Russel Ray, the awesome home inspector in San Diego, CA, has put together a checklist of items that a home seller should go over before the home inspection occurs. If the seller takes a bit of time fixing or adjusting some of the items listed, there will be fewer issues found during the inspection. In my experience, the fewer the issues, the greater the confidence on the part of the buyer. I found this list very thorough and valuable not only for home sellers but also for buyers who might be wondering what is actually checked during a home inspection.
A checklist of things a Seller can do
before the home inspector arrives
Doing as much as possible before the Buyer's property inspection helps ensure that escrow goes more smoothly. Following is my "checklist" of items often found during the course of a property inspection that a Seller could do or could easily hire a general handyperson to do.
- Check that doorbells work.
- Check for missing roof shingles.
- Check for loose/damaged/clogged gutters/downspouts.
- Check attic ventilation and condition of vent screens.
- Check to see if there is standing water, especially near the foundation, after irrigation or rainfall.
- Check for cracks in foundation walls.
- Check structure (including attic and foundation crawl space) for pests (termites, wasps, spiders, nests, etc.).
- Check exterior weatherproofing (stain, paint, etc.).
- Check for any wood in direct contact with soil, including fences and gates.
- Check for loose wiring (electric, cable, phone) and poor wire terminations.
- Check for holes and damage to siding, doors, windows, and trim so that structure is weatherproof.
- Check condition of fences or gates (leaning, damaged).
- Check that any exterior outlets are weatherproofed and not in permanent use for any landscape lighting.
- Check condition of landscape components (retaining walls, landscaper timbers, etc.).
- Check for overgrown vegetation, especially in walkways; growing on siding, roof, chimney, fences, or in gutters; or too close to utility lines.
- Check for trip hazards in walkways, driveways, and stairways (deterioration, vegetation, etc.)
- Check for loose, missing, or rusted guardrails and handrails at stairways, decks, balconies, and porches.
- Check that landscape lighting/irrigation systems work, and that sprinklers don't spray on fences or buildings.
- Check condition of pool and spa, and related equipment and utilities.
- Check that ponds, fountains, and waterfalls, and related utilities, work properly and are protected from children.
- Check that seismic straps are on the water heater.
- Check that stoppers work in bathtubs and sinks.
- Check for clogged drains.
- Check that toilet seat bolts and screws are tight.
- Check that faucets don't drip or leak around the base.
- Check stop action on faucet handles.
- Check condition of caulk/grout in bathtubs/showers.
- Check insulation on water pipes in foundation crawl space and attic.
- Check for safe and easy access to water shutoff valves (street curb, water heater, sinks, toilets, etc.).
- Check for safe and easy access to any gas shutoff valves (meter, furnace, water heater, etc.).
- Check for loose toilets and loose toilet tanks.
- Check for safe and easy access to electric panels and main circuit breaker.
- Check that ceiling fans work on all speeds.
- Check for burned out lights, including ceiling fans.
- Check for damaged or loose outlets and light switches, including covers for outlets and switches.
- Check for unplugged appliances, and unplug anything that is unnecessary to facilitate outlet testing by the Buyer's property inspector.
- Remove extension cords and outlet multipliers.
- Check that outlets work.
- Check for outdated two-prong outlets and upgrade them to three-prong outlets.
- Check for properly working GFCI outlets in kitchen, bathrooms, garage, and exterior.
- Check that exhaust fans work in kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry area.
- Check that any electrical junction boxes have covers.
- Check condition of towel holders and tissue holders.
- Check condition of bathtubs, showers, and shower doors, and replace old shower curtains.
- Check that safety seal shows on floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors.
- Check that carbon monoxide alarms work.
- Check that smoke alarms work, and that they are present on each floor of multi-story houses.
- Check for loose kitchen and bathroom countertops.
- Check ease of operation for doors (including closet doors and cabinet doors), drawers, and windows, including windows nailed or painted shut.
- Check for missing, loose, or damaged hardware on doors (including closet doors and cabinet doors), drawers (stops and guides), and windows.
- Check for loose glass panes in windows and doors, as well as glass with holes or cracks in them.
- Check that latches/locks work on doors (including closet doors and cabinet doors), drawers, and windows.
- Check for damage to screen windows.
- Remove excessive storage (closets, attic, garage).
- Check for damage to walls and ceilings that need to be patched and painted.
- Check for moisture stains on ceilings and walls; around doors and windows; near sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and showers; and near the dishwasher.
- Check for loose, missing, or damaged guardrails and handrails in stairways.
- Check for loose, broken or missing baseboards and door and window moldings.
- Check for cracked tiles or deteriorated grouting in kitchen and bathrooms.
- Check that kitchen appliances work.
- Check that an anti-tip device is installed on the range.
- Let dogs and cats vacation for a few hours with a family member, friend, or at a pet spa. Check that other pets (birds, snakes, rodents, etc.) are caged.
- Certain items should be inspected annually due to their inherently dangerous nature. These include gas-using appliances, pool/spa equipment, roof, and the fireplace and chimney. If they have not been inspected within the last 12 months, having it done now can make escrow go more smoothly.
- Check that filters are in place and clean (kitchen range hood, heating/cooling, bathroom fans, etc.).
- Check for soot, cobwebs, and wildlife in the fireplace and lower areas of the chimney.
- The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that the fireplace and chimney undergo a Level II inspection any time real estate ownership is transferred, and I recommend having that done prior to the Buyer's inspection.
- Check that the fireplace damper opens/closes easily.
- Check for manufacturer installation guides, operating instructions, or user guides that you can provide to the buyer, especially for kitchen appliances; heating and cooling system; water heater; security, irrigation, fire suppression, central cleaning, and water modification systems; water well; and septic system.
- Many property inspectors exclude inspection and testing of some specialized systems, such as security and irrigation systems. Once you get the Buyer's inspection report, note what the Inspector did and did not do or could and could not do. Offer to meet with the Buyer to demonstrate how those systems are operated and maintained, and provide the contact information for any companies that regularly service the systems.
- Check for receipts and warranty papers for any work done on the property, particularly for inspections and work done to prepare the property for sale.
Readers should feel free to reblog this or even to copy it, reformat it, and print it to use in your own businesses. It's always been one of my most useful flyers.
Try RusselRayPhotos.com for inexpensive, royalty-free photos.
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