This is only a partial list but it gives you an idea of some of the repairs the lender may require, depending on the buyer’s loan program.

The buyer’s homeowner insurance company may stick its nose into the deal as well, demanding that certain repairs be made or it won’t insure the buyer

Plan on making these repairs before listing the home for sale to avoid holding up the transaction.

Sure, it sounds like a lot of work, but being proactive saves you time and helps you make more money on the sale of your home.

Questions? We are happy to help.

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