Congratulations! You have an accepted offer on your home! The next step is likely the most crucial part of this transaction: The home inspection. A home inspection is typically a closing contingency, meaning the buyer can walk away from the transaction if the home inspector discovers anything not to their liking and the seller is not willing to repair or offer a credit. But, there are some key tasks a seller can take on to prepare for a successful home inspection.
- Label the fuse box: An unlabeled fuse box is confusing for both you and a home inspector. Take time to make sure it is labeled accurately.
- Install fresh furnace & air conditioner filters: Even if its not the regular time of the year that you change the filters, putting fresh filters in will signal to the inspector that you are paying attention to these mechanicals.
- Replace any dead light bulbs: When an inspector is testing the functioning of light fixtures and the bulb does not work, the inspector will question whether its the bulb or the wiring.
- Turn on pilot lights: While the pilot light on your water heater is always on, dont forget about the pilot light for the gas fireplace. If theres a remote that starts that pilot light make sure that it is working and available for the inspector.
- Make all areas accessible: The inspector should have easy access to all areas of the home: basement, garage, attic, crawl spaces and even under sinks. If the inspector cannot access these areas to do his job, this will definitely send a red flag to the buyers.
- Address bug problems: If you are battling ants or any other insect problems, even a wasp nest on the property, address and resolve this as soon as possible. If you have an annual contract with a pest control company have them out before the inspection.
- Clear around the exterior: Just as the inspector will want easy access of the interior, he will also want clear views of the homes exterior. Move trash cans, and any other items that might be next to the homes exterior. Also, prune any overgrown plants and remove excess leaves or debris that are against the homes foundation.
- Check your roof: The roof is one of the key components of the home inspection and typically the inspector will start there first. Get up there and remove any moss. Its also a good idea to have the gutters clear. Check downspouts as well.
- Check your bathroom plumbing: Do not ignore a running toilet. This is an easy fix.
- Leaks or water damage: It is really best to start this work even before you list your home, but if you have procrastinated, gets on this one! An inspector is going to look for all signs of leaks or water damage, so you should too. Start by looking under sinks, around toilets, bathtubs, shower stalls and under appliances like refrigerator and dishwashers. Signs of water damage to look for are sagging, warping or even buckling surfaces. Everyone can identify water stains on ceilings and walls. If the leak has been repaired then repaint the surface.
- Neatness does count: Maintaining a neat and tidy home doesnt stop once you have the accepted offer. The inspector is not grading your home based on cleanliness but an messy home would possibly raise an eyebrow and potentially have the inspector wondering if you take care of all the other important areas well.
- Be prepared: Prepare for the inspector to arrive early because they usually do. An inspector will begin the process by examining the exterior before moving inside. You should plan to take your pets with you or make plans to have them stay with a friend. Before you leave the home, make sure you unlock gates, electrical boxes or any areas you might typically keep locked. Leave out garage door openers and any remotes like igniters for the fireplace and ceiling fans. It might also be helpful to leave out any service invoices for mechanicals like the boiler or air cnditioner.
The time and effort you put into preparing for the home inspection will be a good investment for you in the end.