The decision to sell one’s home is a big step and can be quite a process with many steps along the way. These range from early stages of finding a realtor, de-cluttering and staging, to packing, closing and lastly, moving. An important step in this process is to prepare your home for a home inspection. Once the house is under contract the clock has started and things begin to happen quickly. The inspection window for the potential buyers is oftentimes the most stressful, as they have to coordinate several things in a small timeline. This is why you should take steps to prepare your home for a home inspection early on. We thought we’d share a few tips the seller should do to make this process more streamlined.
Three simple steps to prepare your home for a home inspection:
Make sure everything is readily accessible
A home inspector can only inspect what he or she can see or access. Having vehicles, shelves, or large items directly below attic access points, will cause a home inspector to note in the report that he cant comment on the conditions in that area, and the buyers should have the sellers make arrangements for a re-inspection when access is available, which can add time, cost and frustration for everyone.
Make sure everything is unlocked. An inspector will need access to all bedrooms, storage rooms, porches, etc. All too often a seller will leave and forget to unlock a storage closet, or forget to take locks off gates, making it impossible to access those areas.
A home inspector is not a contractor or a tradesman, but rather is there to observe and note things in a non-invasive manner. We do not force things to happen, because they ‘must’ happen in order to diagnose or correct an issue. An example of this would be disassembling shelving or cabinetry to take the dead front off an electric panel.
Pets need to be removed or contained.
We love animals, we have pets, but one must realize not all pets love strangers coming into their home. The home inspection process involves going in and out of the building countless times, as well as operating windows, garage doors, crawl spaces, attics, etc. This presents numerous opportunities for inside pets to get out, outside pets to get in or any of them to get into places they shouldn’t be. There’s always an added concern a pet to be unfriendly or hostile, which is understandable as they have a stranger in their home. Or in some cases, they’re too friendly; at a recent inspection the sellers had four of the friendliest sweetest dogs ever, but they were so excited to see someone and get attention it made our job more difficult to do.
Utilities and Systems Need to be ON
One would think this one is obvious, but that’s not always the case. If the utilities aren’t on, there’s only so much we can do. Turning systems on that have been purposely shut off is not a call a home inspector makes, we have to respect people’s property. If the breaker is in an off position to an out building for example, we have to assume that’s because something is wrong and the breaker is shut off for safety purposes. The same goes for the plumbing system, if a water valve is closed, it’s closed for a reason and we don’t turn it on to test. We recommend to our buyers they inquire with the sellers to find out why something was purposefully shut off.
It’s that simple
Our job is not to prevent a sale, but rather to make the transaction go smoothly by giving the buyers (our clients) a complete and accurate picture of what they intend to purchase. If you want the sale of your home to go smoothly, please help us by following these simple steps to prepare your home for a home inspection, so we can give the buyers a complete report. For a second opinion see this recent article from Realtor.com.