Let’s assume that you have been in your home for 30 years and that you have diligently kept up with maintenance. The kids have moved out and you are ready to move to warmer climates. You call your local Real Estate Agent, who recommends a little staging; taking down personal pictures, de-cluttering, painting, and so on. You feel confident that you are ready to put your house on the market.
The agent finds a buyer for your house. The buyer then hires a Home Inspector. The inspector shows up and proceeds to take hundreds of pictures of your home and then writes up a lengthy, not so flattering, report on your property. The buyer walks away from the deal.
What went wrong? To the untrained eye, the property appears to be in great condition. Nevertheless, if your home was built 30 or more years ago, the home inspector may have found:
1. Asbestos tiles on the floor;
2. Asbestos and lead paint on the popcorn-finished ceiling;
3. A Federal Pacific electrical panel that has been recalled;
4. Siding that is the subject of a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer;
5. Possible PCB and asbestos-contaminated storm window caulking;
6. Caulking covering the weep holes in the storm windows;
7. No safety glass in any of the doors;
8. Lead paint everywhere;
9. No Wythe or flue separator in the fireplace;
10. No anti-tipping device on the gas stove;
11. The gas stove does not vent to the exterior;
12. No GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) receptacles anywhere;
13. No AFCI (Arc-Fault Circuit Breakers) in the panel;
14. An open sump pump in the basement;
15. Missing hand railings;
16. Insulation installed with an exposed vapor barrier;
17. A missing attic ventilation system;
18. Mold on the attic sheathing; and
19. Termite entry at the base of the basement stairs and continuing up to the first-floor joists.
Your first reaction to the failed sale of your home might be anger at the inspector. It is not the Inspector’s fault; he or she is simply doing the job he or she was hired to do and pointing out the facts about an aging property. If you stop and think about it, you would want the same level of professionalism and attention to these important details if you were the buyer. But, how would you know all these problems were in your own home?
Unless you are in the industry, building or inspecting homes, you wouldn’t be expected to know about these things. It can be very helpful, before you list your home for sale, to have a home inspector do a seller’s consultation for you. If he finds any problems that might slow down or stop the sale of your home, you can fix it before you list it or at the very least, know what will potentially turn up on a buyer’s inspection.