Simply following the steps provided in this article will help you survive having a Home Inspection. Your Home Inspection is just one more stressful event to add to a growing list of events unfolding before you. What with open homes, strange people stopping in the street and looking in, keeping your home and yards clean and tidy for potential buyers, the last thing you want is some stranger tramping through your home, looking in all those dark corners. Well, take a deep breath, sit down a moment and read further.
I hope this will help prepare you for what is going to happen and how to make it easier for everyone. It’s like nothing else you have ever seen, a stranger will arrive at your front door armed with a torch, step ladder, moisture meter, camera, and some other fancy tools you don’t even know the names of. This stranger introduces himself and then starts to dive into every nook and cranny of your home. It seems like ages as he turns on every tap, opens and closes every door and window, cupboard and drawer, he goes through the wardrobes, flushes the toilets and even runs the bath and the showers. Just as you think he must be finished, he brings in the ladder and torch and climbs up in your roof, then he wanders through the under floor area (who knows what he’ll find down there) then he’s wandering around every part of the yard checking the paths, the driveway, the garage, the garden shed, the fences, even the clothesline.
Your challenge is to present your home as best you can, as the pay off can be huge. It can be a windfall of hundreds or even thousands of dollars from the sale of your home. For sellers, understanding the inspection process and preparing your home for the inspection, not only helps the sale go through but can often translates into getting top dollar for your home.
Once the sale agreement is signed the inspection will happen quickly so it’s important you are prepared. I’ve prepared the following tips as a guide to help you achieve the best results for you.
- Please have a clean home: Inspectors are accustomed to dealing with “OPD” (Other Peoples Dirt), however it is always preferable to have a clean home to work in. Don’t worry about a little mess or disorganized clutter. Packing boxes and a little dirt are OK. We do not inspect for cleanliness. Even though you are likely tired of keeping things spotless for open houses and potential buyers coming through, please don’t drop the ball on cleaning completely. If I encounter an extremely dirty home, I may be holding my breath until I can make an exit; however I am also looking harder for defects and maintenance items in such homes, and often find them.
- Windows and doors should all be operable and accessible: It is a great help to have all the windows and doors accessible so I can easily check the condition of the windows and doors and also the operation of them. If you have locked windows and have removed the keys, please have them available at windows. Open all blinds and curtains for easier access, and if possible move furniture to allow for access. Any breakable or valuable items on window sills should be removed (Inspector will not move them or move furniture).
- Access to all areas. Please remove any stored items that will obstruct access to any items or areas of your home.
- Remove or control your pets: Please be prepared to have your animals gone during the inspection. I like dogs, cats, lizards and most critters, but during an inspection they can be in the way or a nuisance (try doing an inspection with a dog barking every time you move). The Inspector also does not want to be responsible for having animals escape from the home and then retrieve them. Seriously, I’m not very good at finding missing animals in a suburb I don’t know.
- Inform the Inspector if you are to have visitors, sleeping or sick occupants at the home: Inform the Inspector of any expected visitors (if you will not be there). Also be prepared if the buyer (and other family members) should elect to attend the Inspection. Ask your Realtor or the buyer’s Realtor to attend if this occurs (the Inspector is not be responsible for others and will not give then access to your home).
- Provide access to electrical box: Please have access provided to your main electrical box (fuse box or circuit breaker box).
- Be punctual: If you are meeting the Inspector at the home, please be on time we do appreciate punctuality. In the unlikely event I am going to be late I will call you with plenty of notice.
- Please have all utilities on, including gas, water and power as necessary: Having pilot lights lit will help, since most Inspectors will not light pilot lights.
- Provide access to roof space openings and manholes: Please make certain access is clear and unencumbered to all roof space openings.
- All doors should be accessible: Ensure all interior and exterior doors are accessible, and if there are any locked closets or utility type sheds, gates and garages, please provide keys as necessary, this does include the cellar door or under floor space openings. Your inspector will need access to every area of the home and property to avoid repeat or second inspections.
- Should I stay or should I go? This is a good question people often ask me. Usually I like to meet with the owners to ask a few questions. Once I have asked the various questions that help me do my job better, feel free to leave or stay. I do prefer you to stay if possible.
- Alert the Inspector to any safety concerns: If you know of any safety concerns in your home, please let the Inspector know. Items such as attic pull down stairs that have a tendency to fall on your head (yes this does happen), or window sashes that drop down when the catch is released, crushing unwary fingers.
- Do not ask what defects the Inspector has found: Most Inspectors will politely tell you that the home purchaser (who is paying for the report) is the only person he can share that information with. However the Inspector should inform you of any known safety concerns that may impact you. You should wait until you have a requested list of repairs from the buyer, before repairing any items.
Whats Good For The Goose Is Good For The Gander
- Have your own Inspection performed: Consider having your own inspection (Pre-sale Inspection) before you put the home on the market. You get to choose the Home Inspector, and there are other benefits. A Pre-listing Inspection allows you to find out early what repairs might be needed, and to get the repairs done early. This usually is a cost savings, since you can take your time and shop for the best price for the repairs. Having the Pre-Sale Inspection also eliminates a lot of anxiety and stress. It also allows for the home to be more realistically priced in some instances. For example, if you find out the home needs a new roof, but you do not want to invest in a new roof, it is likely you will want to adjust your price accordingly, or at least be prepared for a price reduction. Full disclosure will help limit your liability and dramatically reduce the buyers negotiating power of using defects found as negotiating tools to reduce the price. Also on the plus side it conveys a positive attitude to the buyer when you have your own independent inspection report available. Presenting a list of the repaired items is also positive. Simply put, having a Pre-Sale Inspection can reduce anxiety, save money, and make for a smoother and quicker home sale.
- Treat your Home Inspector as a guest in your home: I do my best to leave each home as I found it, and treat the home and occupants with respect. I know that I am a guest you may not welcome with open arms. I also understand you do not need any additional stress.
Simply performing some or all of the above steps will help you remove a lot of the stress associated with a property inspection