During the home inspection, properties are examined top to bottom, with emphasis placed on evaluating the roof, walls, foundation, plumbing system, electrical system, and HVAC system. Inspectors will also check for the operational ability of installed systems, such as garbage disposals and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as for leaks, wood decay, and other signs of water damage. It is common for current homeowners to get nervous during the home inspection process. They don’t want the deal to fall through, nor do they want to be stuck with the cost and burden of repairs if buyers request them as a contingency. Fortunately, there are some things homeowners can do to prepare for the inspection.
As a seller, it’s common to get nervous during the home inspection process. You don’t want the deal to fall through, nor do you want to be stuck with the cost and burden of repairs if your buyer requests them as a contingency. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prepare for the inspection.
Provide access to areas that need to be checked
Make sure that the home inspector has easy access throughout the property. If they can’t get to an area, they can’t inspect it, and that will be a red flag for buyers. Clear away any clutter impeding access to areas or systems that the inspector needs to take a look at, including basements, crawl spaces, attics, furnace rooms, electrical panels, and under sinks.
Clear the perimeter
In addition to checking the interior functioning of your home, the inspector is also going to be looking at the exterior, including siding, trims, and caulking around windows and doors. Leave areas around the home clear of plant growth, trash cans, and stored items so they can get an unimpeded look.
Check the roof
Anita Johnston cleaning moss off a roof
When’s the last time the roof was maintained? For most sellers, it’s been a while. The roof is a key part of the home inspection though. Clean moss and debris from the gutters, check for damaged or missing shingles and make sure downspouts are in their proper position. Look at the roof shingles. If any damage is found, get it taken care of prior to the home inspection.
Keep a clean house
In going through the process of selling the home the homeowner is probably already pretty adept at this point in keeping everything clean and tidy. Resist the urge to let things build up after an accepted offer and maintain the same level of cleanliness for the home inspector. How clean the home is doesn’t play into the inspection itself, but a dirty or messy house may make the inspector suspicious that other areas of the property aren’t properly taken care of either.
Replace any bulbs that are out
A blown bulb suggests two things to a home inspector: either the bulb itself is out, or there’s something faulty in the fixture’s wiring. The inspector will either have to waste time determining whether a fixture is inoperable or they’ll simply note that there’s a possible defect without looking further into it. Avoid both of these scenarios by making sure that all of your bulbs are in working order.
Make sure your toilets are functioning properly
Does the toilet run for a long time after you flush? It’s a common problem that gets easy to ignore when you’re living with it every day, but it’s not something you want your home inspector to come upon. Fixing a running toilet is an easy and inexpensive repair you can take care of on your own with a simple trip to the hardware store.
Servicing the furnace and putting in a fresh furnace return filter
Servicing the furnace and replacing the furnace filter is important for air quality and the overall functioning of the heating system. Instead of making the inspector concerned that the furnace hasn’t been cared for, get it serviced by a qualified heating contractor. If the furnace has not been serviced within the past year the inspector will often suggest cleaning and service. Since most heating contractors do not put a service sticker on the furnace leave the work order in a visible area for the inspector.
Turn all pilot lights on
The pilot light in the water heater is probably always on (and would have noticed already if it wasn’t), but what about the pilot light in the gas fireplace? Many homeowners turn their fireplace off in warmer months, so it’s important to double-check that the pilot light – and the fireplace itself – is working prior to inspection.
Ensure the electrical box is properly labeled
A confusing electrical box is frustrating for buyers and home inspectors alike. Double-check that each breaker in the box is labeled clearly and correctly, and replace any labels that are incorrect or difficult to read. Also, make sure there is proper access to the main electrical panel. Home inspectors need access to remove the panel cover.
Check your doors
Take a walk-through the house and check each door to make sure that it’s in working condition. Interior and exterior doors should be latching into the frame with no problem, doorknobs should be securely in place, and any locks, particularly on doors that lead outside, need to be functioning properly as well. Sometimes cold or heat can warp normally functional doors and lead to problems, so be sure to check all doors, including those you don’t use very often.
Repair faulty cabinets
It’s easy for the hinges on cabinets to get a bit loose, which results in doors that don’t close correctly or that aren’t flush with the frame. For a cabinet that’s looking off, it can usually be fixed pretty simply just by tightening the hinge with a screwdriver.
Look for leaks and water damage
The home inspector is definitely going to be looking for signs of leaks or water damage, so it’s better you beat them to it and get any water-related issues repaired prior to the inspection. When looking for leaks, be sure to check under sinks, around faucets, around the base of your toilets and bathtubs and/or showers, and under any appliances that may leak, such as dishwashers and refrigerators. In terms of water damage, examine walls, ceilings, and floors, looking for signs of warping, sagging, or buckling. Don’t forget to check the exterior of your house for signs of leaks or water damage as well. If you see water pooling near the base of your house, that should be a cause for concern. Especially check to make sure there is no standing water in the crawl space.
Take care of any bug problems
Most of us have to occasionally deal with an errant ant, fleas, or spiders in the home, especially in warmer temperatures. But if a wasp nest in the backyard or lines of ants in the kitchen or other interior areas are present, take care of these problems prior to inspection. Most bug problems aren’t a huge deal, but they can turn off buyers.
Prepare the seller on the day of the inspection
By the day of the home inspection, current homeowners should have done everything they can to prepare. Now, it’s just about making sure it goes as smoothly as possible. To do that, keep all utilities on, double-check that there is clear access to areas and systems all around the house, and unlock any gates, electrical boxes, or other areas that you normally keep secure. Prepare the current homeowner to vacate the house during the inspection. It’s best to remove any pets, but if not, make sure they’re safely crated or otherwise secured. At this point, take a deep breath. Most buyers aren’t expecting complete perfection; they just want to know that there are no heavy burdens waiting for them. It’s common for the home inspector to note a few minor issues, but most of the time, if there’s something serious to detect the homeowner has already figured it out on their own.
At this point, take a deep breath. Most buyers aren’t expecting complete perfection; they just want to know that there are no heavy burdens waiting for them. It’s common for the home inspector to note a few minor issues, but most of the time, if there’s something serious to detect you’ve already figured it out on your own.
–Reprinted in part from Moving.com