Updated: Jan 19, 2020
So your in the process of selling your home, and the potential home buyer has scheduled to have a home inspection. There are a few things you can do to help the process go a little smoother and make everyone's lives a little easier. Here I'll provide you with some ways to prepare for a home inspection.
1. Clean Up: Make sure the home is as accessible as possible and not hide any defects, leaks, stains, or any possible hidden issues. Clean up any clutter, clothes, and debris laying around. You want to make sure the home inspector as easy access to the whole property, inside and out. If an area is blocked by clutter and the inspector can not inspect it, that is going to throw up a red flag for the potential buyer and could hurt your chances of selling the home. You want to clean up areas of significance during a home inspection, such as the basement, attic, garage, crawlspaces, utility closets, furnace rooms, and under sinks. Here you can see the drain under the sink is completely clocked off that could possibly be hiding a potential drain trap leaking.
2. Replace any bulbs that are out: Your inspector is there to make sure the electricity is working properly so you want to make sure any burnt out bulbs are replaced. If a light does not turn on as it should it is going to raise two question, either the bulb is out, or there is something wrong with the wiring. You can avoid these possible issues by simply replacing the burnt out bulbs.
3. Make sure all shut off valves are turned on: Just at a recent home inspection, I was not able to test the hot water from the water heater or test the gas fireplace because the vacant home had the main gas valve shut off. This can raise some red flags as well for the potential buyers and raise questions if the gas appliances have any issues. You want to make sure all shut off valves for water and gas are turned on so everything can be properly inspected.
4. Replace old air return filters: I cannot tell you how many times I have found a dirty air return filter on home inspections. It is one of the most common things I come across. You should replace your air return filter at the least, every 2-3 months for proper and efficient operation of your HVAC system. Commonly a forgotten task, replacing your air return filter before the home inspection is one less issue to show up on the report. And if properly maintained and regularly replaced on time, it will prevent issues that will show up on the report with your furnace/air handler/ HVAC system.
5. Make sure all pilot lights are on: On older models of water heaters, fireplaces, and furnaces, they are lit with pilot lights. It's common for homeowners to turn off their pilot lights if the home has been vacant for some time or during the warmer months of the year. Before the home inspection, you want to make sure all pilot lights are on so the inspector can properly test all appliances and avoid any setbacks in the process of trying to get your home sold.
6. Label your electrical panel/fuse box: Also a great tip for current homeowners, properly labeling your panel can help you quickly identify what fuse/breaker controls which room or appliance. This makes it easier on the homeowner and home inspector to identify any possible issues and control the power of certain rooms or items.
Preventive maintenance on a home's appliances and systems is important for current home owners and sellers. You always want to make sure all pilot lights, shut valves, and breakers/fuses are on to make the process go a lot smoother and so your home is operating as it should in good condition. Preventive maintenance saves you money in the long run from not having major repairs or replacements. When selling your home, you want to do everything you can to prepare and make the process go a lot smoother to make everyone's lives easier. You also want to make sure all gates and electrical boxes are unlocked so everything can be properly inspected. You should be fully prepared at least a couple hours before the inspection, as us home inspectors are known to show up a little early and be prepared to vacate the home during the inspection to make sure there are no distractions and no one in the way during the inspection.