How To Prepare Your Home For An Inspection

How To Prepare Your Home For An Inspection

When you are ready to sell your home, it is important to ensure that the home is inspection ready. This means that you need to know how to prepare your home for an inspection.  This is not always easily done and can take some time, especially if the home maintenance has been neglected.  The following list is a guide to help you with the sale of your home.

Consider hiring a home stager – A home stager will make sure that your home is best represented in the way it looks for an open house. They will put their efforts to work so that your home is as close to ”sell ready” as it can be. Just ask your Real Estate agent to recommend one. It is a small investment to give you an edge over the other homes on the block when selling your home.

Clear out the closets and cupboards – As a home inspector, we are required to check all visible and accessible areas of the home. Often, the closets have been stuffed with clothing and or storage, which can limit our ability to see these areas. In bathrooms, we have to check under the sinks to properly inspect the plumbing for leaks, materials used, etc. When selling, the last thing you want to do is trigger alarm bells in the inspector’s mind, such as “is anything being hidden here?”

Make all walls & floors as visible as possible  – Just as you want to make sure that all of the closets are tidy and free of extra items, you want to ensure that you don’t have carpets over all of your floors, or large pictures taking up space. Your potential buyers walk into a home with the mindset that they may own it. This will not be the case if the home packed with your belongings. Although I typically go beyond the standards of practice we follow, to peek behind pictures, move carpets and various other household items, many home inspectors will not.

Remove clutter from all surface areas – These areas include counters, tables, desks, windowsills, etc. Your buyers want to see a clean and fresh home that they can imagine themselves in.

Perform the following maintenance items:

  • Have your gutters cleaned and debris removed from the roof, if possible.  Clean gutters will show home inspectors that the maintenance on a home has been done in a very important area.  It reduces the chances of drainage blockages. Removing the debris on your roof will reveal a tidy surface and help maintain it’s performance.
  • Have your furnace/boiler/water heater & gas fireplaces serviced prior to selling the home. If you have a furnace, replace the filter. A home may be attractive and show well, but deals have gone sideways because the prospective buyers found out that the boiler or furnace, for example has not been maintained… costing a few thousand more for a replacement.
  • Remove obstructions from all unfinished areas, such as attics & crawlspaces. I often find heaps of storage items packed up in the attic. I even found an old water heater. As a side note, I can’t imagine why anyone would go through the trouble hoisting a water heat through the attic hatch. It is much easier to have the appliance recycled when the new one was installed. (Thank you for letting me vent, calming down now) Attics are not structurally designed to carry extra heavy weight loads for an extended length of time.
  • Make sure that your bathroom and kitchen fans are operational and exhausting outside. This will remove excess moisture from your home which is required by our building codes. This is necessary and will surely be exposed by home inspectors.
  • Wipe all window sills clean, removing moisture and excess dirt. If necessary, apply a coat of waterproof paint . If you have not done so already, give your walls a fresh coat of paint as well.
  • If possible, ensure that you have working Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets installed near all water sources, such as bathrooms, kitchens, garages and outdoor balconies, patios and decks. GFCIs are electrical safety devices that detect “leaks” in the current and then cut the power to an individual outlet and/or entire circuit. You may have recognized them in bathrooms, for example, with two buttons installed in the middle (test & reset). They are required by modern electrical codes and introduced during the early 1970’s By 2000 all finished outlets near water sources had to be GFCI protected.

There are certainly additional ideas that fall into home sale preparation, but without a doubt, theses tips will definitely set you on your way to helping you sell your home. Most importantly, these tips show you how to prepare your home for an inspection. I’d be happy to hear your comments and questions on this posting or any other articles my Home Inspection blog.

Best of luck! 🙂

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