Make sure that the home inspector has easy access throughout the property. If they can’t get to an area, they can’t inspect it, and that will be a red flag for buyers. Clear away any clutter impeding access to areas or systems that the inspector needs to take a look at, including basements, attics, furnace rooms, and under sinks.
In addition to checking the interior functioning of your home, the inspector is also going to be looking at the exterior, including siding, trims, and caulking around windows and doors. You’ll want to leave areas around your home clear of plant growth, trash cans, and stored items so they can get an unimpeded look.
When’s the last time you took a good look at the roof of your house? For most sellers, it’s been awhile. The roof is a key part of the home inspection though, so you can’t ignore it in your preparations. Get out a ladder and clean moss and debris from the gutters, check for damaged or missing tiles, and make sure downspouts are in their proper position. If you do find damage on the roof, you’ll want to get it taken care of prior to the home inspection.
If you’ve already been going through the process of selling your house, you’re probably already pretty adept at this point at keeping everything clean and tidy. Resist the urge to let things build up after an accepted offer and maintain the same level of cleanliness for the home inspector. How clean your home is doesn’t play into the inspection itself, but a dirty or messy house may make the inspector suspicious that other areas of the property aren’t properly taken care of either.
A blown bulb suggests two things to a home inspector: either the bulb itself is out, or there’s something faulty in the fixture’s wiring. The inspector will either have to waste time determining whether a fixture is inoperable or they’ll simply note that there’s a possible defect without looking further into it. Avoid both of these scenarios by making sure that all of your bulbs are in working order.
Does your toilet run for a long time after you flush? It’s a common problem that gets easy to ignore when you’re living with it every day, but it’s not something you want your home inspector to come upon. Fixing a running toilet is an easy and inexpensive repair you can take care of on your own with a simple trip to the hardware store, so take care of the problem before the inspection.
Regularly replacing the air filter in your home is important for air quality and the overall functioning of your heating and cooling system. Instead of making the inspector concerned that you haven’t been taking good care of your home’s heating and air, clean or replace the existing filter and show that it’s something you do pay attention to.
The pilot light in your water heater is probably always on (and you would have noticed already if it wasn’t), but what about the pilot light in your gas fireplace? Many homeowners turn their fireplace off in warmer months, so it’s important to double check that the pilot light – and the fireplace itself – is working prior to inspection. If you’ve turned off your fireplace’s pilot light, now is the time to get it going again.
A confusing fuse box is frustrating for homeowners and home inspectors alike. Double check that each switch in the box is labeled clearly and correctly, and replace any labels that are incorrect or difficult to read.
Take a walk-through of your house and check each door to make sure that it’s in working condition. Interior and exterior doors should be latching into the frame with no problem, doorknobs should be securely in place, and any locks, particularly on doors that lead outside, need to be functioning properly as well. Sometimes cold or heat can warp normally functional doors and lead to problems, so be sure to check all doors, including those you don’t use very often.
It’s easy for the hinges on cabinets to get a bit loose, which results in doors that don’t close correctly or that aren’t flush with the frame. If you have a cabinet that’s looking off, you can usually fix it pretty simply just by tightening the hinge with a screwdriver.
The home inspector is definitely going to be looking for signs of leaks or water damage, so it’s better you beat them to it and get any water-related issues repaired prior to the inspection. When looking for leaks, be sure to check under sinks, around faucets, around the base of your toilets and bathtubs and/or showers, and under any appliances that may leak, such as dishwashers and refrigerators. In terms of water damage, examine walls, ceilings, and floors, looking for signs of warping, sagging, or buckling. Don’t forget to check the exterior of your house for signs of leaks or water damage as well. If you see water pooling near the base of your house, that should be a cause for concern.
Most of us have to occasionally deal with an errant ant or spider in the home, especially in warmer temperatures. But if you’ve got a wasp nest in the backyard or are regularly seeing lines of ants in your kitchen or other interior areas, you’ll want to take care of these problems prior to inspection. Most bug problems aren’t a huge deal, but they can turn off buyers.
By the day of the home inspection you should have done everything you can to prepare. Now, it’s just about making sure it goes as smoothly as possible. To do that, keep all utilities on, double check that you’ve left clear access to areas and systems all around the house, and unlock any gates, electrical boxes, or other areas that you normally keep secure. Most of all, be ready at least two hours before the inspector is set to arrive (they’re known for being early) and prepare yourself and your family to vacate the house during the inspection. It’s best to take any pets with you, but if you can’t, make sure they’re safely crated or otherwise secured.