Are you looking to put your home on the market? Selling a home becomes a full-on project with hard prep work before you’re even ready to sell. One crucial step in the selling process is the home inspection, where potential buyers scrutinize your property’s condition.
Aside from making sure your home looks nice and appeals to potential buyers, you’ll want to make sure it’s “healthy” enough to pass a home inspection. This blog aims to provide sellers with valuable tips to navigate the selling aspect of the home inspection process successfully and ensure a smooth sale.
1. Prepare Early
Start preparing your home for inspection well in advance. Fix any minor issues that could raise concerns, such as leaky faucets, faulty electrical outlets, or loose handrails. By addressing these issues before the inspection, you can present your home in its best light (no pun intended) and prevent potential deal-breakers.
By preparing to do these things early, you can create a plan and checklist to refer to while going through the house. We will dive more into detail in other steps about very specific things you can make sure to check off your list.
2. Clean and Declutter
A clean and clutter-free home not only looks more appealing but also makes it easier for the inspector to assess various components. Clear out personal items, declutter rooms, and ensure that essential areas like the attic, basement, and crawl spaces are accessible.
3. Mind the Curb Appeal
First impressions matter. Enhance your home’s curb appeal by maintaining the landscaping, repairing any exterior damage, and repainting if necessary. A well-maintained exterior can create a positive impression before the inspection even begins.
Prior to your home inspection, make sure to do the following:
- Trim grass, tree limbs, and shrubs that are too close to the house.
- Leave a minimum of 4 to 6 inches of clearance between the siding and landscaping (mulch or stone).
- Clean the gutters thoroughly.
- Recaulk gaps, seams, and trim where necessary.
- Make sure exterior buildings like storage sheds or garages are unlocked and accessible.
- If you have an outdoor sprinkler system you’ll want to leave keys or instructions for access to these electrical panel boxes or utility systems.
- If you have a pool, make sure it is properly cleaned and maintained before the inspection.
Many of these things may be easier and safely accomplished by hiring professionals such as landscapers or electricians. If this is the case, make sure to book for these things to be done well in advance so you don’t run into further issues.
4. Prepare the Interior
Inside your home, double-check some of the major problem areas for many home inspections. Even small details show that you’ve taken care of the basics. Here are some examples:
- Making sure all interior doors and locks are operable.
- Run tests on appliances like stoves, sinks, refrigerators, dishwashers, and laundry machines to demonstrate that they are functioning correctly. Address any malfunctions or visible wear and tear beforehand.
- Check under sinks for leaks. It is a common occurrence to check off sinks as operable without making sure the pipes don’t leak, even the smallest drop.
- Make sure the water operates properly– hot and cold.
- Vacuum intake vents and replace filters where necessary. Make sure to date when the air filter was replaced so the inspector knows they were recently replaced.
- Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors work. Replace batteries as needed.
- Inspect nail and screw holes, or any places that could use caulking.
- Repair any drywall cracks.
- Test all fixtures, lights, and fans. Replace all dead bulbs or other electrical issues.
- Check for infestations or have a professional check for rat, termite, or other bug infestations. (This can often go overlooked if the issue isn’t readily apparent).
- Clean up! A tidy home implies good upkeep and can reduce unnecessary clutter to get around.
5. Service Key Systems
Ensure that essential systems, such as HVAC, plumbing, and electrical, are serviced and in good working condition. A well-maintained home system’s performance can influence the inspector’s evaluation.
If your HVAC system hasn’t been serviced within the past 12 months or even within the past years you have been living in your home, it is wise to get this taken care of now.
6. Check for Water Damage
Inspect your home for signs of water damage, such as water stains, mold, or musty odors. Fix any leaks and ensure proper drainage to prevent these issues from becoming a red flag during the inspection.
7. Address Structural Concerns
Have a professional assess the structural integrity of your home. Address any foundation cracks, sagging floors, or roof issues before the inspection to provide potential buyers with confidence in the property’s stability.
8. Gather Documentation
Compile a folder of maintenance and repair records for the inspector to review. This documentation can showcase the care you’ve invested in your home and provide valuable information about the property’s history.
These receipts can include professional services like HVAC maintenance, landscaping, vent cleaning, plumbing issues, etc. For any work that you’ve had professionally done you want to make sure you keep the documentation handy for the inspector.
9. Ensure Inspector Access
Ensure that an inspector has easy access to all areas and systems, including the attic, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical panels. Leave everything unlocked and move any furniture, shelving, or storage boxes that may be in the way of the inspector. Keep all remotes close to the items they control, such as ceiling fans, light fixtures, and fireplaces. Remember that if they can’t access a place, they’ll have to return.
10. Accompany the Inspector… Or Don’t!
While it’s common for sellers to leave during the inspection, being present can offer you an opportunity to address any concerns or questions the inspector might have. Your insights into the home can provide valuable context. However, if you foresee yourself being defensive or unuseful to the inspector, we advise that you make yourself busy during this time. And if you have pets, make sure they are secured and away from the property.
With that being said, most home inspectors advise that home sellers leave while the home is being inspected. A homeowner’s presence can further slow down the process or make it harder for the inspector to fully evaluate the home. Ultimately, the decision is up to you, unless you are asked to leave by the inspector themselves.
If you are looking for home inspection services, Wall to Wall Home Inspection Services has you covered! Whether you need your entire home inspected or a custom home inspection, we do it all! Contact us today or book online instantly!