This is one of the most important decisions a seller will make before marketing his/her home. Why? This will determine what and how much property information is given to a prospective buyer. It is my opinion the more information a buyer is given about the condition of a property, the more confident the buyer will be about the property’s condition. In a multiple offer situation, this confidence in knowing the condition of the home may make a difference in how much money a buyer is willing to offer for the home.
I feel the two most important property inspections are the structural pest (also known as the termite report) and home inspection reports. I believe the structural pest report is an indication of the “bones and muscles” condition of the home. I think it is a misnomer to call it a termite report because, in our East Bay Hills area, termites usually comprise no more than 20% of the report. Instead, it should be called the “dry rot report” as wood rot and decay are a much more common item in this report.
It is important to note that there is a difference in the type of structural pest companies, so a seller should discuss with his/her real estate agent which company should be chosen. Without naming names, I categorize some of these companies as “bug killers” as they specialize in killing ants and other insects instead of focusing on the dry rot issues that structural pest companies do.
The second key inspection is the home inspection report. A good home inspector will do a thorough job of evaluating the condition of each of a home’s systems including roof, electrical, plumbing, foundation and drainage. It is important to differentiate between a home inspector who does a thorough job and an inspector who does an “inspection light” job. Yes, a thorough home inspection will take longer (three to four hours or more) than an “inspection light” (a couple of hours) job, but the more thorough inspection will most likely build confidence with a prospective buyer because of the information provided.
The home inspection covers all of a home’s systems and should be done first. From this report’s findings, it may be necessary to also have system specialists (e.g. roof, heating & air conditioning, fireplace and chimney, sewer lateral and sidewalk (if needed) inspect the property. The more property information a seller can provide a prospective buyer, the more confidence the buyer will have knowing the true condition of the seller’s home.