How to Sell a House in Central PA

An insider's guide to selling a home in the Greater Harrisburg area.

the podcast

E001:  Home Inspections: Interview with John Staz of Enviroquest Inspections

Enviroquest Home Inspections & Radon Mitigation



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Very happy to finally release the very first episode of our "How to Sell a House in Central PA" podcast! John of Enviroquest Home Inspections and Radon Mitigation was kind enough to join me for my first recording and was great at providing useful info for Central PA home sellers (and buyers). Inspections are definitely one of the biggest things that happen during the home sale process, so this episode highlights some of the important things to think about as well as what to expect.

In general, most home buyers are going to elect to perform the 3 most common inspections as part of their due diligence immediately following getting "under contract" (under contract meaning buyer and seller have come to an agreement on price and terms and both parties have fully executed all of the required paperwork). The 3 most common inspections are:

1. GENERAL / COMPREHENSIVE INSPECTION - This is the main inspection that takes a couple of hours that goes over everything from HVAC to electrical to plumbing to windows and roof, etc. etc. The buyer will get a thick report with outlines summaries and photos of all the home defects both inside and out as found by that inspector.

2. WOOD DESTROYING INSECTS INSPECTION - The home inspector (can be performed by the home inspector, or by a pest control specialist) will perform a visual inspection of the interior and exterior to see if there is any evidence of wood destroying insects (termites, wood bees, wood ants, etc.) and will recommend or not recommend further evaluation and/or treatment.

3. RADON TESTING - The home inspector will place a couple of radon testing canisters in the house in different places and retrieve them after a few days, and then the canisters are tested for levels of radon (could also be performed by anyone that buys a testing kit...just takes a bit longer to get the results back, and better to let the pro do it so there is no disputing the results). If the average level is higher than 4.0pCi/L, then a mitigation system is recommended. These typically cost around $800-1,000 and sellers usually end up having to do it if it tests high, so just be prepared for that; high probability in PA.

There are other additional home inspections that buyers can elect/ask to perform, but these are the ones you'll see the most. 10 days from full execution of the paperwork by all parties is the average time period for inspections...much shorter, and it might be tough to get everything done in time; much longer, and the buyers are dragging their feet and not performing fast the seller, you want the buyer to get their inspections done as fast as reasonably possible so you can get that part of the process out of the way. (especially since this can be the most costly piece of the home selling process for home sellers)

During the negotiation process, the seller can refuse to allow certain or all home inspections for whatever reason, but in most cases with a typical buyer, the buyer absolutely will not buy the home without performing inspections, that just wouldn't be smart, so you pretty much have to allow at least the typical inspections. After inspections, the buyer will ask the seller to fix certain items, or give money off the price, or give some seller assistance towards the buyer's closing costs, or some combination of these things; or in the worst cases, possibly just terminate the contract to buy. This begins another negotiation process to come to an agreement regarding the buyer's findings and what they feel needs to be repaired or remedied. Assuming you come to an agreement (most do), you will continue on with the sale process and move one step closer to settling/closing on your home.

There are many other things to keep in mind and be aware of regarding home inspections, but this is a good quick overview, and if you just assume you'll probably have to fix something, you won't be as surprised and overwhelmed when the buyer starts asking for things. ...although hopefully you have staged and made repairs as much as possible prior to going on the market, so most of the risk has already been mitigated - some home sellers even go the step further and get their own home inspection and address concerns ahead of time. Then buyers have no reason to use to offer less money or ask for money off after inspections. (keep in mind, buyers will still do their own inspections, but hopefully their inspector doesn't uncover a lot of items that yours missed... if you use a good inspector, that shouldn't be an issue)

At the end of the day, if you make your home as ready to go as possible, the more money you will get.

Please SHARE & COMMENT if you find this helpful. Thanks for listening!