How can a seller prepare for a home inspection
If you have your house on the market and you receive an offer you choose to accept - this is always good news and can be an exciting time! You can now move forward with your plans to purchase another home, build a brand new one or move to an apartment. Before you pop open the champagne, you should first wait until all the conditions are removed from your contract such as financing and home inspection clauses. A home inspection can sometimes scare sellers but it's your real estate agents job to ease those worries and educate you on what a home inspection actually is as well as what you can do to make the inspection go smoothly.
Here are some basic pointers to get you started:
* Make sure all utilities are operating. If the house (more often cottage) is vacant, make sure the power and water are turned on. An inspector isn't able to complete his inspection without these two main utilities operating. If they are not turned on and he has to come back, there may be a fee involved that the buyers will ask you to pay if it's not taken care of the first time. Also, make sure there is oil in the tank so the inspector is able to check the operation of the furnace. Pilot lights should also be lit on propane appliances to ensure they are in working order.
* Make sure attic and crawl space access is unobstructed. This may seem like common sense, but often sellers don't think of it and will park their cars under the hatch in the garage. If the seller is not home, the inspector is not able to inspect the attic as he is not going to crawl on your vehicle! If the hatch to the attic is in a closet, make sure you clean it out allowing easy access. The same goes for basement hatches. Inspectors are not inclined to moving large furniture or piles of boxes in order to gain access to these places. (** As a side note, it doesn't hurt to do the same for showings as many people do like to look at these areas when looking at a home)
* Have the house accessible in the winter. Again, this seems like common sense but some people forget to shovel out the front door if they are used to always using the back door. The home inspector wouldn't be able to test this door to see if it opens and closes properly if there is a foot of snow in front of it! The same goes for any debris you may have stored on a back porch in front of a door you never use. Keep these things in mind and make sure all doors can be accessed.
* Make sure all areas are accessible. Remove any items you may have stored around areas such as: Electrical Panel, Water Shut Off, Boiler or Furnace or Oil Tank. These are always included in a home inspection and will need to be easy to reach.
* Catch up on normal maintenance. There are many simple things you can do to avoid any questionable remarks made by home inspectors.
* Replace all light bulbs that are not working. An inspector won't know the bulb is blown so that means there will be a question on whether or not the light in that room actually works.
* Clean debris from gutters and roof. Make sure gutters extend at least 6' to 8' from the building.
* Replace rotting wood and paint/caulk windows as necessary.
* Test and replace batteries in smoke detectors.
* Maintain furnace and boiler (have them cleaned on a regular basis by a professional). Replace furnace or HPV filters.
* Check the grading around your lot to make sure ground is sloped down and away from the house, leaving at least 6" of exposed foundation below the siding.
* Make sure sump pump is functioning properly.
* Check to make sure doors and windows are operational.
* Make sure your window wells are clean, well drained and properly attached to the foundation.
* Check plumbing fixtures for leaks and proper operation
* Ensure bathroom fans are working and are vented to the outdoors - NOT the attic!
* Provide receipts for recent work done to your home. You can also let the purchaser know about any transferable warranties that may exist.
The above information is based on a presentation we were given by a group of home inspectors. Many of the things they suggest should be a part of your overall maintenance to your home and things you may be doing on an ongoing basis. If not, you should consider sitting down with this list and doing as many of the items as you can. Doing these things won't guarantee a perfect home inspection, but it may avoid some small headaches and give you a more favorable report than if you chose to do nothing.
If you have any further questions about home inspections or about selling your home, you can contact us through our website at
Carol and Steve