How to Prepare Your Home for an Inspection

home inspection preparation tips

Time is short and stress is high throughout the home-selling process, but there are several areas you should pay attention to before the home inspector shows up on your doorstep.

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A home inspection is part of the home buying process. So if you’re looking to sell your house, it’s already time to start preparing for the inspection. Time is short and stress is high during the process of selling a home, but there are several areas you should pay attention to before the home inspector shows up on your doorstep.

One Month (Or More) Before Inspection

Before you even receive an offer on your house, it’s time to start getting your paperwork in order. “You should create a file with documentation of all maintenance and repairs you’ve done on your home, including annual or semi-annual furnace inspections, receipts for roof or chimney repairs and other inspections,” recommends Michele Lerner. “If you’ve had an insurance claim on your house, keep those papers together, too, so you can prove that you took care of the problem.”

If you have a septic system or a well buried in your backyard, draw a sketch of where it’s located so the home inspector (and the future homeowners) can find it. If you’re not sure where it’s located, this gives you some time to find out before the inspector arrives.

Problems you expect to show up on the inspection should be addressed at this time. If you choose not to make the repairs, be prepared to adjust your asking price.

One Week Before Inspection

In most scenarios, you’re likely packing up your belongings while you prepare for your home to be inspected. Make sure, however, that you pack strategically, moving boxes you don’t need to a self-storage unit. The home inspector will need to inspect every closet, electrical panel, furnace, water heater, attic access, and crawl space opening. Don’t stack boxes in a way that it would block access to these locations.

If you have clutter anywhere on your property, now is the time to take care of it. “Remove trash cans, trim branches and brush, dispose of dead limbs and clear an accessible path around the home, especially in winter,” BuyOwner.com recommends. Make sure the home inspector can clearly get to exterior faucets and electrical outlets, and that they’re not blocked.

If the property is vacant, make sure all of the utilities are turned on.

The Day Before Inspection

It might seem counterintuitive since there are moving boxes everywhere, but you should clean your house thoroughly before a home inspection. “It won’t make a bit of difference if you have a leak, but a clean home gives the impression that you take care of your property and so the inspector shouldn’t expect to find as many problems,” says Lerner.

As you clean, check for blown out light bulbs and replace them as needed. This is also a good time to make sure pilot lights are lit on your stove, water heater, and furnace. Light fixtures and appliances that don’t work can cause the inspection to be incomplete and delay the entire process.

Take a tour of your property again today with the idea of making accessibility a priority. Make sure the inspector has access to locked gates, sheds, or anything else that’s not in the realtor’s lockbox. You can remove the locks or provide keys to your real estate agent.

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On Inspection Day

“On inspection day, the house should be empty of the owners and their presence. In fact, everything should be just like it was on the initial viewing day,” David R. Leopold recommends. “Be ready for inspection day by getting up and out of the house an hour before the appointment.”

Before you leave the property, make sure all of your animals are secured. Most home inspectors prefer that animals are taken off the premises, but you can secure them in a crate on the property if necessary. Pick up your bedroom and living areas, wash dishes in the sink, and leave the house in excellent condition. Expect to be gone at least three hours so the inspector can do a thorough job.

Doing the legwork to prepare your home for an inspection is time well spent. The inspection process will be more pleasant for everyone if you take the time to prepare your property, bring boxes to your self-storage unit, and make sure everyone has complete access to your home. While no one can guarantee the results of a home inspection, you’re less likely to be surprised when you take the initiative to prepare.

Selling your home? Check out our Home Staging Tips and DIY Curb Appeal Tips.

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