How to Prepare for a Home Inspection


If your friendly neighborhood home inspector is scheduled to inspect your home, it hopefully means that you are on the home stretch and all your hard work listing and showing your home for sale hasn't been wasted.  It may be tempting to relax, but some final effort to prepare for the home inspection will be time well spent that may help assure and expedite closing, and even help limit your liability in the future.  The following are some tips that may be useful while you're away.  And you should arrange for you, your children, and your pets to be away for the inspection.  Crating is fine for the pets, but the house should be vacant for the inspection.  This may be difficult for some, especially those that work from home, but it has two important advantages.  First the buyer will be more comfortable and is more likely to ask for additional information from their inspector if the seller is not present.  Secondly and more importantly, seller's can dramatically increase their liability if they are present.  You may think that you're being helpful when you explain something, but what you may be doing is providing an unintentional verbal guarantee about the condition of the house.  You do not want to be in court hearing the words 'the seller said (insert failed expensive item of your choice here) was fine and that's why we bought the house'.

Step one is to clean your home just like you are showing it for the first time.  That includes cleaning the gutters, removing debris off the roof and around the foundation.  Consider having your windows cleaned.  It will make a good impression and will help avoid any confusion concerning windows mistakenly identified as losing their seals.  Most of our clients attend all or part of the inspection.  Many of our clients have confessed that they did not get as good a look at the home as they would like.  This may be your last chance to impress or not impress your buyer.  A bad impression can negatively impact the final negotiations.  A clean and orderly home is also going to make the inspection easier for the home inspector and may reduce the time that he is in your home and interrupting your normal schedule. 

Next make sure that everything is accessible, especially attics and crawl spaces.  If storerooms, garages, attics, crawl spaces, gates, and panel boxes are locked, unlock them or provide labeled keys so that the inspector can unlock them.  Make sure the crawlspace hatch can be opened and is not jammed tight by wood swollen from too much moisture.  If Christmas decorations are stored on the furnace access walkway in the attic, make a path.  If the crawl space hatch is under a carpet, peel the carpet back or leave a note telling the inspector where and how he can do that.  If the thermostats or electrical panels are hidden or blocked by furnishings or storage, you should clear that before the inspection.  If your sink cabinets are full of storage or supplies, clean them out well enough to see the plumbing lines.  If any of the utilities are off or equipment and fixtures are winterized or otherwise  out of service, do whatever it takes to make everything operational whether that is turning on the utilities, lighting pilot lights, etc.  If the inspector cannot access or operate something, he is going to report that it was inaccessible or inoperative, and not inspected.  The buyer may rightfully insist that everything must be inspected prior to closing and may decide to move on if that cannot be done in a reasonable time period.  If they choose to proceed that can increase the seller's liability.  If something could not be inspected and it later turns out to be deficient, it creates the perception that the deficiency was intentionally concealed.   

Then think if your home has any "special instructions" that would be helpful to pass along.  Is the reset switch for the ground fault circuit interrupt protected receptacle in an unusual location?  Do you have to lift up on the back door knob while simultaneously turning the key to unlock it?  Leaving notes for these special items will aid the inspector to provide an accurate assessment of your home and again reduce the time that he is at your property.  And if your ceiling fans, power gates,etc. require a remote to operate, make sure that they are present and in a visible location.

If you have completed any major repairs, it is always good to leave copies of the documentation for those repairs.  This is especially true for costly work such as foundation and heating and cooling repairs.  A good inspection company like Armor Inspection will comment on documentation of professional repair work in the written report if that is provided. 

Finally, when you get back home after the inspection, you should do a walk through to make sure that all doors and windows are locked and thermostats set properly.  Armor Inspections takes pride in leaving homes just like we found them, but it is always possible to miss something, especially when the buyer (and family, friends, and agent) are present. 



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