Tips (for realtors) that lead to a smooth home inspection

Home Inspector with King of the House Home Inspection, Inc

Those of us, who teach home inspection to new inspectors around the state through the state community college system and Bellingham Technical College, also try to create better communications and understanding between inspectors and real estate professionals. That includes offering an affordable state accredited clock hour course for realtors, that we teach on the west side of the mountains from Blaine to Tacoma. We explain the ramifications of many of the items that are often discovered during the home inspection process. For information on that 3 clock hour course, you can click on the link below. Feel free to follow up if you are interested.

One of the popular parts of the presentation, is a list we give out to help realtors and their clients prepare a house for an inspection. This is not the "old hat" list telling the seller to clean the gutters and trim the bushes, but a list of specific items and often neglected tasks that need to be taken care of so the inspector can, in fact, properly inspect the home. Nobody, not inspectors, realtors, buyers or sellers likes it when the inspector has to come back another day because the inspection could not be completed.  This list seems obvious enough, but these issues are frequently neglected. Please feel free to copy this list and provide it to your clients. I cannot tell you how many times, even working with realtors with 25 years or more experience, I have arrived at houses where there was zero access to at least one critical area. It was basically a problem of no one having thought about that fine detail, they were too busy thinking of other things. This list should work in any state, or Canada. I hope you find it helpful. 

Crawl space access: Find out where the opening is located, sometimes it can be hard to find. Make sure it is easily accessible at the time of the inspection. Once, at an inspection I did, we actually had to go to the city, the next day, and get the building plans for the home to find the crawl space entry as it had been fully carpeted over.

Attic access: Find out where the hatch is located - in the attached garage, in a bedroom, etc. Make sure it is accessible at the time of the inspection. If a shelf, or similar storage or obstacle, is built under it and an inspector cannot access it, then that obstacle should be removed prior to the inspection.

Electric panels: Find the location of all panels, including any distribution/sub-panels in garages or basements. Sometimes they are hidden behind pictures or cabinets are built over them. Make sure the panels can be safely accessed from the front, so the inspector can removed the covers at the time of the inspection.

Water heater: Find out where it, or they, are located. Sometimes they are in tiny spaces - behind refrigerators, in attics, etc. Make sure the tank or tanks are accessible on the day of the inspection.

Furnaces: Find out where it, or they, are located. Usually they are accessible but can be in crawl spaces or attics. Make sure the unit is accessible on the day of the inspection and, if a second furnace is tucked away somewhere, let the inspector know. The inspector must be able to remove the access doors and view components in the housing.

Sinks: If cupboards or vanities, under sinks in bathrooms and kitchens, are reasonably clear of supplies and belongings, the inspector can view these areas without having to move around personal or hygiene items.

Gas, electricity, and water: If the buyer expects a full inspection of gas or electric appliances and the plumbing system, the gas, electricity and water must be functional.

Thanks for listening,

Steven L. Smith


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Roger Stensland
The Cascade Team Real Estate - Maple Valley, WA
Let's Move!
Good advice.  I'm having a home inspected the day after tomorrow.  Since it is a new home, all should go smoothly.
Apr 16, 2007 04:01 PM #1
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Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspector
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