The Home InspectionMost of the time, a buyer will include a home inspection contingency in the offer on a home. A home inspector may be hired by a buyer to determine the condition of a home.
A seller may also hire a home inspector to conduct a pre-listing home inspection. Some home sellers find it valuable to understand what condition their home is in and make necessary repairs before they list it for sale.
If a buyer has decided to hire an inspector, there are ways for the seller to get the most out of the process, and ensure it is a quick and relatively painless inspection.
While we advise getting your home in the best condition that you can before you list your home on the market, there are always a few items that get left off that list. Most sellers end up with at least a few items on the home inspectors list that will require attention before closing the sale.
There are small, and in some cases, larger measures to take to speed up a home sale inspection by preparing the home ahead of time. The home inspection will go smoother, and there will be fewer opportunities for a closing to be delayed if the seller addresses repairs that are needed.
Preparing the Home for the Market
The first step a homeowner can take is to make sure everything that is supposed to work actually works. Starting with light fixtures, the owner should make sure lights are functioning, including replacing non-working light bulbs.
If bulbs are out, an inspector’s note will read that the fixture does not operate properly, based on his or her observation at the time. The buyers will usually ask for a licensed electrician to check the fixtures, costing you a service fee that you probably would have been happy not spending. Both inside and outside lights need to be checked.
Appliances need to be operational as well. If you have records of service and repairs over the time you’ve owned the home, print and keep them handy for potential buyers to view. Evidence of a well-kept home will be valuable.
Clean or replace dirty HVAC air filters. Filters should fit securely.
Preparing the Home’s Exterior
When checking outside, the inspector will examine the foundation to make sure any grade or mulch is removed from contact with the siding or foundation. The grade should slope away from the structure. We’ve seen countless problems with basement moisture that built up over the years because of bad grading. The expense of fixing your grading problem is much more tenable than installing a water proofing system, like a “desert dry basement system”.
The inspector will also check for standing water, sick or dying trees, and walkways or hardscaping.
Preparing for The Home Inspection
Once the inspection is scheduled, sellers should plan to spend the week before the appointment getting the home ready. The most important items that should be addressed prior to the inspection include:
- Clearing all walkways of debris and obstacles so the inspector can easily move around.
- Inspectors need access to all areas of the house, attic, roof and garage. The inspector will also need access to any crawlspace, heating system, air-conditioning unit, the electrical service panel cover and water heater.
- Any boxes or other stored items should be removed and a clear path should be provided.
- Providing clear access to the attic hatch, which is often in a closet, so be sure to clear shelves, etc.Replacing dirty furnace filters.
- Making sure all lights and receptacles are operational. This includes changing any burnt-out light bulbs.
- Clearing a path in the basement, whether it’s finished or not, so the inspector can walk around the perimeter of the wall.
- Gutters should be cleaned out and any debris removed from the roof.
- Replace burned out light bulbs.
- Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and replace any dead batteries. Smoke detectors are required on every floor of a home, outside sleeping areas, and inside all bedrooms. Smoke alarms powered by electricity should have a battery backup. Every residence with fuel-burning appliances should also be equipped with at least one laboratory-tested CO alarm.
- Make sure oven and stove are clean and clear of food, so the inspector can check them.
- It is preferable to empty the washer and dryer, so they can be tested, although the dishwasher can run with or without a load of dishes.
- Don’t leave laundry in the washer or dryer, they will be checked too.
- When preparing for a home inspection, make sure the inspector has good access to any mechanical items, such as the furnace, air conditioner and water heater. (nobody wants a cranky home inspector because he has difficulty doing his job!)
- Sellers should also consider printing out paperwork that documents any recent service in order to eliminate any mechanical issues.
- While pets are part of the family, they should be removed or crated during a home inspection. In addition, any damage caused by pets should be repaired prior to the inspection.
A little preparation is all it takes to make sure you have a smooth home inspection. Not only will taking the time to prepare your home for an inspection make your selling experience better, it will give buyers peace of mind knowing that you are prepared.
* * *
“Preparing for A Home Inspection” is a guest post from our favorite Frederick Home Inspector, David Goldberg. Thanks David for another informative article.
David Goldberg – Home Inspector
Reliable Home Services, Inc.
PO Box 5159
Laytonsville, MD 20882
ASHI Member #101584
MD License #29322
* Chris & Karen Highland *
eXp Realty – 888-860-7369
Text Us: 301-401-5119