How Do Sellers Prepare For a Home Inspection?
How to prepare your home to be inspected.
Reaching the point of a home inspection is a good thing. The home has been listed, found interested buyers, and negotiated on a price. Don’t ease up on the pedal, yet. Keep the forward momentum
and put your home’s best foot forward for the inspection.
First things first: it’s not personal. As inspectors, we are reporting on the condition of the home at the time of inspection. What you feel to be acceptable condition of certain aspects of the home may not be acceptable to others. Our job is not to help the buyer find an opportunity for a discount. Our job is to identify any deficiencies or safety concerns and report them to our customer, the buyer.
As always, there are simple things you can do to allow a smooth inspection and showcase your home, rather than create more questions that may lead to cold feet or follow-up inspections.
1. Allow access to the attic, storage areas, and crawl spaces. A solid inspector will investigate these areas looking for moisture intrusion, electrical systems, and structural components. Clearing out personal items near the access point will allow the inspector to do their job.
2. Replace burnt out bulbs. Super simple, but it shows that all of the switches are working and what they control. A well maintained home is easy to spot and sets the buyers at ease.
3. Run each faucet throughout the home and confirm there are no leaks. A common discovery is leaking plumbing in an area that is rarely used, such as a guest bathroom. We often hear “ We’ve never had a problem before...”. We have a problem now. Please get ahead of it.
4. Have your furnace serviced if it’s beenfor than a year. As a “big ticket item,” the furnace being inspected by a qualified HVAC specialist is significant plus. If unable to service before the inspection, share the date of the future inspection on the furnace with a post-it note. Also, replace the filter on any forced air system.
5. Clean your gutters and align your downspouts. A very common discovery that the gutters are full of leaves and debris and/or the downspouts have become disconnected and water has caused erosion or worse, water in the basement. The purpose of the system is to control and dispose of rain water towards a designated spot. Any failure along the way is a problem. You never know, it may rain on your inspection day.
6. For those with private septic systems (not town sewer hookups), show receipts for recent pumping (should be every 2-3 years, depending on how many live in the home). Better yet, have the system pumped before the inspection. Show the buyer that you've cared for the home since you've owned it. Prove it.
7. Fix it! You know that loose doorknob, cracked switch plate, and missing smoke detector You’ve been meaning to get to? Now is the time. Each home will have a list of deficiencies, regardless of age and quality. Why make that list any longer than it needs to be?
8. Do the dishes and the laundry. Keep the sink and appliances empty. It may seem obvious, but we see this every day. A good, thorough cleaning is great as well. The inspector will be on his hands and knees poking around, often with the potential buyer.
9. Make sure your utilities are all on and fuel and propane tanks have enough to test the appliances. Running out just means a repeat inspection, often at the sellers expense, and a possible delay in closing.
10. A little caulking goes a long way. Replacing or adding caulking around tubs, showers and sinks will keep areas from leaking, remove signs of mold, and provide a near appearance.
The above suggestions and putting yourself in the buyers shoes will only improve the inspection process and keep your home on track for a smooth transaction.
Remember, perception is reality. This is the first time the buyers are given complete access for several hours. If the home appears to have been neglected and full of problems on inspection day, this may not be the home for them.