10 Tips for a Smooth Home Inspection
Big price reductions, expensive closing costs and withdrawn offers are a home seller’s nightmare. Luckily, you can prevent surprises and stumbling blocks to the closing table by properly preparing your home for inspection. Read along to find out how to prep your home, what to expect during an inspection and how long you’ll have to be away from your home.
How Can You Get Your Home Inspection Ready?
The first step when preparing for a home inspection is simple but often overlooked: clean up! A clean home sets the tone and will show your inspector that your home is well-maintained and cared for.
You’ll also want to make sure you leave plenty of space for your inspector to access your utilities. Inspectors usually won’t move your belongings around, so if they don’t have enough room to examine your various appliances and utilities, you may end up having to reschedule, which will cost you both time and money.
What’s Included in a Home Inspection?
At a high level, some of the major things your home 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 over the interior structures of the home. This includes the condition of the flooring, walls, doors and windows.
Major Systems: Your inspector will also perform running tests on the water systems in the home, turning on each and every faucet to test water flow, cold water output and hot water output. They will also test the refrigerator, dishwasher, oven/stove and all of 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 each thing your inspector will inspect? Check out our comprehensive home inspection list here. This list allows you to do your own home inspection beforehand, and fix what needs to be repaired.
Get the Most Out of a Home Inspection with These Tips
So, what else can you do to ensure your home is inspection ready? We put together these 10 tips for you to use as your personal home inspection checklist. Following these steps will help ensure your inspection goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible:
1. Confirm that the water, electrical and gas services are turned on, and that gas pilot lights are lit.
2. Make sure your pets won’t hinder the inspection. Ideally, they should be removed from your home or secured outside.
3. Replace burned-out light bulbs to avoid a “light is inoperable” report that may suggest an electrical problem.
4. Test smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors and replace any dead batteries.
5. Clean or replace dirty HVAC air filters. They should fit securely.
6. Move stored items, debris and wood from the foundation. These may be cited as conducive conditions for termites.
7. Remove items blocking access to HVAC equipment, electrical service panels, water heaters, the attic and crawlspace.
8. Unlock any locked areas that your home inspector must access, such as the attic door or hatch, electrical service panel, the door to the basement and any exterior gates.
9. Trim tree limbs so that they’re at least 10 feet from the roof. Trim any shrubs that are too close to the house and can hide pests or hold moisture against the exterior. If necessary, hire a professional to do this.
10. Repair or replace any broken or missing items, such as doorknobs, locks and latches, windowpanes and screens, gutters and downspouts, and chimney caps.
You should also expect to be away from your home for at least three hours. Wondering why you have to leave? 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 the inspector as well. Our advice? Try and schedule the inspection for a time you’ll be out of the house to 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.
This information was originally published on Selman Home Inspections. This has been republished for additional education purposes. This article is not affiliated with any links or products that appear on the same pages. Read more about our editorial policy. This article has been updated from its previous submission on Aug 29, 2018 to reflect updated information.