Preparing For A Home Inspection
Congrats! You've received an offer on your home and agreed upon a sale price. The papers are signed, and the next step in the process is your home inspection. Chances are that a satisfactory report is the last major hurdle toward sale — so it's important you put your best foot forward.
1. Clear Access
Ensure access to critical areas of your house are clear. Think about your electrical box, furnace, hot water heater, and air conditioning units, attic door, and any other possible locked spaces. Also make it easier to access under sink plumbing work and back access, as well as any areas blocked off by storage, etc. If the inspector cannot gain access, he or she will be unable to include them in the report, raising questions for your buyers.
2. Banish Clogs
Go through your entire house to all the sinks drains — one by one — and run the water. If you notice a slow drain, you can try using store-bought clog removers (consult with staff to find the right one). For very slow or even totally clogged drains, call in a plumber. Same goes with any slow flow or blockage at the water source.
3. Replace Bulbs
Examine your attached light fixtures. Make sure all the light bulbs are working. Inspectors only get an overhead view and cannot determine if the bulb itself is out or if there's possibly an underlying electrical problem. While you are at it, make sure all switch plates and electrical covers are in place.
4. Filter Out
Replace your furnace return air filters. Not only do dirty filters impact the efficiency of your overall HVAC system, they also show neglect, which isn't the type of impression you want to leave with your inspector.
5. Mind Your Monitors
Be sure to have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Test before inspection day and look at the expiration dates. You should have a smoke alarm on every level of your home — including the basement.
6. Watch the Water
Check to see that the earth slopes away from your home versus toward it to avoid basement water issues. Even if there's no evidence of water entering your home, it's a good idea to slope dirt away in flowerbeds and other areas that come in contact with your foundation. Also, make sure eaves are clean and connected all around the home, In Regina's gumbo soil, water management and correct sloping not only helps prevent water in the basement but also helps limit cracks to the concrete and foundation.
7. Check Cracks
If your home has any cracked windows or broken screens, you may want to fix them before the inspector comes. Even if a crack isn't a big issue on some basement window, it will still show up in your report. Cracks in the drywall can be mudded over and touched up with matching paint. The Inspectors are great at seeing shifting but adds a lot to pride of ownership, helping reassure the home to the buyers.
8. Clean the House
It sounds so simple, yet homeowners often overlook this tactic. Home inspectors are people first and inspectors second. As people, they carry preconceived ideas of how well a home has been maintained. Clean homes say you care and take care of the house. It's a good idea to make a good impression. Don't make the mistake of thinking they can see past stuff; they can't.
9. Be On Time
Home Inspectors will be early given the opportunity. They generally work into the evenings so any chance they have to get ahead of the game they will. Usually, they do start outside inspecting the roof and exterior. Also, the Inspection lasts approximately 3 hours with an additional hour for a walk-through with the prospective buyer. Plan on being away during this time, it allows the inspector and buyer to work candidly and comfortably.
10. Trim Your Trees
Or at least take a look at any overhanging vegetation at your property. Trees that are over roofs can prematurely shorten roof life by inviting moss and lichen to take hold. Rodents can gain easy access to your chimney and other openings. And the obvious: If there's a low-hanging or unhealthy branch, it could always fall onto the roof.
11. Think Big
If you know you have asbestos, lead, or other health and safety issues in your home, it's good to disclose this information before embarking on the sale process to begin with. Otherwise, be prepared for these items to show up in a report. Though they are usually not confirmed without further testing, "suspected" hazards could certainly scare away potential buyers.
12. Go With the Flow
Flush your toilets to see if any aren't performing as they should. Sometimes a fix is as easy as adjusting the water level in your tank. Other times, a clog or hard water (creating sediment) might be to blame — or perhaps a faulty design.
13. Spark Interest
Go to each outlet in your home to see if any aren't working. It's also a good idea to note any weird issues with your electrical system that you have observed and lived with in your time at the home. Any flickering light fixtures or slow switches, etc., can be signs of a problem for an electrician to investigate.
14. Crack It Open
Many older homes, especially those with plaster walls, have hairline cracks. Many of these cracks are not concerning, as they mostly indicate the expansion and contraction of the wall material with normal house settling and temperature fluctuations. If you have cracks in your foundation or exterior, or your doors and windows aren't closing from misalignment, you may want to have them checked before inspection.
15. Let There Be Light
Often, if a home is vacant, there is the possibility that the owner may shut off some utilities to save a little money. Inspectors and buyers need to know that lights, HVAC, and appliances are working. The fact that they are laying down their hard earned money for your property makes them want to know everything works properly.