How to Prepare for a Home Inspection

couple in kitchen

Preparing for a home inspection is an important part of selling your house. Buyers and their mortgage lenders want to find out if there are any hidden problems in the house, and an inspection is the best way to obtain that information. In many cases, a sale may be contingent on a home inspection. These home inspection tips for sellers can help you make sure that your home is ready and that you’ve taken all the steps necessary to prepare. [1]

Knowing what’s involved in a home inspection helps you prepare for it and makes the process easier for everyone. Here are nine important things to do to get your house ready for inspection.

Clean up your home

Cleaning your home and removing clutter before an inspection does two things: it makes the inspector’s job easier, and it also gives the inspector a better overall impression of the home. A clean, fresh house indicates you take care of your home, which also tells the inspector that you probably maintained equipment and appliances well.[2] The inspector doesn’t have to look past any messes and may have an easier time reviewing what they really need to examine.

Compile files

Provide a file of documents that shows what kind of repairs, maintenance and improvements you’ve done on your home through the years. This helps the inspector do their job. Make sure you also include any paperwork for insurance claims you might have had on your home.[1]

Understand what’s involved

A home inspection is an inspection of every aspect of your home, from plumbing and electrical systems to the structural components, grounds, exterior and even the doors and trim. Keep that in mind when you’re preparing to sell your home and preparing for the inspection.[1] If the inspector finds any serious issues, it’s important to be prepared to fix them or anticipate buyers using them to negotiate on the price.

Don’t turn off the utilities

Even if you’ve already moved out of the home, it’s important that the utilities are still connected. Without electricity and water, the inspector can’t test things like the stove, HVAC, dishwasher and other appliances.[2] This results in an incomplete inspection.

Leave the light on, too

If you have a gas water heater, stove or furnace, it’s important that you leave the pilot lit. In most cases, the home inspector won’t re-light a pilot light because of the insurance liability involved.[2]

Provide access to all parts of the home

Locked basements and attics or garages that have boxes stacked all the way to ceilings can end an inspection immediately because the inspector can’t access what they need to do a full evaluation of the home. Make sure that walls and electrical outlets are easy to see and that doors are unlocked to provide access; this goes for gates and storage sheds, too.[1]

Clear the house exterior

The home inspector needs to see the foundation of your home from the outside, so clear dead tree branches and trim bushes that make this task more difficult. Move items like trash cans and hoses that can also make it more challenging to look at the foundation.[2]

Plan some time away

Sometimes, inspectors can be uncomfortable having the homeowner present while they’re doing the inspection. If possible, make plans to be away. Give the inspector a number where they can reach you if needed, and plan to spend about three hours out of the house.[1]

Put up the pets

Finally, if you can’t take your pets with you when you leave, make sure they’re secured in a crate and not out in your yard — the inspector may need to access your backyard. This keeps them safe during the inspection and also makes it easier for the inspector to work in and around your home.

Knowing what to do before a home inspection makes it less stressful for everyone involved. If you’re looking for more ways to help the sale go smoothly, learn about how staging your home can make it more attractive to buyers.

 

[1] “Selling Your House? Better Prepare for the Home Inspection,” Realtor.com
[2] “How to Get Ready for a Home Inspection,” The Balance