Information is Power
The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the real estate industry is yet to be determined. Will there be buyers ready to jump into the market when the “all clear” signal has been given? Will there be homeowners ready to list their property after the hunkering down phase is over? These are great questions and no one, unfortunately, has the crystal ball to predict the outcome.
This doesn’t mean that preparing your property for listing has to wait. In addition to adding “curb appeal,” consider having a Pre-Listing Inspection. This thorough inspection will identify potential issues that likely will come up during a buyer’s inspection. Undisclosed issues weaken your negotiating position and may delay--or even kill--the deal.
There is divided opinion among realtors about the value of a Pre-Listing Inspection. Why would a homeowner want to deal with house problems if they are selling it anyway? My view: Information is power! The more a homeowner can disclose to a prospective buyer ahead of time, the more that lessens the chance of surprises at the 11th hour. We all know that the unexpected creates stress and unpleasant negotiations. A Pre-Listing Inspection is being proactive instead of reactive; it is planning instead of just letting things happen which gives you, the homeowner, a clear benefit.
Listing and selling one’s home is a stressful task that everyone hopes will go without hiccups. A Pre-Listing Inspection will provide you with peace of mind before a prospective buyer even walks through your door.
Clean Your Dryer Vent!
The recent story of two young children dying in a North Hero fire really got to me. The cause of the fire was determined to be a dryer vent that had not been cleaned. As a home inspector, I always look at the dryer vent and make a point of including it on my list of concerns if it needs cleaning. It is such an easy thing to forget about or ignore, but when the duct gets plugged with a thick coating of lint, it can be a serious fire hazard. If your dryer vent has not been cleaned in a while, DO IT THIS WEEK! There are a number of companies that you can hire to do the job if you are not a DIY'er. Servpro of Burlington/Middlebury is one such firm. Shawn Zwick is the guy to contact. 802-497-7436, email@example.com. This is serious business so don't put it off, and be sure to check it annually!
While you are focused on this issue, check out the type of vent duct you have installed in the house. Make sure it is METAL DUCT, not flexible mylar or vinyl. The flexible materials have an irregular surface which tends to catch and hold bits of lint more than smooth walled metal duct. The mylar duct has actually been called out as a fire hazard by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. You don't want that as part of your dryer vent assembly, so if you find it, replace it. The challenge is usually accessing the back of the dryer to connect the duct. If you need a flexible section to do this, make sure it is the flexible METAL duct. That has very small ridges that allow it to bend when the dryer is pushed back into place.
Thanks for reading. You will sleep better at night after you have a clean dryer vent!
It is very important for you to hire an inspector that knows all the technical stuff. They must be able to identify potential problems with all aspects of the house, but for most inspectors, that is the easy part! Communicating that information to the client in a clear and accessible way is what makes an inspector stand out. Here is what good communication looks like:
Read an inspector’s reviews on Angie’s List or other sources. Look at a sample report on the inspector’s website. This research will help you identify and inspector who is skilled at good, clear communication which is by far the most important part of an effective home inspection.
Dutton Smith is the owner and operator of HomeSmith Services. You can read more about him under the "My Qualifications" tab.