Preparing for a Home Inspection
One of the more nerve-wracking parts of selling your house is the home inspection that comes after you accept an offer. This is when you and your buyer learn about all the things in your home that are broken, on the verge of breaking, not up to code and potentially dangerous. A home inspection with lots of red flags for your buyers can mean that they ask you to spend a lot of money to fix things or that the sale falls through entirely. However, you can do some things to help the inspection go as smoothly as possible.
Your home inspection checklist
- Clean your house. Have you noticed how important a clean house is to every part of the home-selling process? It’s important for the inspection, too. Even if you’ve started packing, do your best to tidy so the inspector can move easily through your home.
- Make sure the inspector has easy access to the furnace, water heater and the electrical panel. If you have central air conditioning, make sure the area around the compressor outside the house is clear.
- Clear the attic access, especially if it’s in a closet.
- Clear away brush and debris from all exterior checkpoints. Shovel walkways and paths to the yard during winter.
- Check that all the interior and exterior light bulbs, light switches and light fixtures work.
- Ensure all windows can be opened and closed easily. Replace any missing or damaged window screens.
- Check the plumbing for leaks — run water through all the faucets, flush all the toilets.
- Be sure all the appliances work properly — the inspector will test your dishwasher, washer and dryer, so make sure those are empty.
- Make sure all the utilities will be on at the time of the inspection.
- Take a look at your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. Be sure they work and check to make sure you have them in the right locations.
- Be sure the inspector has keys to any outbuildings or gates on your property. The inspection includes all sheds, garages and barns.
- Collect all paperwork related to repairs and improvements. You want to have answers if anyone has questions about past maintenance.
- Make sure you restrain your pets or remove them from your home during the inspection.
Hopefully, your Realtor worked with you before you listed your home to make sure you fixed any major problem areas or disclosed them in the home listing. However, if you find something amiss, such as a broken window or faulty light switch, take the time to repair it before the inspection. You probably won’t be able to fix everything — the list of items inspectors check is long and exhaustive, and different inspectors will be concerned about different things — but the more you can do ahead of time to assure the buyers that your home is sound, the better.
When the time comes for the inspection, clear out. Go out to eat, catch a movie, go shopping — your buyer is going to be nervous enough without you and your anxiety there. Also remember that the home inspection is not personal. Having a door that doesn’t close properly does not make you a bad person. So keep your ego in check and treat the home inspection like the business transaction it is.