If you are planning to sell your home, then there is a good chance that it will be inspected once you have it under contract. Although home inspections are not required by most lenders, most buyers will want to have the home inspected right after they get the home under contract. A home inspection will help to protect the buyer by showing them the condition of the home. There are some things that the homeowner can do to help the buyer to get a more positive inspection report – and, obviously, a better report will help the buyer to see the home in a more positive light, and will increase the likelihood that he/she will go through with the purchase of your home. So while not completely necessary, preparing for a home inspection can help you in the long run.
I have conducted thousands of home inspections, and have seen a lot of problems on the homes that I have inspected. Many of the problems that I see time and time again are very obvious and easily corrected and can be done practically at the last minute, while others are things that you need to do well in advance of the inspection. As you read through this list, you will see that there are some very simple things that you can do, while others are more time consuming and expensive. It is up to you to decide how much you want to do. Just keep in mind that the more you do, the better the inspection report will be when the buyer receives it.
- Make sure any burned out light bulbs have been replaced.
- Ensure your smoke detectors are working – and that you have them in all areas where they are required. They are required in all bedrooms, in hallways adjoining multiple bedrooms, and on all levels of the home.
- Check under all of your sinks and make sure none of the drain lines are leaking. If you see a leak, it is often as simple as tightening up the fittings on the drain line.
- Make sure all sinks and tubs drain well. Use some drain cleaner or take apart the drain trap on any drains that are slow.
- Fix any leaking faucets.
- Caulk around tubs or showers as small cracks easily form over time in these areas.
- Replace any broken windows, and replace missing or damaged screens.
- Make sure all windows open and close easily. Many people do not use their windows at all, and after years of non-use, they are often difficult to open.
- Clean debris off of the roof. Replace any damaged shingles. Trim any tree limbs that are touching or close to touching the roof.
- Clean out your gutters. Fix any areas where the gutters are loose or sagging. Reattach or replace any missing or loose downspouts. Add downspout extensions, if necessary, to ensure that the water drains away from the home’s foundation.
- Trim trees or shrubs away from the home.
- Repair or replace rotted or damaged wood on the home.
- Scrape any loose or peeling paint on your siding and trim. Touch up any bare wood with new paint.
- Seal cracks in the brick veneer with a silicon-based exterior-grade caulk. You do not want to use a non-flexible mortar or concrete for this as it can cause further damage when the cracks try to close up at some point in the future.
Most of the items above are things you should begin doing well before the inspection – before the home is even put on the market. Now as the time for the inspection approaches, there are some last-minute items that need to be taken care of. These are listed below.
- Clean your house. While home inspectors do not inspect the cleanliness of homes, they can be affected by the cleanliness or non-cleanliness of a home. It is only human for us to assume that a clean house is better maintained than a non-clean home is, so in some ways, a clean home can result in a better inspection report.
- Make sure there is clear access to the attic, the electrical panel, the crawlspace under the home (if there is one), and the furnace.
- Leave the sink and dishwasher empty since both of these will be inspected.
- Make sure the oven is empty. I have seen many times where people hid all their dirty pots and pans in the oven. Do not do this as the oven will need to be turned on during the inspection.
On the day of the inspection, plan to do the following:
- Plan to be gone from the home during the inspection. The inspection will normally take two or three hours.
- Take pets with you or secure them so they will not be running loose while the inspector is at your home. Putting them in the back yard will not work as the inspector will have to go into the back yard during the inspection.
- Leave keys to outbuildings or other locked rooms or closets.
- If the home is vacant then you should also make sure that all utilities are on and that all pilots are lit.
By doing these things, you can help to ensure that the home inspection goes more smoothly and that the inspector finds fewer deficiencies. One thing that you may want to consider is having a “prelisting” inspection done on your home before or shortly after you list it. Doing this will identify all of the items that a prospective buyer’s inspector would also find. This prelisting inspection will give you the opportunity to correct the deficiencies before they potentially become issues for your prospective buyer.
If you have any questions or comments about preparing your home for an inspection, please feel free to leave a comment.
Owner of Morgan Inspection Services