Many news reports point to the subprime lending mess as the cause for the housing slump. But home sellers should know that plenty of people with good credit are simply cautious buyers, which can keep sales down.
In most areas it’s a buyer’s market, so people can be picky. Most buyers in this market will try to re-negotiate based on the findings of their home inspection. If the seller is unwilling to make repairs or lower the price, they may walk away because they knew other properties are available.
But sellers do not have to stand by with their fingers crossed to secure a fair sale.
More and more home sellers are getting a pre-listing home inspection that helps identify potential deal-breaking issues before the house is listed on the market. This way, sellers can fix problems and worry less about a buyer walking away late in the deal process.
The following are “The Fearsome Four” when it comes to real estate deals:
A new homeowner does not want the expense of roof replacement shortly after closing. Many sellers believe that if their roof is not presently leaking, it is in acceptable condition. But an astute buyer knows that a worn roof needs to be replaced before it leaks.
Older panels are often undersized and might even pose a fire hazard. Although an upgrade is usually straightforward, the potential fire risk can be scary for prospective buyers.
Major structural issues are one of the least common defects found in homes, but when they do occur, they can be costly to repair, and can really stop a buyer in his tracks. Fortunately, there are often repair options that will make the sales process go smoother. But it will often require another inspection by a structural engineer or repair professional, and additional time, to determine what can be done.
Synthetic Stucco or Exterior Insulation Finish Systems (EIFS)
Overall, EIFS can be effective, economical alternatives to traditional stucco. Unfortunately, improper installation can lead to trapped moisture behind the siding. This can cause structural damage and mold, and can cost tens of thousands of dollars to correct.
Sellers lose some advantage when they are caught off guard by issues, even minor ones. In a market where every edge counts, sellers can use tools like pre-listing home inspections and repair records to show that they are conscientious and have taken appropriate steps to sell responsibly and competitively.
Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue.
Kathleen Kuhn is President of HouseMaster , the oldest and one of the largest home inspection franchisors in North America. She is a contributor to Zillow Blog and is often quoted by major media outlets. For more real estate tips and clips, visit HouseMaster on YouTube.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.