How to get my home ready for inspection

10 Tips to Prepare for Your Home Inspection

When a seller and a buyer have a meeting of the minds, the result is a signed purchase offer. Most of the time, the contract is contingent on having a professional home inspection. The after-the-offer phase of a home sale is the step that can most likely sink the deal and creates a great deal of anxiety for sellers and buyers alike.

Getting ahead of potential inspection items

As a seller, you want your home to pass inspection with as few callouts as possible. Hopefully, while you were in preparing your home for sale, you looked at your house with a buyer’s critical eye and made repairs where necessary. Better yet, you had a pre-listing home inspection and took care of all the callouts on the list.

However, if you did neither of those, there are still preparations you should make to facilitate the inspection process. You should do so even if you had an evaluation previously, which will be evident as you read through my list.

1.  Keep up appearances in and around your home.

In other words, keep your home clean and neat. Although you don’t get points for that on the inspection, it leaves a positive impression. You want the inspector to see that your home has been cared for and maintained. So even after you have an offer in hand, don’t let things go. 

2. Make sure there is easy access to areas that will be inspected.

The inspector is going to check the basement, crawl space, and attic. She will look in the cabinets under the sinks to check for leaks. Remove any clutter that is in the way of getting to these areas. Is your attic access pull-down stairs in a closet?  Emptying it is probably a good idea. If a space is not accessible, that is going to throw up warning signs you don’t want.

3. Remove and replace blown-out light bulbs.

Replace any burned-out light bulbs both in and outside the house. A burned-out light bulb is going to require that the inspector check to make sure it isn’t a problem with the fixture. If may not want to take the time to troubleshoot and tag it as a possible issue.

4. Make sure your breaker box is easy to read.

Each breaker switch in the box should be correctly labeled and easy to read. Forcing the inspector to play around with the switches trying to figure out what they control is not only frustrating; it doesn’t make a good impression at all. Add any missing labels and replace the ones that are inaccurate or illegible.

5. Replace the return filter on your furnace.

Another red flag you want to avoid during the home inspection is a dirty return filter. A dirty filter may give the impression you have been circulating dirty air throughout your home. Swap it out before the inspection. You should be replacing your return filter every 90 days anyway.

6. Make sure your toilet flushes properly.

A running toilet after a flush is a common problem that is easy and inexpensive to repair. If your toilet runs, you just run to the hardware store and get a new flange or repair kit. 

7. Be sure the appliances are in working order and accessible.

It’s probably a good idea to clean your refrigerator and oven before the inspection. Be sure your dishwasher is empty as the inspector should run a cycle. Same for the washer and dryer. He’ll be looking at the furnace and water heater in the basement and the water supply pipe, so make sure there is no clutter blocking the way.

8. Check all your cabinet doors and drawers.

Open and close all the doors on your cabinets and tighten up any loose hinges. Do the same for any knobs or pulls. Make sure all the drawers are running smoothly on the tracks.

9. Make sure there is clear access around the outside of your home.

The inspector is going to check the siding and trim. He will look at the caulking around the windows and doors. The entire perimeter will be reviewed, so trim back any shrubs or plants that will be in the way.

10. Inspection day to-do list.

  • Make sure you leave keys to any outbuildings and the remote to the garage. You also want to provide documents that pertain to maintenance, insurance claims, repairs, or remodeling.
  • If you have pets, remove them from your home.
  • Leave the house at least a half-hour before the scheduled appointment in case the inspector is early. You should not plan to be there during the inspection. Do ask your listing agent to attend. 


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