How to Prepare for a Home Inspection as the Seller

Home inspector explaining his report to real estate buyers

Buyers want to feel comfortable that the home or condo is in good repair and the worst thing we can do is have a lengthy inspection report full of issues. This can cause a lot of fear in the buyer’s mind that home maintenance has been neglected. Worse, if the contract is an “As Is” contract, your buyer can simply walk away and get their deposit back within the inspection period. Therefore, it is imperative you set your home up for a successful inspection that is free of the most common defects outlined below.

A home inspection is one of the most important tools in a buyer’s toolbox as it unveils any issues, potential or existing, of the home being bought. It can also mean new costs for the seller to repair the defective items (or give a cash credit to the buyer). Luckily, there are some things we can do in advance to make the inspection goes well.

Inside The Home

Lighting that functions is important and the easiest fix

Walk around your home and turn on every single light. If a bulb is out, replace it! This doesn’t sound like something that would show up on an inspection report yet if a light doesn’t come on the inspector will generally write it up as a possibly bad light fixture which just scares your buyer.

Has your A/C been professionally serviced and cleaned?

Do you have a service contract on your air conditioner? Even if you do not, have the A/C company of your choosing come out and tune it up. Make sure they clean the A/C as well as any substance in the A/C will be noted as possibly being mold. Talk about scaring a buyer!

Look for signs of water intrusion at your windows

Look at every single window sill and ensure there isn’t any staining or signs of water intrusion. If there is, have a handyman over to fix it and repaint or replace the sill. A leaky window can lead a buyer to think there is mold damage under the window.

Stains on the ceiling could be a major roof leak

When a roof leaks or condensation builds up on the A/C ducts, ceiling staining can occur. As this is a sign of moisture in the home, your buyer is going to panic and instantly assume there is mold. Walk around your home looking at every bit of your ceiling and ensure there aren’t any stains.

Is there water or moisture under your sinks?

Drip, drip, drip. In extreme cases, you’ll see damage to the cabinetry if a sink is leaking. In more mild cases, the inspector will simply find some moisture on the pipes. An easy way to test this yourself is to take a thin tissue and wipe the pipes down under your cabinets. A thin tissue will show any moisture there might be. Again, a handyman can fix this up for you in no time!

Every GFI must trip and reset

One of the easiest tests and fixes in your home is to ensure that GFI outlets trip and reset properly. You’ll usually see two buttons on them—one for trip and one for reset. Press the trip button and ensure the power goes out. Then hit the reset button to turn the outlet back on. These outlets cost under $20 so fix any that do not work.

All windows open easily and stay open

Open every window fully and ensure it stays up. If your window drops at all, the spring is generally the cause. A handyman can fix this common problem for you.

Smoke detectors all working

Easy peasy! Press the test button on every smoke detector in the house to make sure they all function. Are the smoke detectors original? If so, consider replacing them as they are relatively inexpensive.

Outside the home

How is your roof?

I don’t want you to climb on your roof to inspect the tiles however a lot of the roof is visible if you stand back a bit. If there are obvious issues such as missing shingles or cracked tiles, be sure to fix them. Want to cause a buyer to freak out? Leave them alone and the buyer will assume there’s water intrusion!

Are there any busted sprinkler heads?

Turn on that irrigation system and make sure all sprinkler heads are functioning. If not, they are also very inexpensive to replace.

Ready, aim, fire! Are your sprinkler heads aimed properly?

Your sprinkler heads may be working but are they aimed properly. I often see them aimed where they’re hitting the home! This can cause staining on the exterior of the home or worse, water can get inside. It’s easy enough to adjust where the heads are aiming so be sure to pay attention to each.

Are GFI outlets covered?

Now that we have your GFI’s all working inside, it’s time to test those outside. More importantly, outdoor outlets should be covered. If the cover is broken (or missing), replace it! It will just shrink the inspection report.

Is your pool and spa equipment functioning properly?

Is your pool pump and heater working properly? The inspector will certainly check these items so it may be worthwhile to have your pool company of choice come and service the system.

What did I miss?

What are your inspection stories? Are there other items that you had pop up on your inspection that you wish you would have fixed beforehand? Leave a comment and let us know!

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