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Home Inspection 101: Seller’s Guide To Getting Your Home Inspection-Ready

Hanna Kielar November 2, 2023

As you prepare to sell your home, you want your home inspection to go well and prevent any surprises on the day of your inspection. There are several ways to avoid potential nightmares such as expensive closing costs, additional renovations or even a withdrawn offer. Read on for tips on how to prepare your home and what to expect out of an inspection.

The First Step To Getting Your Home Ready

The first thing you’ll do when preparing your home for an inspection is to clean it. Your clean home will show the inspector that your home is well-maintained and cared for. It will set the expectation that the appliances and other elements that will be inspected are in equally good shape.

Ensuring a smooth home inspection

As you tidy up, you’ll want to make sure all the appliances are easily accessible for your inspector. This may mean moving some furniture or clearing a path to utilities such as water heaters. Inspectors aren’t required to move your belongings, so make sure there’s enough room to access various appliances and utilities that there’s no need to have to reschedule. Rescheduling will cost you and the buyer more time and money.

What’s Included In A Home Inspection?

The major things your inspector will look at are:

Physical Structures: This includes checking the driveway, garage floor, roofing, attic spaces and foundations for any major issues.

Interior Structures: In addition to the home’s physical structures, an inspector will look inside the home to assess the condition of the living spaces. They’ll look at the flooring, walls, doors and windows.

Major Systems: Your inspector will also perform running tests on the water systems in the home. In this procedure, they’ll turn on every faucet to test water flow, cold water output and hot water output. They’ll also test the refrigerator, dishwasher, oven, stove and all the toilets for basic functionality and performance.

Utilities: As part of the major systems check, your home inspector will assess and give you a detailed report on the quality of electrical lines in your home as well as your gas service.

Want an itemized list of what your inspector will inspect? Check out our comprehensive home inspection list here. This list allows you to do your own preliminary home inspection beforehand and fix what needs to be repaired.

Get The Most Out Of A Home Inspection With These Tips

Beyond being aware of what will be inspected and making sure that you present your home well, there’s more you can do to get the most out of your home inspection. Here are 10 steps for you to follow to ensure a smooth inspection process:

  1. Turn it on: Confirm that all of your services are turned on. This includes your water, electric and gas services. You may need to make phone calls to these providers to ensure that they’re up and running before the inspection. When your gas service is on, ensure that the pilot light is lit.
  2. Pets: Ensure that your pets won’t hinder the inspection. Some inspectors will ask that pets be removed from the home while they’re there. You may want to plan to have your pets secured outside or off the property during the inspection.
  3. Everything works: You may also want to replace burned-out lightbulbs to avoid a “light is inoperable” report that suggests an electrical problem. You should ensure that any electrical outlets are in working order as well.
  4. Working detectors: Replace any batteries in smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors and make sure they work. Most smoke and carbon monoxide testers have a “test” button to help you know they’re functioning properly.
  5. Air Filters: Ensure that all heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) air filters are clean and fit in their compartments properly. You may want to replace your filters before your home inspection.
  6. Pests: Avoid any red flags for bugs on your home inspection such as moving stored items, debris and wood from the foundation of your home as they’re a breeding ground for termites. If you’ve had pest issues in the past, you may want to have an exterminator look at your house before the inspector comes to make sure you don’t have any existing issues with pests.
  7. Utility access: Ensure that the inspector will have access to everything they need to assess. This includes the HVAC equipment, electrical service panels, water heaters, attics, crawlspaces and any other appliances in your home.
  8. Room access: Unlock any areas that your inspector needs to access. This includes the attic door or hatch, electrical service panels, the basement and any other doors or exterior gates. You’ll want the inspector to be able to access every area of your home.
  9. Lawn hazards: If you have trees in your yard, make sure that any limbs are at least 10 feet away from the roof. You may want to trim your shrubs and check that they’re not too close to your house. You’ll also want to remove any foliage that’s growing too close to the exterior because some foliage can hide pests or hold moisture against the exterior of your home. If necessary, hire a professional to remove any overgrowth in your lawn.
  10. Repair and replace: You’ll want your home to look well-maintained. Repair or replace any broken or missing items. This may include doorknobs, fixtures, locks and latches on doors, windowpanes or window screens. On the outside of your home this may include gutters, downspouts and chimney caps.

A typical home inspection lasts about 3 hours. Oftentimes, the home buyer will attend the home inspection as it’s likely the first time they’ll be seeing the home since putting in an offer and potentially the last time before their final walkthrough. Having the homeowner present during this inspection can be uncomfortable for not only your potential new buyer, but for the inspector as well. Our advice is to schedule the inspection at a time when you’ll be out of the house. This will help make your buyer feel comfortable and more at home.

It’s no secret that most home sellers share the same goal: Get the best possible offer for their home. Preparing your home to be inspection-ready will not only help ensure your potential buyer will stick around through closing, but it will also give you and your buyer peace of mind about your home’s value.