Whether you are a seller preparing your home for sale, a homeowner who wants to properly maintain your house, a savvy realty agent who wants to understand how a professional home inspector views houses, or a home buyer, reading “The Inspector’s Guide: Prepare Your House for Sale” by Bob Reemsnyder will be profitable reading.
The author is an experienced professional home inspector who has conducted several thousand inspections. He has discovered virtually every home inspection situation by crawling under houses, climbing into attics, and even finding unexpected “guests” such as mice, rats, raccoons, snakes and spiders where they aren’t supposed to be.
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This easy-reading book is aimed primarily at home sellers who are preparing their residences for sale. Reemsnyder advises having a professional home inspection before listing the home for sale so the seller knows what the buyer’s professional inspector will discover.
The author recommends fixing easily correctable defects but perhaps leaving the expensive problems for negotiation with the buyer.
The basic theme of the book is preparing your home for sale to get top dollar. Along the way, Reemsnyder offers profitable tips such as painting rooms with water stains where the source has been corrected. He also advises not bringing up past house history, such as when the basement flooded but the problem has been eradicated.
Especially valuable are the dozens of photos of possible problems, many of which the home seller might not recognize because the homeowner has become accustomed to the situation.
Examples include dry rot due to moisture, damage caused by squirrels, correctable roof problems, stairway dangers and improperly installed insulation.
“It is better to have major problems resolved prior to the home inspection, or at the very least, have readily available solutions at hand, than to have the home inspector be the first to identify potential problems,” Reemsnyder wisely advises home sellers.
Along the way, the author shares many examples from his professional inspection experiences. One which he titles “Attack of the angry seller” explains how an elderly seller’s husband cursed the author for entering the house without permission, although the wife had welcomed him a few minutes earlier.
In other examples, Reemsnyder emphasizes how sellers often make poor decisions, such as not having all house areas easily accessible, turning off the utilities, and even claiming dirty well water, which came back from a lab test positive for fecal bacteria, was perfectly safe.
The book’s best chapter is “Questions frequently asked by home buyers.” The author reveals the most common questions he is asked by home buyers (who he encourages to attend since they are paying for his inspection). Not only does Reemsnyder list these top buyer questions he encounters, but he tells home sellers how to anticipate and prevent them from becoming “deal killers.”
Chapter topics include “What You Should Know About Home Inspections”; “The Outdoors”; “The Indoors”; “The Utilities”; “Special Considerations”; “Tips and Suggestions”; and “The Next Step.” The superb Appendix includes a professional inspection checklist and approximate repair and improvement costs for frequently encountered home defects.
This book explains in easy-to-understand detail what professional home inspectors look for during their two- to three-hour inspections. The author encourages pre-listing inspections because they give home sellers the opportunity to anticipate and fix problems that their buyer’s inspector will surely discover. On my scale of one to 10, this outstanding home inspection guide rates a solid 10.
“The Inspector’s Guide: Prepare Your House for Sale,” by Bob Reemsnyder (Lyons Press-Globe Pequot Press, Guilford, CT), 2005, $14.95, 141 pages; Available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries and www.amazon.com.
(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center).
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