Sellers: Prepare for a Home Inspection
The goal of the seller in a real estate transaction is to get top dollar and sell the property quickly. The goal for the buyer is to get a property in good condition for a fair price. Home inspectors are a critical part of most purchases, and it helps to hear from them on how to prepare the home so that both sides reach their goals.
Ten Important Seller Preparations:
The best thing you can do is have your home prepared properly so that it is seen by the home inspector as well cared for. First impressions make a big difference and spending a little money up front can help the property sell. We suggest that you:
- Consider cleaning the inside of the property and completing any exterior clean-up before the inspection. Experienced home inspectors are highly trained to observe and mentally note everything they see. Lack of care in any area gets mentally noted even if it is not written in the home inspection report. Multiple indications of uncaring owners are like a red flag to a home inspector. Additionally, the buyer often is present at the inspection and you will want to make your home shine for them so that they have no reason to re-think why they liked the home.
- Fix the minor defects such as loose door hardware and faucets. Replace any burned out light bulbs or the inspector will list the fixture as being inoperative. Consider hiring a handyman to review the home and take care of any issues. Repair major items (e.g. roof, plumbing, electrical systems) if possible or be straightforward about them.
- You may want to leave out repair records for any work performed at the home. The home inspector will not likely complete a detailed analysis of the invoices, however, it indicates seller pride of ownership and can help answer questions the inspector may have.
- If the property is vacant – make sure all utilities are on including the electric, gas and water. If the property has a pool or spa, make sure it is filled and ready to be tested.
- For safety, your home inspector will not light any pilot lights on stoves, furnaces and water heaters. Have these systems operational to avoid delays.
- Home inspectors need adequate area to access the attic entrance, appliances, electrical panels and heating & cooling units. Remove boxes, stored items and debris from these areas. We recommend clearing at least three feet of workspace.
- The dishwasher will be operated during the home inspection. Dishes can be clean or dirty but if you have a load of dirty dishes and want them clean please fill the soap dispenser and the home inspector may bless you with clean dishes when he is done.
- Remove locks or provide the key for all access areas like electrical panels, sheds and utility rooms. Inaccessible systems and components can result in an incomplete inspection and delays.
- Have your pets secured in a kennel or gated area away from the structure if possible. If inspector access is restricted, delays will result and an upset pet may run away during the inspection process.
- Consider arranging activities away from the home during the inspection. It is best to let the inspector and buyer review the house alone. We have seen buyer’s back out of a sale because of seller interaction.