Preparing Your House for the Home Inspection

Congratulations! Your house is under contract. Before we can celebrate we’ve got one more hurdle to clear that is paramount to getting to the closing table, the home inspection. We’re in the midst of the home inspection contingency period. If you have a few days before the buyer’s scheduled home inspection take some time to get your house in optimum condition before then.

If the buyers are satisfied with the results you’re one step closer to selling your house and moving on to your next destination. Should the buyer have any concerns, depending on the sales contract, they’ll have the option to renegotiate repairs or closing cost credit or cancel the sale.

The best defense is a good offense so plan ahead and get your house ready for the home inspection by following these tips.

Make sure all utilities are on this means electricity, water, and gas as the home inspector will be checking these. Be sure that the pilot light is also on. Many home inspectors won’t ignite the pilot light. Even though a licensed inspector may be insured, they may not have the proper insurance for this specific risk and liability. If the pilot isn’t lit the water heater, furnace and stove may not be inspected. There’s a possibility that settlement can be delayed if the inspection has to be rescheduled. You would also be responsible for any fee charged by the inspector to return on another day.

Easy Access
Access is an essential component of a successful home inspection. Clear the path to your HVAC, furnace, water heater, electrical box, and attic door. If you’ve recently painted the electrical box door may be painted shut if so address this now. If the inspector is not able to check any systems because of an impediment they may recommend the buyer have a specialist take a look. The buyer may elect to have their own specialist come out to take a look. Or they could request you have a specialist inspected said item at your expense if requested on the home inspection contingency removal addendum.

It’s also a good idea to make sure under sink plumbing is clear. It’s a good idea to temporarily remove items typically stored here to allow for easier access.

Leave remote controls and keys for garage door openers if included in the contract. You’ll also want to make sure a copy of the keys for any exterior buildings and storage are made available.

Turn on every attached light fixture in the house. Make sure all light bulbs are working and replace any that aren’t. The home inspector will only check to see if the light turns on and if the bulb is out they cannot determine if there’s an electrical problem or just in need of a new bulb.

Do you have your HVAC system serviced twice annually? We highly recommend that you do. We also recommend changing your return air filter every month. Clean filters improve the efficiency of your HVAC system and even leave a good impression with the inspector.

One by one run the water in all of sinks and faucets. If it’s draining slowly, you might want to try a clog remover available at most big box stores. Be sure to check the toilets at the same time. Flush your toilets to make sure they are performing as expected.

Windows and Doors
Make sure all windows and doors open and close smoothly. Squeaky doors can be made quiet with a little spray lubricant. Replace any broken or torn window screens.

Brush Away
Clear brush or snow away from your house. The home inspector does not expect to have to tunnel their way to your home. Make sure the exterior of your house is easy to access and clear or debris.

What Do You Know
Northern Virginia is a transient area with residents buying and selling all the time. If you purchased your home within the last five years or so you may still have a copy of your home inspection report from when you bought the house. Think of this as your cliff notes of forgotten or delayed repairs. There may be a couple of items you can knock out quickly to spruce up your house.

Plan to be out of the house for roughly 4 hours. You weren’t present when the buyers previewed the property, and you shouldn’t be there for the home inspection either. No worries, the buyer won’t be alone with the home inspector the buyers licensed agent will also be present. This is another opportunity for the buyer to view the property without being concerned that you’ll be watching or interfering with the tour. If for any reason something comes up that you’d like to dispute or if the inspector points out an issue that has already been addressed we’ll be able to discuss that during the home inspection repair negotiations.

Bottom Line: Take care of minor housekeeping items ahead of time. Make sure the inspector can easily access all major systems and fixtures. A little housekeeping goes a long way in making a good impression. Leave the house about 20 minutes before the scheduled inspection and come back a few hours later. We can give you a call when the agent has given us the all clear.

If you’d like to learn more about getting your house ready to sell give Abraham a call today at 703-596-2082 or email [email protected].


Important Tips to Prepare for Home Inspection by Sharon Paxton

Six Things Your Shouldn’t Overlook Before Selling Your House by Debbie Drummond

Home Inspection Repairs a Buyer Shouldn’t Request by Bill Gassett

The Difference Between an Appraisal and a Home Inspection by Kyle Hiscock

Should Sellers Get a Home Inspection Before Listing by Anita Clark

Keep Your Home Maintained Even After Buyers Home Inspection by Lynn Pineda