So, you have decided to sell your home and want to get the highest possible price. Sounds reasonable. As a property owner, you realize that there is always something that needs to be fixed or replace and the property may never be perfect.
To maximize the price you will receive for your home it is important to make it as easy as possible for someone else to see themselves living in your home. Buyers aren't expecting everything to be perfect but they will feel better understanding the overall condition of a home. As a seller who wants top dollar, taking the time to complete property inspections before listing your home will help identify deal breakers for a buyer.
In most cases, I recommend to my clients to hire a property inspector and a termite inspector. Their fees can range anywhere from $550-$900 in total depending on the size of the home but are well worth the cost. Not only will this allow you to uncover potential issues that will prevent you from getting top dollar for your home, it may also give buyers piece of mind to submit an offer that is not contingent on buyer investigations. The less contingencies in an offer the less risk of negotiations in later stages of your closing that may impact the sell price or prevent the deal from moving forward. Having a fresh set of trained eyes inspect your property might uncover these potential issues that could delay the sell of your home.
A typical item that can be flagged during a property inspection would be an electrical panel issue. These issues are typically something a seller may not know about but they might scare off a potential buyer. Let's consider how a potential buyer may view an electrical panel issue, what reaction this may cause from the buyer and what it might cost you to fix it.
Potential Big Ticket Inspection Item
Homeowners often only make repairs on an as needed basis. The electrical panel on your home is no exception. Unless something has gone wrong, many homeowners never even open up their electrical panels much less have them serviced.
You may have known there were some issues but this was the way the electrical panel was when you purchased the home. The property inspector your potential buyer hires is going to flag every spliced wire, double tap and out of specification breaker he or she can find. This is the inspectors job and what they are getting paid to do.
The inspector will walk through all the issues found with the buyer and may or may not offer their advice on each issue and options of how they might fix each problem. The buyer can sometimes assume the worst case scenario and may begin to think they are in over their head or feel they paid to much for the property. If the buyers broker can convince their client everything is fine he or she will now have the leverage they need to request an inspection credit that will reduce the overall purchase price offer. Replay this scenario for the foundation, roof, plumbing, windows, floors, exterior, etc and you can start to see how a lot of little issues can add up to a request for a very large inspection credit or re-negotiation of the purchase price.
Now lets assume you completed the pre-sale inspections before putting your home on the market. As your inspector identified all the issues that needed to be fixed or updated on your electrical panel your agent could help you identify those items that a buyer may potentially have concerns with. You can then pay an electrician a small amount of money to come out and address all of the concerning issues. You will now have a clean electrical panel which your agent can use to point out how well maintained you have kept your property. You can also ask for a re-inspection after you have made the fixes so that you have a very clean report to share with any potential buyers.
Now you are ready to receive an offer and settle on an agreed price with less concern for potential buyers asking for inspection credits. In a strong sellers market, you may see offers with no property contingencies since you have already done due diligence to perform inspections and any concerns a buyer may have should already be reflected in the purchase offer price. If the buyer does decide to have a property contingency to allow time to do their own inspections the electrical doesn't get flagged and the buyer is satisfied.
In the end, understanding all the potential properties issues that may arise by hiring a trained professional to assess your property should pay for itself by allowing you to sell your home more quickly and for the highest possible price.