Even after an offer has been accepted and the paperwork has been signed there are still some potential areas where the buyers may pull out of the deal.  One of the most common is the property inspection. As part of the buyer’s due diligence s/he will hire one or more professionals to inspect the property and provide a full report.
Home inspectors methodically go through a checklist of many things that can be a cause for concern, if they are unsure about the safety of a particular item they will suggest that a licensed contractor be  who specializes in that particular area be hired to inspect it and provide a report, examples of this can be an electrician to look at wiring or the electrical panel,  a mechanical contractor to look at the furnace or a company to do a sewer scope to check the sewer line.

The inspection report tends to be lengthy and often it is filled with small items that are referred to as deferred maintenance.  Deferred maintenance is basically not taking care of the routine things that every home owner has to deal with.  If there are a lot of these items the buyers may have concerns that the bigger items have not been taken either and start to doubt that this is a good deal. This can cause them the terminate  the contract or ask you to lower the purchase price because of all the necessary repairs.

These items are fairly inexpensive to handle and many can be done by the homeowner.  It’s a small price to pay to ensure that your home sells for a good price and that potential buyers see the value in your home.  So take care of these items before listing your home for sale.

Deferred maintenance items that are typically mentioned on inspection reports.

  • Remove mulch or other material from contact with the siding. 6” separation is recommended
  • Clean gutters and clear debris from roof.
  • Replace any missing shingles
  • Make sure that downspouts are in place and directing all the water away from the home (which might include filling in a hole that animals might have dug next to the foundation or general grading).
  •  Trim trees and shrubbery so that the branches aren’t rubbing against the house.
  • Paint all weathered exterior wood and caulk around the trim, windows and doors.
  • Make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in-place and functioning properly
  • Ensure all doors and windows are operating properly, that locks lock and doorknobs turn and latch. Replace any cracked or broken window panes.
  • Ensure all plumbing fixtures are working properly and aren’t dripping or leaking, this includes that knobs on faucets work.
  • Make sure caulking around the bathtub and shower pan are in good condition. (no mold, mildew or cracks) If necessary clean out the old caulk and apply fresh caulk to the area.  Also replace any missing wall tiles and make sure grout is in good shape.
  • Check electrical outlets and switches and replace cracked or missing covers.
  • Patch and repair holes in drywall and then paint.
  • Clean or replace the Furnace filter
  • Check that handrails on stairs (inside and outside) are secure and replace any that are missing or broken.

Other items to consider doing before putting your home on the market:

  • Have a professional HVAC technician clean and certify the furnace. Make the certification available to the buyers.(cost is around $250)
  • Have a sewer scope done and make the report available to the buyers so that they don’t have to do one. (cost is around $99)
  • Have your carpets professionally cleaned.  (cost varies depending on how much needs to be done)
  • Consider painting rooms where the walls are showing wear and tear or the color or wall paper might be old and dated .
  • Consider having a garage sale or just packing up and storing your miscellaneous items that you don’t use anymore.