Step 19 To Selling a Home: Prepare For the Home Inspection
You may be thinking: "What can I possibly have to do to prepare for the home inspection? I've had a pre-market inspection; I've completed repairs; I've gotten my house ready for market -- aren't I done?"
The home inspection is the time when your home will be most highly scrutinized, so it's a good idea to give it one final hard look to make sure everything is in place and in good working order for the inspector.
Here are a few things you can double-check before the inspector arrives to keep the inspector and/or the buyer from jumping to worst-case scenario conclusions about your home:
- Check the area around your electrical panel(s) to be sure that it is easily accessible and that no furniture or boxes are blocking the inspector from being able to access it and to remove its cover
- Check the area around your furnace(s), air conditioning unit(s), and water heater(s) to be sure that they are easily accessible and that no furniture or boxes are blocking the inspector from being able to access them
- Put new filters in your furnace/HVAC system, as the inspector will call out old/dirty filters, which may lead to a request to have the systems fully serviced (we may get this request anyway, but clean filters give the perception of a meticulous homeowner!)
- Vacuum/wipe down your air conditioning vents so that they are clean and free of dust, pet hair, etc. (dirty intakes may make an inspector and/or buyer assume that your entire ductwork system needs to be cleaned)
- Make sure your dishwasher is empty on the day of the inspection, as the inspector will run the dishwasher
- Make sure your oven and microwave are empty (we know some people may store pots and pans in the oven), as the inspector will test them (make sure they're clean, too!).
- Run your garbage disposal (if you haven’t in awhile) to make sure it doesn’t make any strange noises or doesn’t need to be cleaned out.
- Make sure the lightbulb in your oven and under your microwave (if yours is over your cooktop or range) are not burned out.
- Turn on your ice maker in your refrigerator (if you have one) -- oftentimes, homeowners have them turned off, and then the inspector notes that they may not work
- Make sure your gutters are clean and free of leaves and other debris, especially if you didn't have this done prior to listing or prior to your listing photos (or if the time of year means it needs to be done more often)
- Replace batteries in and test smoke and carbon monoxide detector(s) -- the home inspector will test them, and if that batteries are dead, they will likely recommend the unit(s) be replaced.
- Flush your toilets (especially those you don’t use very often) and make sure they don’t run excessively after flushing. (Also, if you keep the water turned off to any of your toilets, turn it on and make sure they’re working.)
- If you have a fireplace with a gas starter, leave the gas key out for the inspector’s use.
- Make sure, one more time (just like you did before we photographed), that you have no burned-out lightbulbs, interior or exterior -- a home inspector may immediately jump to the conclusion that a fixture (or its wiring) is faulty
Taking the time to go through this simple checklist just before your home inspection will minimize the items that may lead an inspector (and your buyer) to go to a worst-case scenario in their minds. While we may not be able to anticipate every item that an inspector may call out (even if you've had a pre-market home inspection), taking a few extra steps now can save a lot of headache during due diligence.