Sellers! The Home Inspector for the buyer is coming to inspect your house. What is the absolute WORST thing that could happen during the inspection (aside from finding serious structural problems)?
The WORST thing that can happen is to get an "INCOMPLETE REPORT", because your house was not ready for the Inspector.
It happens! Blocked crawlspaces. Blocked attics. No keys available for locked interior doors. The gas has been cut off; there is no gas to test the gas appliances. Water heaters that cannot be accessed because they are blocked by clutter in the garage.
You do NOT want to see statements in the Inspection Report like, "Inspector could not get access to the attic", or "Inspector could not get into the crawl space", or "Inspector could not test the gas fireplace because the gas supply was cut off", or "the water heater was blocked with clutter, and therefore could not be tested".
A report like that will NOT be acceptable to the Buyer!
If the Inspector has to return for a second inspection, there may be an additional charge, and time is lost. You may be asked to pay the additional expense.
Or, the Buyer could use the "failed" Inspection Report to back out of the deal! The Buyer walks away, and your house goes back on market. You are starting completely over, looking for another Buyer.
Sellers, the following checklist will help to ensure that everything gets inspected. Performing these steps before the Home Inspector arrives will decrease the chance that your Inspection Report will contain remarks like, "not tested" or "unable to access/not inspected".
1. Turn on all Utilities, including Water, Gas, and Electric.
2. All Pilot Lights should be lit and burning. This includes the water heater, the stove, the fireplace, and any other pilot lights.
3. If your appliances burn Propane or Fuel Oil from a tank, make sure that there is sufficient fuel in those tanks.
4. Turn Active Alarm Systems OFF, unless the Inspector instructs you otherwise.
5. Computers! The Inspector may be turning the electric power to your house on and off. Back up your computer data, then turn the computer off and leave it turned off, to prevent any data loss.
6. Radiators or Heating Elements - the Inspector will turn these on. Move any furniture or obstructions away from these heat sources.
7. Fireplaces - make sure that they are not obstructed. Vacuum or clean out any ashes.
8. Air Conditioning Vents on the floors and/or walls - the Inspector may use an infrared measuring tool to check the temperature of the air coming out of those vents. Make certain that none of the AC or heating vents are blocked or obstructed.
9. Electrical Panels/Breaker Boxes - make sure that nothing is blocking the Breaker Panel.
10. Electric Outlets - move any furniture that is blocking electric outlets. If you have GFCI protected outlets in the kitchen, garage, laundry room, bathrooms, or elsewhere, make sure that nothing is blocking those GFCI outlets. The Inspector will want to test each one of them.
11. Water Heaters - the area around the water heater must be completely clear, to allow easy access for the Home Inspector.
12. Pets! Get your pets out of the house. Cats and dogs should be caged, restrained, or removed from the premises.
13. Attics - make certain that the Inspector can get to the Attic Door, especially if it is inside a closet. Remove excess items from the Attic - the Inspector MUST be able to freely move around inside the attic.
14. Crawl Spaces and Basements - just like the Attic, the Inspector must be able to enter and freely move around in the Crawl Space that is under your house.
15. If the Seller or the Listing Agent will not be present during the Inspection, give the Seller's cell phone number to the Inspector, in case the Inspector has any questions.
16. Keys and Codes - provide keys to all doors; keys to all gates, and garage door openers. Provide the keypad codes for any electronic locks or gates.
17. Garage - move your cars out of the Garage. Park them on the street, or at a neighbor's house.
18. Exterior of the House - Trim bushes and plants away from water faucets and exterior dryer vents. Especially clear bushes and plants from around the exterior Air Conditioner units. Make everything easily accessible to the Inspector!
19. Filters - Clean or replace all Filters. This includes AC filters, filters in the range hood, clothes dryer filters (if that appliance is included in the sale), and any other filters in the house.
20. Bathrooms - Remove everything from the tub or shower. Remove items that may be on top of the toilet tank lid. Remove items from the vanity cabinet under the sink, so that the Inspector can check the water cut-off valves.
21. Kitchen Sink - remove all dishes from the sink. Remove items from the cabinet under the sink, so that the Inspector can access the water shut-off valves.
22. Kitchen Appliances - remove dishes from the dishwasher, remove all pots and pans from the stove and the oven (if those appliances are included in the sale).
23. Laundry Room - remove clothes from the washer and dryer (if these appliances are included in the sale).
24. Light Bulbs - replace any burned-out light bulbs in ceiling fixtures, vanity lights, and other built-in lighting fixtures.
25. Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors - install new batteries if necessary.
26. Documents and Permits for work done on the house during the time of your ownership - have the paperwork and receipts for all repairs or upgrades to the house, such as the new roof, new windows, an addition, or an enclosed porch or garage. Have copies of any Building Permits that were required for work done on the house. Keep these on the kitchen counter or kitchen table, in plain sight.
27. Seller's Disclosure (the form that your Listing Agent asked you to complete when you put the house up for sale) - have copies of that form available for the Inspector to review.
** Bonus Tip if you are present during the Inspection **
Some Sellers want to be present during the Home Inspection. The Listing Agent may also be on site. The Buyer and the Buyer's Broker will most likely be in attendance.
Let the Inspector work! Give her or him plenty of room. Don't distract the Inspector with needless small talk. If you have any questions for the Inspector, direct them to your Listing Agent.
The WORST thing that can happen to a Seller during a Home Inspection is to get an "INCOMPLETE REPORT", because the house was not ready for the Inspector.
You can increase the chances of getting a COMPLETED INSPECTION by performing the 27 tasks listed above!