Most buyers will make their purchase offer contingent on a satisfactory home inspection. Having the inspection completed by a professional is recommended by most REALTORS® as a way to lessen the chances of unpleasant, budget-breaking surprises for the home buyer.
As the seller, what should you expect from the home inspection? How can you prepare your home ahead of time to get the best result? In general, it’s best to thoroughly review the major systems in your home: heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical, roofing, siding, and external water penetration.
Correcting any issues ahead of time will likely save you money as well as the possibility of losing a good buyer. Buyers tend to think repairs cost more than they really do. Some buyers will interpret issues to be scarier than they really are. Having a lot of small issues can add up to a big issue with many buyers, especially those who are not familiar with basic home maintenance.
Heating & Cooling
Check your furnace filter(s) and change them if necessary. If you haven’t had your furnace cleaned, serviced, and inspected recently, do it now. A qualified HVAC professional will check to be sure that all the elements of your heating and cooling system are working and are safe.
If you don’t already have a carbon monoxide detector near the furnace, get one installed.
Check the condition of your air conditioning condenser and remove any debris along the sides. If it is winter, cover it until it’s back in use.
Check all the fixtures in the kitchen, baths, and laundry to ensure they work properly. Any leaky faucets or pipes should be repaired before the inspection. Also repair any damage to walls, ceilings, or cabinets that the leaks may have caused. If you have any really old, inexpensive fixtures you should consider replacing them with new ones.
Also, be sure to clean all under-sink areas and keep them uncluttered so the inspector can easily get to the pipes.
Ensure that all outlets installed within 6 feet of a water source are GFCIs and that there are no unsecured wires hanging in your basement or elsewhere. In general, check for any visible safety issues and correct them, as these will be red flags during the inspection.
If you have old 60-amp electric service, it will almost certainly have to be upgraded. This is a substantial cost, and one that a buyer is not often willing to pay. It also is a ‘livability’ issue, since 60-amp service is not adequate for most people. You should discuss this with your agent so you can decide whether it should be done ahead of time to make your home more appealing.
Roofing, Siding & Exterior
Do a visual inspection of your roof to ensure there are no missing shingles. If it appears in good order, but has discoloration or moss growing on it, you should have it cleaned by a professional. Check around the chimney and roof vents to be sure the mortar and caulking are intact and there are no areas where water penetration can occur.
Clean out the gutters and downspouts and ensure they are operating properly.
Re-caulk as necessary around windows and doors and paint or replace any areas where your siding is damaged or worn.
Check the grading around the house and be sure no mulch is in contact with the siding. All grading should be sloped away from the foundation. Downspouts, the sump pump, and any drains should be running away from the structure.
Windows, Doors & Appliances
Go through each room of your house and check windows and doors to ensure they are operating properly. If any appliances are not running properly, repair or replacement is recommended. If you have an operating wood-burning fireplace, you should have it cleaned and inspected and provide a copy of the report/invoice to the buyer.
Clean and Unclutter
Clean and unclutter everywhere. Everyone, including an inspector, is affected by a clean, neat, and organized home.