Getting Ready for the Home Inspection

Home Inspector with Safe@Home Inspections, LLC in SE Washington 215

Congratulations!  You have an offer on your home and the inspection date and time have been set.  Now, let’s try to make this work as easily as possible for everyone and have an inspection process that helps you get to a successful closing.


First, let’s take care of some basic maintenance issues that might distract from the inspection:


·         Have you changed the furnace filter recently?  A dirty filter will be mentioned in the report and causes the buyer to question other issues like the ductwork and cleanliness.

·         Are all the light bulbs working?  Test your interior and exterior lights.  If some switches are don’t make sense after a remodel in 1962, leave a note for the inspector explaining what switches turn on which item. 

·         Do you have new batteries in the smoke alarms? Many inspectors will test these using the button.  If the batteries are weak, the alarms will start to chirp alerting the buyer to look for other items that haven’t been serviced lately.  You should have a smoke detector in each bedroom and one per floor.

·         Do you have a carbon monoxide detector? One per floor is recommended.

·         Are the windows and doors working smoothly?  Sticky doors and windows will get noted in the report so doing a little light maintenance may go a long way.

  • Provide keys, or unlock sheds and all outside buildings.
  • If you haven’t cleaned the gutters recently, consider doing this before the inspection.
  • Trim the shrubs and trees around the home.  This serves two purposes.  First, well formed shrubs and trees enhance the curb appeal of the home.  Second, the inspector can get to the areas on the exterior walls to report accurately what is there instead of making  comments about potential pest intrusion and water damage.
  • Cleaning is tough.  You’ve been doing it while you’ve been showing the house and –success! – you have an offer.  Please maintain your momentum and keep cleaning.  Buyers react negatively when they house was spotless for the showing but messy for the inspection.  It also makes it tough for the inspector by obscuring outlets, floors counter tops, etc. while slowing down the inspection. 


Home inspectors are also not required or advised to move personal items that are blocking access to areas that need to be inspected. This may result in an incomplete inspection, call backs, additional fees and a frustrated buyer.  It is to your best advantage to provide easy access to the following areas:


·         Main electrical panel.

·         Electrical sub panels.

·         Attic access door. This may be in a closet, hallway or garage.

·         Under room crawlspace access doors, including stored items in the space.

·         Water mains.

·         Hot water heater and surrounding area.

·         Furnace and surrounding area.

Last but not least…I love animalsand, for the most part, they love me back.  But having strangers intrude into their home can be very stressful for your pet. Try to find a safe location for them.  Cats are usually self-sufficient but dogs need some security.  Sometimes this may mean taking them to a friend or relative.  If you have no alternative but to leave them at home, consider providing them with a comfortable kennel and some water rather than locking them in a room or the garage.  Many inspectors will not enter a space with an unfamiliar dog no matter how friendly it seems.



Best wishes and Good Luck!




Comments (19)

Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489

Paul - Great Tips! I'll use these for my sellers! Thanks for sharing!

Jul 11, 2012 01:11 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Very good tips for home sellers.

I hope you are having a most productive week.

Jul 11, 2012 11:28 PM
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Lots of common sense in your blog. Doesn't seem in this world people do things to make life easier. Light bulbs especially.

Jul 11, 2012 11:50 PM
Gayle Causey
formerly with Keller Williams Realty Parishwide Partners - Monroe, LA

Oh, you're so right! During a recent inspection of my listing, the inspector called 2 outdoor light fixtures because he could not find the switch that turned on one of them and the other's bulb was out.  Certainly no need for an electrician, but it was a hassle with paperwork!

Thanks for your post.

Jul 11, 2012 11:57 PM
Daniel J. Brudnok, REALTOR
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, REALTORS - Exton - PA License #RS-225179-L / Delaware License #RS-0025038 - Downingtown, PA


Finding a good Inspector is our responsibility to our Buyer's......from there developing a working relationship that works is mandatory.


Like Gayle, I had an outdoor light that was missed by a non-referred Inspector and the deal almost fell apart over a unnecessary request for an Electrician.

Jul 12, 2012 12:38 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Paul, all good tips for helping out the home inspector. Makes life easier for both the homeowner and the inspector. Thanks.

Jul 12, 2012 02:53 AM
David Burrows
Classic Realty - Fairfax, VA
No Pressure, Just Seriously Devoted to Real Estate

All valid point that sellers need to be aware of. Nice post today.

Jul 12, 2012 03:10 AM
Matt Cochrell
Ready Realty by Core Select, Inc. - Columbus, OH
MBA in Business Analytics, ABR, NAR Green, BPOR

As a person about to have a home inspection on my personal house, and on a listing I'm taking notes!  Thanks

Jul 12, 2012 03:28 AM
Hank Richter
HomePro Inspections of RI - Providence, RI


Jul 12, 2012 04:30 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

To avoid a lot of unnecessary buyer demands, sellers should have an inspection done prior to the listing, IMHO, if at all possible. 

Jul 12, 2012 06:16 AM
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, Broker/Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Huntsville AL - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Paul, I'm here via Carla Freund's reblog.  Really great tips for sellers to remember...I can't tell you how many times my home inspector wasn't able to get into a crawl or even detached garage...oh yes...utilities need to be one...that's always a nice surprise when they're not.

Jul 12, 2012 08:26 AM
Carmen DiSalvo
Northeast Ohio Home Inspections Akron, Oh - Akron, OH

Nice article! Couldn't agree more.

Jul 12, 2012 09:01 AM
Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate
Kelly Right Real Estate - Hood River, OR
Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs

What great suggestions. If every seller would follow these guidelines they could save a lot of headache down the road. Thanks!


Jul 12, 2012 09:27 AM
Paul Duffau
Safe@Home Inspections, LLC in SE Washington - Asotin, WA
Caring for People, Educating about Homes

To all of you,


Thanks for the nice responses!  Normally I try to thank everyone by name but I think this is my most popular post ever.

If you have any other suggestions, feel free to add to the list. 


Jul 12, 2012 10:48 AM
Rob Ernst
Certified Structure Inspector - Reno, NV
Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor

Seems like wishful thinking. I work with a few agents that really do make things easier for me. One even asks the sellers to move furniture away from walls so I can see everything and get to all the outlets.

Jul 12, 2012 01:15 PM
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


Good advice.  I especially like your suggestion that the seller leave a not about what switches turn on what lights. 

Jul 12, 2012 01:47 PM
Paul Duffau
Safe@Home Inspections, LLC in SE Washington - Asotin, WA
Caring for People, Educating about Homes

Rob:  Wish more sellers would listen to their Realtors when hey offer good advice.

Evelyn: LOL.  I've always lived in old houses with tons of "mystery" switches.  One house took me two years to figure out a switch - the back hallway had the switch for the street-side light at the driveway on the front side of the house.



Jul 14, 2012 06:36 AM
Spectrum Inspection Group
Spectrum Inspection Group - Las Vegas, NV

Paul, as a home inspector myself, I love this list.  Excellent post and great tips!

Sep 26, 2012 04:57 AM