Congratulations! Your home is under contract with a buyer. But the house is not sold just yet. Among other things that still need to be done before your home sale is completed, the buyer will most likely want to have a home inspection performed to make sure that the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and structural condition of the home is in good working order. So, what can you do to make the home inspection go as smoothly as possible? Below are some helpful tips.
1) Make sure that all utilities are on. The inspector needs all of these on so that they can inspect the HVAC/furnace, electrical, gas, and waterlines.
2) Ensure that all pilot lights are lit. Insurance requirements prevent inspectors from lighting any gas appliances. These may include fireplaces, stoves, water heaters, etc…
3) Provide working space. At least three feet of working clearance should be provided in front of the HVAC/furnace, water heater, and electrical panel. In addition, move anything that is against the walls in the garage at least two feet away from the wall. This will allow the pest inspector to see if there is any evidence of wood destroying organisms, such as termites. Also make sure that there is clearance in the attic for the inspector to inspect it, and remember to remove all vehicles from the garage.
4) Allow access to inspection hatches. Bathtub controls (e.g. for tubs that are jetted), exterior water shut offs, and the main water meter are all items the inspector will need to look at.
5) Leave all necessary keys or remove the locks for anything the inspector will need to inspect (e.g. garage, gates, electrical, panel, pool, control boxes, sprinkler and timer boxes, etc…
6) Remove all personal items from on top of the appliances. Most inspectors will test the stove/cooktop, washer, dryer, dishwasher and microwave as long as they are empty. However, if you leave a note and a full soap dispenser, many inspectors will run the washer and the dishwasher through a full cycle. If you store any items in the oven, make sure you remove them prior to the inspection.
7) Change all air filters. You don’t want the inspector to assume that there’s a problem where there isn’t one.
8) Replace any light bulbs on the interior and exterior that are burned out. Inspectors will not move a light bulb from a working light to a non-working light to check to see if the bulb is burnt out. They will instead call out a potential problem with the light fixture if the light is not working.
9) Remove from the home, or place out of the way, any items you don’t want broken. Accidents do happen.
10) Make sure that all windows and doors operate properly. If you’ve painted or screwed any windows shut, the inspector will note that the window is inoperable.
11) On the day of any inspections, kennel or remove any pets. Fido and Fluffy like everyone, except, you don’t know how your pet may react to a stranger with tools. Your pets may be friendly, but you also don’t want them to be accidentally let out of the house.
12) If you have made any repairs to the home but have not touched up the paint, do that before the home inspection. Otherwise, it may raise a red flag where there is none. Do keep in mind that you will still have to disclose on the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement any repairs that were made to the home.
13) Likewise, if you have had a termite treatment but the termite company did not clean up the termite stains, you should also clean that up, too. Otherwise, it will appear that you have a current termite issue. Again, remember that any termite repairs or treatments need to be disclosed to the buyer.
14) Make sure that all doors properly latch to the strike plate. While you’re at it, you may want to tighten all doorknobs and railings, too.
15) All smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors (if present), should be in working condition.
Keep in mind that home inspections typically take anywhere from two to four hours (and sometimes longer) depending on the size of the home and the inspector. If possible, we recommend that you not be there when the home is inspected. Buyers often feel that since they’re paying for the home inspection they should be able to ask questions of the inspector without the seller being present. If you have to be there, stay out of the way of the home inspector. You don’t want them to miss anything that may cause them to have to come back. Also, ask your real estate agent to provide a copy of the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement to the home inspector. This may answer some of the questions they have regarding repairs that have been made to the home.
Once the home inspection has been completed the buyer will usually put together a list of repairs that they want you to make. Keep in mind that nearly every inspection is going to result in some findings, and no matter how hard the inspector tries there will be items that can’t be determined at the time of inspection. What you will be required to repair will be determined to some degree on what is written in the purchase contract you signed. This is all a lot to absorb, but relax, if you’ve hired an experienced real estate agent they will be able to help you navigate the repair request so that you can move on to your next home.