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We have some inside information for you: it dawned on us recently that a home inspection report could panic a buyer for two reasons. The first is when one or more significant items come up that represent a major expense – this one is obvious. The second reason is less obvious and involves a buyers’ response to a large list of problems, even though many of them may be simple to repair and are just deferred maintenance items.

It is believed that many buyer over-reactions may occur because they either don’t want to tend to the many repair items or they are viewing the home as poorly maintained. Understanding this potential buyer reaction gives you an Advantage (pun intended).

To get top dollar, consider having the seller hire a handyman to go around and repair the little things that show up during a home inspection and tend to overwhelm buyers. A list of things to consider having a handyman repair before a home inspector arrives at the property is:

  1. Replace/fix all non-working lights (e.g. change bulbs).
  2. Tighten all loose electrical outlets, switches and light fixtures.
  3. Replace all missing or broken switch and outlet cover plates.
  4. Test all GFCI’s to make sure they shut off when tripped and reset properly – have an electrician repair if necessary. Install GFCI protection (if missing) at all currently required areas if you want to go the extra mile.
  5. Test outlets using a tester to make sure they are properly wired – fix if needed.
  6. Get all ceiling fans fully operational and fix any wobbling.
  7. Put an “anti-tip” bracket on the oven if it does not already exist.
  8. Fix any leaks at outside faucets, inside faucets, below sinks and at toilets.
  9. Route the dishwasher discharge line into a “high-loop” if not already done.
  10. Tighten any loose faucets and make sure the handle on the left side controls the hot water. Repair or replace any missing/inoperative stoppers at all sinks and tubs. Replace any leaking, corroded or non-working shut off valves.
  11. Fix all interior and exterior door problems like sticking, loose hinges and locksets, doors not latching, bottom door guides missing on bi-pass doors.
  12. Inspect, lubricate and adjust/repair windows so that they all operate. Make sure screens are installed.

To really WOW your seller at a listing presentation, explain your insight on this issue and offer to reimburse them $XXX dollars for the handyman when the deal closes. If you are having a Pre-Listing inspection performed, we suggest doing the handyman repairs before the inspector arrives so the inspection report demonstrates exceptional levels of home maintenance.

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