If your home is on the market and you’ve finally received an offer from a potential buyer, there are usually just a few more steps you need to take before closing day. Most buyers will want to schedule a home inspection to confirm your property is in good condition before they move forward with the biggest purchase they’ll probably make in their lifetime.
As a seller, what is the best way to prepare for a home inspection to ensure everything goes smoothly? While you can’t control the entire outcome of the inspection, there are some things you can do to get your home inspection ready. This guide has some helpful tips so you can take a few steps to prepare your home for an inspection. These tips will give you peace of mind and help you feel better knowing your home will likely receive an offer.
Buyers and home inspectors: what you need to know
Home inspectors will look at the major components of your home, like the plumbing and electrical system, as well as the home’s overall structural integrity. They’ll also take a closer look at the roof and may confirm that there are no signs of asbestos. As for the structure, home inspectors will look for signs of trouble, including cracks in basement walls, gaps or cracks around window and door frames, and any signs that the home is tilting, shifting, or leaning. They’ll also take note of uneven or bouncy floors and other red flags. As a seller, you won’t need to worry about things like the wall paint color, the type of flooring you have, or how clean your home is (although it can’t hurt to tidy things up before the day arrives). Significant issues like leaks, foundation problems, or roof issues certainly are cause for concern. Before listing your home, do your own inspection to help you be proactive before it goes up for sale.
How to prepare an inspection
Here are some ways you can prepare for a home inspection ahead of time:
1. Fix the toilets
If your toilets are running for too long after you flush them, try to get this issue fixed now. It’s a simple task that most homeowners can do with a few simple tools from a local home improvement store.
2. Check your kitchen cabinet doors
Take a look at your kitchen cabinets and tighten any loose screws and the hinges. If your cabinets are crooked, go ahead and re-straighten them before inspection day. If the hardware on your cabinets is old or rusty, it can’t hurt to replace your door cabinet handles and drawer pulls.
3. Look for water damage
Water damage is a serious red flag for buyers and home inspectors. Check your basement, attic, and other areas of the home to look for any evidence of past or current water damage. Some signs include warping, sagging, or buckling floors and walls. Mold and dark marks on ceilings may indicate you have a leak somewhere above. Don’t forget to check under sinks, around appliances, and near bathtubs and showers, too.
4. Get a pest inspection
Most lenders won’t approve a mortgage if a home has pests. Get a professional pest inspection done now just in case you have a pest issue. The sooner you can do this, the fewer problems you’ll have closer to closing day.
5. Replace light bulbs
Now is a great time to go through every room and replace any burned-out bulbs. Don’t forget to check the light bulbs in closets, basements, and attic. You should also confirm that any ceiling fans are working as they should and replace those no longer operational. If a bulb is out during the home inspection, the inspector will take time to confirm that it’s either a burned-out bulb or an electrical problem. Changing the bulbs now can cut this problem off before it becomes an issue.
6. Label the fuse box
The home inspector will look at the fuse box or electrical service panel to ensure that each breaker is working correctly. If your fuse box isn’t labeled, the inspector may need to reschedule once this is complete. Prevent issues by clearly labeling every circuit breaker in the fuse box to make the process easier.
7. Repair broken doors
Go ahead and fix any doors that aren’t opening and closing securely or doors that aren’t locking properly. If necessary, replace the doors and/or locks now. You can also paint your front door a new color to enhance curb appeal. Ensure you’re checking every single door, including closet doors and doors that you don’t use frequently.
8. Replace the HVAC filter
You should already be replacing your home’s HVAC filter every month, but pre-inspection is a great time to go ahead and add a new one. A new filter will help keep the indoor air quality nice and clean and make a good first impression for the buyer since it shows that you care about maintenance.
9. Make sure there’s open access for the inspector
If the home inspector can’t access certain areas of your home, they won’t be able to complete their inspection. It may also cause buyers to be concerned, so make sure you remove any and all clutter that could stand in the way of major areas like the furnace, attic, under sinks, and the basement. The key is to provide as much clear and open access as possible so the entire inspection can be completed on the same day.
10. Take a look at your roof
Home inspectors will look at the roof to determine its average age and to look for any damage. Before the inspection, take a closer look to see if there are any apparent issues like loose or missing shingles or signs of mold and mildew. Clean debris from your gutters and confirm that all gutters and downspouts are securely attached. If you do see any serious damage, now is the time to go ahead and get it fixed.
11. Clear your home’s perimeter
Before the inspection, make sure the exterior of your home is cleared around the perimeter. Home inspectors will look at the siding and trim as well as caulking around your windows and doors. Cut down any overgrowth and move your outdoor trash cans and firewood far away from the home so the inspector can access everything easily.
12. Make sure utilities and pilot lights are on
The power, natural gas, and other utilities should remain on or be turned on for inspection day. If your water heater has a pilot light, ensure it’s turned on. This also applies to the pilot light in your gas fireplace since you may have turned it off during the spring and summer. Keep these tips in mind to help you prepare for a home inspection. With some simple updates, your home will be inspection-ready in no time. If you’re a home inspector and need software to help your business grow, sign up for our free trial today.