Homeowners focus largely on cosmetic fixes when preparing to sell. They put fresh paint on the walls, remodel kitchens and baths, and spruce up the landscape. And these efforts pay off: The house looks and feels clean and modern, which captures the attention of buyers who don’t want to mess with those projects once they move in.
Not as much attention is focused, however, on making sure the inner workings of the home are in good shape. We recommend having a seller’s home inspection to make sure you’re aware of issues before you even put your house on the market, because when you receive an offer, the option period is short — generally, five to ten days — in which you must have your home inspected, make repairs, and possibly have it reinspected.
Additionally, you want this home inspection to go really, really well! Its outcomes have a huge influence on the profit you make from selling your home. We’ve gleaned the best advice from the field to create this checklist on preparing for a home inspection.
22 Things a Seller Can Do to Prepare for a Home Inspection
Many, if not most, of these tasks should be done before you put your house on the market — but it doesn’t hurt to give them a quick review before your buyer schedules the inspection. And many of them are simple and inexpensive but will ultimately save you time and eliminate the stress of having them fixed during the short option period.
1. Clean the house.
Home inspectors are trained to notice things, and their first impression is important. It sets the tone: A clean home indicates you take good care of the house. Obviously, it’s not the most important factor home inspectors consider, but it’s a simple step to take considering what’s at stake.
2. Check your lights, inside and out.
Make sure they work and replace any burned out bulbs. This simple task will prevent an unnecessary “Light is inoperable” finding on the inspection report, which could imply an electrical problem.
3. Evaluate your doors.
Are doorknobs in good working order? Do locks function properly? Do they close easily and completely? Attend to any issues you find.
4. Test your doorbell.
Repair it if it doesn’t work — another simple fix that will avoid the hassle of dealing with it during the option period.
5. Check out your windows.
Make sure they open and close easily, latches work properly, and window panes and screens are in good shape. Clean the channels and sills. Have the windows cleaned if you haven’t already.
6. Look at light switch and outlet covers.
Are any missing or damaged? If so, replace them (and you may as well clean them all when you’re checking them out!).
7. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Make sure you have installed the minimum required number on each floor. Test them to ensure they work and replace batteries if needed.
8. Check your HVAC air filters.
If they’re dirty, replace them, and make sure they fit securely.
9. Evaluate your plumbing fixtures.
Test all faucets, drains, stoppers, and toilets. Make sure faucets don’t leak and work properly. Clean out drains if they need it. Ensure drain stoppers truly keep water from draining. And make sure toilets flush properly and don’t continue to run afterward. These issues can often be fixed inexpensively.
10. Prepare your washer and dryer.
Make sure they work properly and are empty on the day of inspection. Clean the dryer vent and make sure the vent is metal rather than plastic.
11. Test and clean major appliances.
Make sure they are in good working order and clean them well to give your home inspector the best impression possible.
12. Check and clean your gutter system.
Make sure gutters are clear of debris, gutters and downspouts are secured, and that downspouts extend at least five feet from the house. Replace any missing components.
13. Look at the roof.
If there are missing or damaged shingles, flashing, chimney caps, furnace vents, or attic vents, have them repaired or replaced.
14. Inspect handrails.
Make sure they are securely fastened and tighten or repair them if needed.
15. Spruce up the fence.
Do a quick check with a hammer and nails handy. Hammer any protruding nails and add more where necessary.
16. Check the pool area.
If you have a pool or hot tub, make sure they are in good working order and clean. Also, make sure any required barriers to the pool are in place.
17. Clear access to exterior walls and roof.
Clear brush, stored items, and wood from exterior inspection points, including the foundation. Trim tree limbs to at least 10′ from the roof and cut back shrubs from the house.
18. Clear access to equipment.
Home inspectors provide detailed evaluations of furnaces, water heaters, HVAC equipment, electrical panels, attics, and crawl spaces. Make sure nothing is blocking their access to these areas.
19. Leave utilities connected.
Make sure all utilities — water, electric, and gas — are connected and the service is on. Make sure pilot lights are burning.
20. Unlock everything.
Walk around the house to make sure gates, outbuildings, electrical panels, closets, sheds, and crawl spaces are unlocked. If you won’t be present for the inspection, leave keys with clear identification.
21. Provide home repair documents.
You should create a file with documentation of the maintenance and repair of your home and its major equipment. Include any information on insurance claims as well.
22. On the day of the inspection, be prepared.
Tell your agent about any pets in the home and make sure they won’t be in the way. Ideally, take them off premises. Prepare to be away for at least three hours during the inspection.
Completing these tasks will ensure your home inspection goes as smoothly as possible. Ultimately, you will benefit by having less stress during the option period and hopefully making a bigger profit on the sale of your home. We wish you the best!
About Our Licensed Dallas Home Inspections
At Stonebriar Property Inspections, Dallas home inspector Keith Boggs proudly provides quality home inspections throughout North Texas seven days a week, including evenings and weekends. Contact him at (214) 923-7304 or [email protected]
Licensed and insured – Texas Real Estate Commission license #9867; TDA licensed termite technician # 0572333, Certified Termite & Pest Control – TPCL# 3825A
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