Marketing companies will help you sell more houses in 2014 for enough money ($$$). I’m going to tell you how to do it and it’s not going to cost you anything, and I am going to do it from the perspective of a Home Inspector, because that is my primary business.
The easiest way to keep your deal from falling through because of a Home Inspection is to do a pre-listing inspection, or have one done right after the listing contract. It is amazing how people cannot come up for the money for a pre-listing or pre-contract inspection (hereafter called a “pre-inspection”) but they can come up for the money for lots of extra mortgage payments when their buyers back out.
If you can’t get your Seller to pay for a “pre-inspection” then try to get them to do the next best thing. Have them crawl through their crawlspace or get someone else to do it. The biggest problems seem to be in crawlspaces. That’s where the M_ _ _ lives. And M_ _ _ lives there for a reason… it is damp and dark down there. The key to solving the M_ _ _ problem is solving the moisture problem. And there is no reason to wait until the Home Inspector comes along to break the bad news to the buyer about the damp crawlspace. People wax their floors, paint their walls, install new appliances, etc. and leave their crawlspace looking like a horror house on Halloween night. They don’t go there and to them it’s out of sight and out of mind. You’ve got to get them to go down there or get someone else to go down there for them, and if it is damp and moldy they’ve got to deal with it, just like they did with their walls and floors upstairs. There is no reason to wait mindlessly until the Home Inspector gets there to deliver the bad news.
Crawlspace moisture issues are usually from just a few causes. 1) Poor drainage – water flows toward the foundation and seeps into the crawlspace. Gutters can solve some or all of this problem. Sometimes some grading may be needed.
2) Gutter downspouts emptying at the foundation and water seeps into the crawlspace – this is usually simple and inexpensive to fix.
3) HVAC air handler condensation drain blocked so that condensation water leaks into the crawlspace instead of draining to the outside. This only happens in the summer when the air conditioner is running. 4) Condensation because of warm humid air from the foundation vents coming in contact with cool surfaces in the crawlspace.
The time to identify these problems and correct them is BEFORE the Home Inspection, not after the buyer has decided to look for another home. Help your Sellers to get their home ready!
If the house has a concrete slab for a foundation, then you do not need to worry about the issues mentioned here. The place you need to take a look at is the ATTIC. See Part 2 of this series on preparing your home for quick sale!
(Earl Payne has been a NC licensed General Contractor since 1984 and is a NC licensed Home Inspector with Carolina’s Best Home Inspections. He inspects approximately 500 houses a year in all areas surrounding Ft. Bragg.)