Get Ready For Your Buyer's Home Inspection - what to do
A typical home inspection will take about 2- 3 hours. Make plans to be out of the house
for the entire time, and make a mental note that some home inspectors can arrive 30 -
40 minutes before the appointment time to get set up. The inspector will have a ladder
or accessing the roof and attic, his computer to take notes and a camera that he will
take pictuures of the home with. Be prepared ahead of time, that way you won't be
surprised if he does show up early, and you are just getting out of the shower :)
Thoroughly clean the house
It may seem obvious, but cleaning is often overlooked before an inspection. Inspectors
aren’t always looking beyond the mess to the real issues within the home. An unkempt
house gives the impression of uncaring owners and neglected regular maintenance.
Additionally, new buyers are likely to accompany the inspector and will feel the same
way; they may possibly rethink their purchase or find the property less appealing than
they originally envisioned.
Have the home ready on time
A home inspection can take as long as three hours. With busy schedules to keep and
reports to prepare, home inspectors try their hardest to be on time. Often, inspectors are
early. A good rule of thumb is to be ready half an hour before the appointment time.
Remember as well that inspectors often think little of starting early around the outside of
the property, without your knowing they are even there.
Leave keys to all locked utility boxes and doors, if there is a shed or out building, make
sure they have access. Inaccessible systems are cause for incomplete inspections and
delays, this could mean the inspector will have to return, and the entire process can be
delayed. Arrange a place for the inspector to find the keys, leaving them on the kitchen
counter with a note explaining which keys open which doors is a good idea.
Keep utilities connected
If the property is unoccupied, be sure all utilities--electricity, gas, oil, water--are
connected and filled enough for appliances to run. The home inspector will need to test
heating and cooling systems, plumbing, appliances, faucets, electrical systems and
more. Without utilities, required testing cannot be done. The result is an incomplete
inspection. Incomplete inspections will delay the release of the home inspection
contingency clause, which, in turn, will delay closing.
Make sure pilot lights are lit
For liability reasons, home inspectors will not light pilot lights on stoves, furnaces and
water heaters. When pilot lights are not lit, inspections are rendered incomplete.
Clear workspace around systems
Home inspectors need adequate room to access appliances, electrical panels, and
heating and cooling units. Remove boxes, stored items and debris from these areas; at
least three feet of workspace is recommended.
Provide access to additional spaces
Attics, garages, sheds, basements and crawlspaces need to be accessible to the home
inspector. Clear away any blockages and make sure doors can be opened (unlock if
necessary). This includes accessing inspection hatches for bathtubs with jets, water
meters and shutoff valves.
Remove appliance contents
Dishwashers and stoves are subject to the home inspection and will be run. Even if an
appliance is not included in the sale, inspectors will run your machine to ensure that the
plumbing, venting and electrical supplies are in working order. Make sure the dishes are
out of the dishwasher, or that is soap readily available and leave a note letting the
inspector know that the dishes can be cleaned during the inspection.
Clear exterior clutter and debris
Foundations, outside electrical outlets and faucets are a few of the items inspectors will
want to see outside. Remove trash cans, trim branches and brush, dispose of dead
limbs and clear an accessible path around the home, especially in winter. Again, the
inspection will be easier, but the appearance of your house will improve as well.
Collect receipts for repairs
Leave receipts and repair invoices for anything you have recently had fixed in the home.
This shows proof of upkeep and answers to many questions an inspector may have.
Take your pets with you or have them boarded elsewhere for the day. At the very least,
secure animals in crates or kennels far away from any area where the inspector will be.
Avoid an incomplete inspection, pet loss or liability resulting from nervous pets.
Plan to leave for at least three hours. This includes children and other home occupants.
Inspectors are often accompanied by buyers, and both will want uninhibited, free access
to ask questions and explore the home. The buyer's agent will accompany the buyers to the inspection and will use the key from the lockbox for access. They will lock up when they are done, and you can return home after 3--4 hours.