A home inspection might seem like it’s an aspect of home buying or selling that’s beyond a person’s (except the inspector, of course) control. About all you can do is cross your fingers and say a quick prayer to the god of home inspections, right? Wrong. There are a lot of steps you can take to increase the likelihood that you will successfully buy or sell a home in a reasonable amount of time, for the price you hoped for. This includes the inspection.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the inspection when selling your home:
- Make the inspector’s job as easy as possible. Make sure they have access to the electrical panel, furnace, and water heater. In other words, push your stuff around and make a path that leads to these. This means a walkable path, not one that requires jumping, side walking, or crawling. This won’t necessarily help your inspection report, but the inspector will appreciate it. And a little goodwill never hurts.
- Replace AC filters. They directly affect air quality and an overdue filter change could be a red flag.
- Make sure all lightbulbs are working. If they don’t work, there could be an electrical issue.
- Repair any cracked windows or broken screens. In fact, repair anything that is fairly easy and inexpensive to fix. Even if it isn’t a big deal, every item makes the list longer. Buyers may interpret a really long list as a house full of problems.
- Run the water in every sink, bathtub, and shower. Use Draino, Liquid Plumber, or the equivalent, to dissolve clogs. Clogs can be a sign of plumbing issues.
- Cap all unused gas lines, chimneys, and flues to prevent debris and clogs.
- Trim tree branches that are touching or close to touching the roof and house. Branches can damage the roof and they provide easy access for rodents to reach chimneys and other small openings.
- Keep all receipts for maintenance and routine services. Have them organized and ready to show inspectors and buyers. These include things like servicing the furnace, replacing the roof, having the chimney swept, etc.
- Clean house—everyone, whether they realize it, or not, equates a clean, uncluttered house with one that has been kept in good condition.
We didn’t forget about the buyers. Here are a few tips to make the inspection work for you:
- Hire an inspector that comes highly recommended. Your agent should be able to suggest one.
- Be sure to attend the inspection. The information you get directly from an inspector during the inspection might be more in-depth than what you will get from the report.
- Don’t panic if the report on your dream home is longer than your honey-do list. Inspectors include minor defects in their reports, so judge a house by the severity, not quantity, of items.
- Hire a specialized professional to evaluate big problems.
- Talk to your inspector and agent about the extent of the issues identified and decide how to move forward.