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So you have a home inspection coming up and you want to know what you as the seller can do to prepare for the home inspection?

Here is a list of 10 easy steps for Sellers to prepare for a home inspection. There are simple things you can do before the inspector arrives and it’s really a two stage process. First, there are things you can do the morning of the inspection and we will focus on those below.  Second, there are thing you can do in the weeks leading up to the inspection which we will cover in another post.

Often the buyer will attend the inspection, but even if it’s only the inspector, it is important to leave a good first impression. You want to show that you are a caring and organized homeowner. This translates into a feeling that you have probably been a responsible homeowner who has kept up with maintenance of the home and it’s systems.  By preparing the home, you can also prevent a need for the inspector to come back at a later date which can often result in additional inspection fees.

  • Start by cleaning the home, put away the breakfast dishes and freshen up the air.
  • Provide a note with any safety concerns and clear the house of trip hazards.
  • Be clear of the property at least 15 minutes before the inspection and prepare to be gone for 3-4 hours.
  • Store all valuables and personal items in a secure area. The inspector will not open dresser drawers, but they will need to look under sinks and in cabinets that are permanently installed in the home.
  • Open all interior doors, blinds/shades, and turn on lights. Replace any burned out light bulbs.
  • Take pets with you, or secure them in a kennel for their safety as well as visitors. Pets often escape from homes when not properly secured.
  • Have remote controls available for garage doors, lights, and ceiling fans.
  • Leave keys for gates, garages, or electrical boxes on the kitchen counter.
  • Ensure all utilities are turned on and appliance pilot lights are lit.
  • Have appliances such as dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer clear of belongings so they can be operated by the inspector.
  • Provide clear access to the electrical panels, furnaces, water heaters, and hatches for the attic and crawl spaces.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace any dead batteries.
  • The inspector may leave radon monitor devices in the home if testing has been requested. Many of these do have tamper detection devices and there will be note next to each machine telling the homeowner who to call if they have any concerns.

Failing to clear a path for access to an attic hatch is the most common cause for an incomplete inspection and most inspection companies charge extra for return visits. By taking care of these simple steps, you help keep everyone safe, healthy, and happy with a smooth real estate inspection!

10 Easy Steps on How To Prepare a Home for a Home Inspection: Feel free to share these with the owner/occupant of the home.

1) If you own pets, it’s recommended that they be caged or removed from the home during the inspection. Your potential buyer and their family will likely attend the inspection and even the friendliest pet may become uncomfortable or territorial around strangers. We will be entering and leaving the home multiple times and securing your pet will help keep everyone safe.

2) Keep in mind that a little house cleaning goes a long way in helping speed the inspection process. You may also consider cleaning up after your pets on the exterior of the home to avoid a negative impression for your buyer and/or accidental tracking into your home.

3) It’s important to make sure that all the utilities to the home are turned on and that all gas appliances are lit. You will also want to be sure that all major components in the home have easy access and are cleared for inspection.  Inspectors will not ignite gas appliances or move personal belongings to access items or areas such as the; attic, crawlspace, electrical panel, furnace, water heater, etc. Also, remember to open any locked areas or detached buildings or provide keys on the kitchen counter.

4) All kitchen appliances will need to be tested. Clearing your stove, oven, microwave and dishwasher, will help speed the process and prevent accidental damage to stored items.

5) To keep these minor issues from appearing on the inspection report, you should consider changing your furnace filter, replace blown or missing light bulbs and smoke detector batteries. You may wish to make small repairs like installing missing light switch and receptacle covers, fixing minor plumbing clogs, leaks and or cracked windows.

6) All windows and toilet tank lids will need to be opened for inspection. It’s a good idea to remove any decorations placed in these locations to avoid accidental damage or a disclaimer of “not inspected” on the report.

7) Windows will be inspected and operated throughout the home. Opening your blinds and curtains and removing any decorations will help to prevent accidental damage and allow for a much quicker inspection. Ensuring that all your windows open properly will reduce repair recommendations in the final report.

8) If you would like to let the inspector know anything about your home, please feel free to leave a list/letter on the kitchen counter. Any repair and/or maintenance records regarding the home and its systems will also be very helpful to the inspector and your potential buyer. Let us know of any safety concerns and place a note on any outlets you do not want to be tested.

9) It is customary for the seller of the home to not be present at the inspection. If you plan on attending the inspection, please be courteous to your buyer by being available to answer any questions but keep yourself separated throughout the inspection process. It’s important to allow your buyer the needed space to talk comfortably with the inspector about the home.

10) At the end of the inspection, the inspector will review his findings with your potential buyer. The review is very critical to the buyers understanding of the inspection. To allow the buyer to be comfortable asking questions and addressing any concerns with the inspector, we recommend that you not be present at this time.

Special notes- What to Expect:  The inspector will operate the homes systems using normal operating controls.  Activating the garage door opener, adjusting the thermostat and so on. The inspection is visual only.  Nothing will be disassembled. Sometimes electrical service is disrupted in the home during testing and while removing electrical panel covers. We make every effort to reset power to all outlets, but the home occupant may need to reset alarms, clocks, and should verify that all appliances are working properly.  Because systems can fail at any time, it is unreasonable to assume that failure of any system or component is the result of any actions of the home inspector.

Special notes- The Attic:  It is likely that loose insulation or debris will drop from the attic access when opened. Although we are very careful, you may wish to open the access yourself and remove all items or cover up any personal items below the access, prior to the inspection. To avoid possible damage, an access that is caulked, painted or fastened in place will not be opened by the inspector. It’s a good idea to ensure clear access for the inspector to avoid a return request by a potential buyer.

Special note- Help avoid a return-trip charge:  The inspector will need access to all systems, areas, and components. If access to any item or area is blocked, the potential buyer may request that the inspector return at a later date resulting in a return trip charge. To avoid this additional work, please have the home properly prepared. This may include removing knick knacks blocking window access, and commode lids, removing storage items away from water heaters and furnaces, clearing out closets so we can access attic hatches…

Special note- After the inspection:  Re-check all your window and door locks, your thermostats for desired setting and GFCI receptacles, especially if you have a freezer or refrigerator plugged into a GFCI. GFCI receptacles are mechanical, they can and do fail during and after testing.
Please know that inspectors try to leave your home in the same condition they found it. However, they also know that they are only human and want to ensure your safety and the proper function of items that have been tested.

Radon Gas Testing:  If a radon gas test has been requested by the buyer, please maintain “closed home conditions”.

“Closed-house conditions” mean keeping all windows closed, keeping doors closed except for normal entry and exit, and not operating fans or other machines which bring in air from outside. Fans that are part of a radon-reduction system or small exhaust fans operating for only short periods of time may run during the test. It is expected and acceptable that you will operate your bathroom and kitchen ventilation, home cooling and heating systems as normal. Please keep “closed home conditions” 12 hours prior to the test being conducted as well as during the 48 hour test.

Who Gets The Report? The “Client” is the person who paid for the report and they are the sole owner of the report. Please remember, the inspector cannot release the inspection report to anyone except the “Client” due to privacy rights.

Thank you for taking the time to read this document on How to prepare a home for a home inspection.

Evergreen Property Inspectors provides home inspections in the St. Louis area. Contact us to request an appointment.