Part one of HOW TO SELL MORE HOUSES IN 2014 talked about the need to be pro-active in selling your home instead of waiting for the Home Inspector (me) to come along and deliver the bad news that causes everyone to get upset. I used the example of crawlspaces where often the deal killers lurk and urged sellers to either go into their crawlspaces or get someone else to do it. We’re looking for mold and the dampness that causes it. Forget the closet door that doesn’t latch, deal with that crawlspace, extend those gutter downspouts that are emptying at the foundation or whatever it is that is causing the dampness down there (if you have dampness in the crawlspace)and if there is mold get it cleaned up. A bottle of anti-fungicide and a willing worker with a mask, gloves, etc. will go a long way to keeping everybody smiling when the Home Inspection is over.
Here in Part 2 of HOW TO SELL MORE HOUSES IN 2014 I want to mention the second most moldy place in the house – The Attic. A recent Home Inspection will illustrate the problem well. The house was less than a year old and I was preparing an 11 month Warranty Inspection for the new home owner. When I got into the attic I noticed a dark discoloration on the trusses on one end of the attic. The more I looked the more I saw. Why? The house had been designed for adequate ventilation but attic vents were blocked with roof sheathing and the attic could not ventilate as intended. If the trusses were significantly discolored so soon, what would they be like in a couple more years? I see this problem too often and it is almost always related to someone blocking off soffit vents, gable vents, ridge vents, fan vents, etc. . What I am saying is: check out your attic. Look for discoloration. Do you have mold in your attic? If you do it is probably because of condensation that lingers because of poor ventilation. Don’t wait for the Home Inspector to say it needs to be done.
You can go ahead and fix it. And by the way, while you are up there with your flashlight (or while your conscientious handyman is up there) look for water stains on the roof sheathing, rust or standing water in the air handler pan, or anything else that is going to cause your buyer to start looking around at other houses again.
Sellers tend to keep the living areas of their homes in pretty good condition but like it or not, the Home Inspector is going into the crawlspace and the attic and that is where the biggest deal breakers lurk. There is no need to let an attic or crawlspace end up being a big sad surprise.
Encourage your Sellers to be pro-active. It’s a whole lot cheaper than paying mortgage payments on a house that should have sold to the buyer who brought the FIRST OFFER
As always, I am here to help. Please contact me with any questions regarding these types of issues.
(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.)