How to prepare for a home inspection
Selling a home is always a fun experience. It has some challenges, but getting the deal you were hoping for will bring a smile to your face. However, to get to that deal, your house needs to be as flawless as possible. You don't want your home inspector to find burned-out lightbulbs, sticky windows, and holes in the drywall. To help you achieve your goal, we decided to share with you some tips on how to prepare for a home inspection.
Although following these can't guarantee you a perfect write-up, it surely can get you closer to it. So, here are the things you should know and care about when preparing for an inspection.
Understand what the inspector is looking for
First, you need to find out what home inspectors look for to get where you want to be. To impress them, you need to understand how these people think and operate. For instance, changing the color of the walls will get you nowhere if there's a problem inside of them.
Inspectors' checks are mainly visual. They look for health, safety, and mechanical issues that don't meet the standards of the state or loan requirements. So, anything significantly deficient, unsafe, or near the end of the service life will get noticed.
Of course, these people don't have X-Ray vision. They won't cut into the walls, and they won't be bothered with decor.
On the other hand, you can expect them to turn on the stove, let the dishwasher do its thing, flush toilets, and run faucets in the house. Their job is very pedantic, and some of their checklists have more than a thousand things to complete. Therefore, you can expect them to be in your home anywhere from two to four hours. The general rule is an hour per a thousand square feet.
The inspector will care about the state of your windows a lot more than about your decor.
Make sure they have full access
If you're waiting for your house to be sold to start your relocation, you might think it's a good idea to prevent inspectors from seeing something you don't want them to see. However, the only way to get them on your side is to help them do their job efficiently. So, if relocating someplace far away and you've already hired residential movers, you should do everything you can to help the home inspector, as it will actually speed up the process. Go around the house and make sure they have access to all the areas they need to check.
Unlock the attic, garage, allow them to see the crawlspace and that quirky storage closet you're embarrassed about. In essence, you should make any part of the physical structure of your home easily accessible. Also, don't forget to leave them the remote controls for the equipment that is sold with the house.
You don't have to declutter your home before the inspector visits. In fact, it's better that you skip this step. When you pile all of your contents in the utility room, the inspector can't check mechanical components. They need full access, and it's in your interest to grant it to them if you want to prepare for a home inspection properly.
A pre-listing inspection is always a good idea
No one likes unpleasant surprises. If you want to avoid them, you can always order a pre-listing inspection. It's like a dry run. You find out what's wrong with your home before you have any interested buyers, and you can take all the time you need to fix them. Of course, if there's anything you don't want to deal with, you can mark down your price for it.
All in all, there aren't any cons of inspecting before you put up your house for sale. You'll know all your strong and weak spots in advance, and you'll be able to use them to your advantage. And the best of all is that if you live in New York, there are some very affordable home inspection services you can look into.
It's a good idea to get your home inspected before you put it up for sale.
Fix what needs to be fixed
You should know that even minor preparations can have a big impact on a home's appearance and the inspector's impression of it. Don't hesitate to change that light bulb and patch the hole in the drywall. Leaky faucets and non-opening windows are also easy fixes, and you probably can do them yourself.
If you did some preventive maintenance, remember to put the receipts and warranties on the kitchen counter or a table. The inspector will review them and factor them in. And if something in your home needs a repair, get an estimate before the inspection. This way, both inspector and the buyers will know what's going on.
Also, refresh your memory about your home's systems and layout. You should know where your electrical box is and if you have a sump pit. If you need to, take a quick walk around your property to remember where everything is.
Use a checklist to prepare more easily
To help you prepare like a pro and avoid things that fail a home inspection, we've made a checklist to guide you through the process. Of course, you can add to it whatever you think is necessary. But these are the things pretty much any homeowner should know about.
- Clean out your gutters
- Check wood trim joints
- Secure all wood or brick steps
- Fix shingles on the roof
- Check for leaks on the hose faucet
- Change out air filters
- Make sure all the doors open and close properly
- Replace non-working light bulbs
- Check all power outlets
- Inspect the water heater
- Test the kitchen appliances
- See if all the toilets flush properly
Garage, sheds, and basement:
- Move stored items away from the walls so the inspector can access them
- Make sure that the garage door opener works as it should
A checklist will help you prepare for a home inspection more easily.
There are plenty of things you can do to prepare for a home inspection. However, none of them are too difficult to perform. Fix the minor issues around the house, grant full access to the inspector, and you have nothing to be worried about.