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10 Steps for Sellers to Prepare for a Home Inspection

Here are 10 Steps for Sellers to Prepare for a Home Inspection.

Congratulation on the upcoming sale of your home! The next critical step is the inspection process and here are some tips on how you can prepare for a home inspection.

If you did not already take care of these items before putting your home on the market, do these simple items now as they are little to no cost and reduce the length of the inspection report. Lengthy reports can scare away buyers.

  • Ensure all light bulbs are working properly, this prevents questioning whether the fixture is defective or a bulb is burned out.
  • Put cover plates on all switches, receptacles and electrical junction boxes (including the basement and attic)
  • Look in your attic for signs of pests or water intrusion and ensure storage items are moved out of the way so the inspector has clear access to this space as well.
  • Have fresh batteries in the smoke and CO detectors and test the alarms.
  • Have a fresh furnace filter in place.

Focus on these10 Steps for Sellers to Prepare for a Home Inspection the morning of the inspection.  Often the buyer will attend the inspection, but even if it’s only the inspector, it is important to leave a good first impression. You want to show that you are a caring and organized homeowner. This translates into a feeling that you have been responsible when it came to maintenance of the home and it’s systems and that translates into buyer peace-of-mind.

  • Start by cleaning the home, put away the breakfast dishes and freshen up the air. Provide a note with any safety concerns and clear the house of trip hazards. Remove decorations from window sills and toilet tank bowls so the inspector can test these areas. Place a note on any outlets you do not want to be tested (Computer servers, or garage refrigerators).
  • Be clear of the property at least 15 minutes before the inspection and prepare to be gone for 3-4 hours.
  • Store all valuables in a secure manner.  The inspector will not open dresser drawers, but they will need to look at the walls and ceilings in closets, under sinks and in cabinets that are permanently installed in the home.
  • Open all interior doors, blinds/shades, and turn on lights. To keep these minor issues from appearing on the inspection report, you should consider changing your furnace filter, replace blown or missing light bulbs and smoke detector batteries. You may wish to make small repairs like installing missing light switch and receptacle covers, fixing minor plumbing clogs, leaks and or cracked windows.
  • Take pets with you, or secure them in a kennel for their safety as well as visitors. Pets often escape from homes when not properly secured.
  • Have remote controls and keys available for any locked spaces such as garage doors, electrical panels, sheds, gates, lights, and ceiling fans.
  • Ensure all utilities are turned on and appliance pilot lights are lit.
  • Have appliances such as dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer clear of belongings so they can be operated by the inspector.
  • Provide clear access to the home systems, attic, and crawl spaces. Inspectors will not ignite gas appliances or move personal belongings to access items or areas such as the; attic, crawlspace, electrical panel, furnace, water heater, etc. If there are access issues, the inspector will usually charge to come back out to finish the inspection and the buyer may ask the seller to pay for this re-inspection fee.
  • Test battery operated devices such as ceiling fan remote controls, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace any dead batteries.

Failing to clear a path for access to the attic is the most common cause for an incomplete inspection and most inspection companies charge extra for return visits. It is also likely that loose insulation or debris will drop from the attic access when opened. Although we are very careful, you may wish to open the access yourself and remove all items or cover up any personal items below the access, prior to the inspection. To avoid possible damage, an access that is caulked, painted or fastened in place will not be opened by the inspector. By taking these proactive steps, you help keep everyone safe, healthy, and happy with a smooth real estate inspection!

Special note- After the inspection:  While it is important to prepare for a home inspection, you will also need to reset items after the visit. Inspectors try to leave your home in the same condition they found it, however it is not always possible to know how a GFCI/AFCI test in one room effects outlets in other areas of the house to ensure all connections have properly reset. Re-check all your window and door locks, reset your thermostats, clocks, appliances especially refrigerators, and alarms to your desired setting. Systems can fail at any time and if they have not been used in a long time such as a GFCI outlet in a garage, these often fail during testing. This is a normal part of the home inspection testing process and a part of home maintenance. The inspector will list these items on their report.

Radon Gas Testing:  If a radon gas test has been requested by the buyer, a device will remain in the home for at least 48 hours. Maintain “closed home conditions”.  “Closed-house conditions” means keeping all windows closed, keeping doors closed except for normal entry and exit, and not operating fans or other machines which bring in air from outside. Fans that are part of a radon-reduction system or small exhaust fans operating for only short periods of time may run during the test. It is expected and acceptable that you will operate your bathroom and kitchen ventilation, home cooling and heating systems as normal. Please keep “closed home conditions” for 24 hours prior to the test being conducted as well as during the 48 hour test.

Who Gets The Report? The “Client” is the person who paid for the report and they are the sole owner of the report. Please remember, the inspector cannot release the inspection report to anyone except the “Client” due to privacy rights.

Thank you for taking the time to read this document on How to prepare for a home inspection.

Evergreen Property Inspectors provides home inspections in the St. Louis area with inspectors in Missouri and Illinois. We are a family owned business with a mission of helping our neighbors meet their real estate goals. Our specialty is helping our clients understand the condition of a property so they can make good real estate decisions.   Contact us to request an appointment.

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