Ever sold a house? Your own, I mean. You Realtors can put your hands down. Unless you’re a Realtor who has sold your own house. In that case, you’re back in!
The experiences will vary, but most conscientious home sellers are eager to get their house in tip-top shape before it goes on the market. They touch up the caulking and paint, declutter, rid the house of pet odors or musty smells. Many even have a Home Inspector do a pre-market home inspection, so they have an idea of what needs to be addressed.
Did you know that some of the actions listed above might make a third party suspicious? It’s true! Sadly, I have seen with my own eyes the lengths to which some people will go to hide deficiencies in their home. Most recently we inspected a house (with a rather large price tag) that had poorly done wood putty in most window sills and paint so fresh it was still tacky. Another troubling aspect was that the windows, though not all that old, were not operating.
Sure, it’s no crime to prepare your home for sale by touching up some things and making repairs to others. In the case of the aforementioned expensive house, however, I later found out that the seller in question had made an appointment with another Home Inspector on two separate occasions and both times the seller had refused to let the Inspector enter the house. Hmmmm. Seems odd, doesn’t it?
Most Home Inspectors today will make a note of the smell of fresh paint, or newly applied texture to walls and ceilings. These will definitely be items of interest to someone performing a wood destroying insect inspection. It may be that it’s nothing but freshening up the house for sale, or the results of a remodel, but the liability that Home Inspectors face makes us wary of neglecting to mention these types of items, just in case things aren’t on the up and up.
Please don’t let this information deter you from making legitimate repairs or maintenance to your home. Just keep it in mind so you’re not taken by surprise if it comes up in the course of the sale. 99% of the time it won’t be meant to offend. People just want to be confident in the home they’ve chosen to buy. Let’s face it, with the way things are today, you can’t blame people for asking the question.
Intentionally covering up a problem is not just bad form, it carries with it legal ramifications that can and will follow you. If you fill out a Seller’s Disclosure that fails to list known problems, your troubles with that home are far from over if your buyer decides to take it to court. It’s just not worth it, folks.
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