Home Inspection Guide for the Home Seller
Congratulations! You have an offer on your home and the inspection date and time have been set. Now, let’s try to make this work as easily as possible for everyone and have an inspection process that helps you get to a successful closing.
First, let’s take care of some basic maintenance issues that might distract from the inspection:
- Have you changed the furnace filter recently? A dirty filter will be mentioned in the report and causes the buyer to question other issues like the ductwork and cleanliness.
- Are all the light bulbs working? Test your interior and exterior lights. If some switches are don’t make sense after a remodel in 1962, leave a note for the inspector explaining what switches turn on which item.
- Do you have new batteries in the smoke alarms? Many inspectors will test these using the button. If the batteries are weak, the alarms will start to chirp alerting the buyer to look for other items that haven’t been serviced lately. You should have a smoke detector in each bedroom and one per floor.
- Do you have a carbon monoxide detector? One per floor is recommended.
- Are the windows and doors working smoothly? Sticky doors and windows will get noted in the report so doing a little light maintenance may go a long way.
- Provide keys, or unlock sheds and all outside buildings.
- If you haven’t cleaned the gutters recently, consider doing this before the inspection.
- Trim the shrubs and trees around the home. This serves two purposes. First, well formed shrubs and trees enhance the curb appeal of the home. Second, the inspector can get to the areas on the exterior walls to report accurately what is there instead of making comments about potential pest intrusion and water damage.
- Cleaning is tough. You’ve been doing it while you’ve been showing the house and –success! – you have an offer. Please maintain your momentum and keep cleaning. Buyers react negatively when they house was spotless for the showing but messy for the inspection. It also makes it tough for the inspector by obscuring outlets, floors counter tops, etc., while slowing down the inspection.
Home inspectors are also not required or advised to move personal items that are blocking access to areas that need to be inspected. This may result in an incomplete inspection, call backs, additional fees and a frustrated buyer. It is to your best advantage to provide easy access to the following areas:
- Main electrical panel.
- Electrical sub panels.
- Attic access door. This may be in a closet, hallway or garage.
- Under room crawlspace access doors, including stored items in the space.
- Water mains.
- Hot water heater and surrounding area.
- Furnace and surrounding area.
Last but not least…I love animals and, for the most part, they love me back. But having strangers intrude into their home can be very stressful for your pet. Try to find a safe location for them. Cats are usually self-sufficient but dogs need some security. Sometimes this may mean taking them to a friend or relative. If you have no alternative but to leave them at home, consider providing them with a comfortable kennel and some water rather than locking them in a room or the garage. Many inspectors will not enter a space with an unfamiliar dog no matter how friendly it seems.
Best wishes and Good Luck!
PS. any Realtors that would like to use this letter, please feel free but let your client know where you got it. Many thanks!