8 Tips for Preparing for Your Home Inspection
Here are 8 ways to prepare your home for a smooth home inspection:
Clear Access Points
Before your inspection, do some decluttering. Not only is a clean home an indicator that it is well cared for, but the inspector should not have to walk over or move your personal effects to do their job. Protect any fragile items against accidental breakage, and store any hazardous items, such as firearms, in appropriate locked safes.
If you are in the middle of packing, stack boxes nicely, but keep them about a foot away from the wall for easy access to the perimeter. While it’s tempting to use the garage as a storage cube, this prevents us from seeing the condition of floors and walls, and could block access to an attic hatch. Better to rent a storage space or a storage pod.
The inspector needs to get in every room of the home, including any basement, attic, or crawlspace. If you have an access hatch in a closet, be sure to remove any clothes that are hanging in the way, and clear any shoes or boxes off the floor so that our ladder can fit.
If the main water shut-off is blocked by belongings, we can’t see its condition, and you can’t get at it to shut off the water in an emergency.
Clean Up the Exterior
Take a walk around the outside of the house and make sure there is no plant growth (or snow, depending on the season and your location) in the way of exterior inspection points. As a general guide, there should be as much of a pathway around the house as you can manage so the foundation can be inspected.
Don’t forget to prune any overhanging trees or limbs within 10 feet of the roofline. While it may not be a deal breaker, it will go in the inspection report and the buyers could end up asking that you take care of it or adjust your price. If this goes beyond your DIY comfort level, consider hiring a professional.
Replace Batteries & Bulbs
If any smoke detectors or carbon monoxide alarms are chirping, replace the batteries. While we do not test these detectors, we will note if they are making noises.
Check all the light fixtures in and around the house, especially in your attic or basement. If we see a bulb out in a fixture, we can’t know why; it might be just the bulb, but it could also be a faulty fixture, or even a wiring issue, and we will recommend an electrician make repairs.
Clear Out & Clean Appliances
Part of a home inspection is making sure the appliances are running. The refrigerator will be inspected as well as the oven and range hood. Here’s a hint: load up your dishwasher and put in the detergent, but don’t start it; we will do that for you as we test it.
Check Toilets & Drains
Turn on your faucets to make sure they are working properly and that your drains are not clogged. If you notice a slow drain, you can clear it yourself, or have a plumber address it. Give your toilets a quick flush as well, and remove bath toys and any other items stored in the tub or shower, so we can check it thoroughly..
Make Sure Water Drains away from the House
Water damage is a beast that nobody wants to deal with, and could get very costly. If you haven’t had your gutters cleaned recently, have that done, along with installing downspout extensions to keep water away from the foundation.
You should also check to make sure that the your lawn slopes away from your home. Water draining toward the foundation can cause water to gather in the basement or against the foundation. Take some time to slope dirt away in any area that comes in contact with your foundation.
Unlock All Gates & Doors
Again, access is key. The inspector needs to be able to get into every area of your home. Leave all doors and gates unlocked, as well as any electric boxes. If you are uncomfortable leaving them unlocked, you can leave keys instead.
If there are certain areas you don’t want accessed, such as a room where you have put your nervous dog, leave a note for the inspector explaining the situation, and clearly mark the door. The drawback to this is that we will have to mark the room as needing to be checked carefully during the final walk-through, and any issues that arise could complicate the closing process.
Plan to Leave Your Home Early
An inspector will typically arrive 20-30 minutes before the inspection time to get set up and ready to go before the buyer arrives. You should plan to be out of the house by then, as buyers are not typically comfortable asking questions in front of the homeowner.
If you are aware of an issue and are worried it may affect the results of the inspection, you can leave a simple note saying that you know it’s a problem, and are working on addressing it.
Don’t forget to take your pets with you, if you have them. If you can’t remove them from the premises, lock them up somewhere safe, such as a crate or kennel. Animals can get nervous with strangers in the house, and we cannot guarantee that we can prevent one from escaping through an open door.
Plan to be gone a minimum of 3 hours for the inspection to be completed, but also be flexible if it runs longer than anticipated. You can ask that the buyer’s agent give you a call when the inspection is wrapping up, so you know it’s all right to return.