How To Prepare For A Home Inspection: Tips for Sellers

How To Prepare For A Home Inspection: Tips for Sellers

You’ve received an offer on your Okanagan home and a potential buyer has requested a home inspection. Since a thorough inspection can make or break a sale, it's crucial to put your best foot forward and present your property in the best possible condition, because the home inspector will ultimately judge how well the home has been maintained.

In this document “How To Prepare For A Home Inspection” neuHouzz Real Estate Group shares some valuable tips on how to ensure that the inspection goes well and doesn’t negatively impact your real estate transaction.

How to prepare the Interior

  • Clean your home:
  • Tidy up each room. A clean and decluttered home leaves a positive impression.
  • Provide access to all areas:
  • During the home inspection the inspector needs to be able to freely move around ANY interior and exterior area of the house. Remove items that block access to the attic, basement, closets, crawlspaces, sheds, garage. etc. The inspector will not move any items. Put things in temporary storage if you must. Prevent from having to constantly move things around during the inspection. Don’t hide anything, or give the impression that you are!
  • Organize your keys and remotes:
  • Pick one spot (like the kitchen counter or entryway) and place a full set of all the keys and remotes. Or unlock any doors, gates, basement suites, sheds, garage doors before the home inspector arrives. If you don’t have keys to a certain area, now is the time to get them made or replace the lock.
  • Prepare your maintenance records:
  • Have records of recent maintenance and repairs available to demonstrate that your home has been well cared for. Documents for services like HVAC maintenance, roof repairs, or pest control can provide peace of mind to potential buyers.
  • Check your lights:
  • Go around the house to check the light fixtures and replace any burnt-out bulbs so the inspector doesn’t record any “inoperable lights”.
  • Check your safety features:
  • Home inspectors pay close attention to safety features. Check that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Also, if you have a staircase, make sure all handrails and guardrails are secure.
  • Empty your under-sink cabinets:
  • The inspector will check for leaks under every sink in your home. Remove any items in under-sink kitchens, bathrooms, or laundry cabinets that are in the way. The inspection will go more quickly with clear access to all the pipes.

Pro Tip: Put small cleaning supplies and toiletries in a bin or basket for quick and easy moving.

  • Test and empty your appliances (especially your oven):
  • A home inspector will turn on all appliances to ensure that they work. All kitchen appliances that are included in the sale should function correctly. If they don’t, get it fixed before the home inspection date. Clear any appliances from obstructions. Empty your dishwasher, laundry machine, dryer. It will be much more difficult to test them, so empty them beforehand. Do you store anything in your oven? Remove it before the inspector arrives to avoid burning something.
  • Test and clear your HVAC/Utility systems:
  • A home inspector will check all utility systems to ensure that they work. Heating and cooling systems, ducts, water heaters, etc. should function correctly. Get it fixed before the home inspection date if necessary. Let us know if you need help finding a maintenance provider. Clear any HVAC, utilities, and other systems from obstructions.
  • Keep pilot lights on:
  • The inspector will NOT reignite pilot lights on gas appliances like fireplaces and furnaces due to liability and because it’s not within the scope of the inspection. The inability to test things like gas valves and pilot lights may negatively affect the outcome of the inspection.
  • Fix what you’ve been wanting to fix:
  • If you haven’t already done so while preparing for the sale of your home, now’s the time to take care of any minor repairs. The most common interior issues are: leaky faucets, loose doorknobs, faulty light switches, missing cover plates, loose railings, loose toilets, outdated smoke detectors, broken light fixtures and leaking pipes. Any good home inspector will find these deficiencies, and fixing those items will show your home better.

Pro Tip: Make a list of all shortcomings and sort them by interior and exterior jobs. Start with one room, fix everything that needs fixing in that room, and then move on to the next area.

  • Move/crate your pets:
  • Move your furry friends to another location or crate them so that they don’t disrupt the inspection. Nervous pets locked in a room cause distraction, and prevent the inspector from doing the inspection unhindered. Let the inspector know if your pets are in a crate.
  • Be upfront:
  • Let the home inspector know in advance of any problems you’re aware of. For instance: if the garage door occasionally comes off its track and is difficult to put back, if a certain area in the crawlspace is very hard to reach, if the fireplace hasn’t been used in a decade, let them know.

Don’t forget the exterior

  • Fix what you’ve been waiting to fix:
  • The most common exterior issues during a home inspection are: clogged and bend gutters, loose or wavy vinyl siding, loose bricks, (utility) holes in the walls, unsafe electrical outlets.
  • Trim exterior vegetation:
  • This seems like an obvious one, but is often overlooked. Trim any overgrown vegetation around the home that prevents access to inspect the foundation, cladding, gas meters, window wells, garage doors, water wells, septic tanks, etc.
  • Check for leaks:
  • Inspect your home for any water leaks, whether it's the roof, plumbing, or around windows and doors. Leaks are a common red flag during home inspections, and addressing them ahead of time is essential.
  • Move your vehicles:
  • Vehicles take up space no matter whether they’re in the garage, carport, or driveway. Move them onto the street for the day to allow the inspector a better view of, and easy access to the property.

“Should I stay or should I go?”

With reference to a 1981 song written by The Clash, this is perhaps the most commonly asked question. The upfront neuHouzz Real Estate Group answer is: YES, it’s best to vacate your home during the inspection as inspectors can get uncomfortable about owners being present. While you may feel it's important to be available to answer questions, the last thing you want is to upset the person who ultimately judges the condition of your home.

Home inspectors will arrive 15 to 30 minutes prior to the scheduled inspection time. Inspections usually start on the exterior of the home before moving towards the interior. Depending on the size of your home, it can take up to 4 hours or more, so plan to be away for the expected time allotted. If possible leave the house 30 minutes prior to the scheduled time, or leave the house as soon as the inspector arrives.

If you have no choice but to stay: please remember it's very important to give the inspector space to work. The buyer may be present during the home inspection as well, since it’s a perfect chance to ask about the home’s various systems, and you don’t want to get involved in a discussion that may influence the sale of your home. Be present without being intrusive.

Conclusion

Preparing your home for a home inspection is a critical step in the home selling process, and by following these tips, you can make a positive impression on the inspector and the potential buyers. A well-prepared home will result in a smoother transaction and a higher likelihood of a successful sale.

Have any additional questions about your journey towards selling your property? Go to our Contact Page or use the button below to get in touch with us directly.

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