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How to Prepare For a Home Inspection

When selling your home, you’re not required to get a home inspection. But as the seller, you can preemptively address issues head-on to avoid hiccups in the sales process. Here are some key areas to focus on fixing before the inspector arrives. 

Woman performing a home inspection iStock

Selling a home can be a challenging experience. Once you’ve done all the fixes your real estate agent has recommended, you may feel like your work is complete. However, there may be other issues you still need to address that only a home inspector can find.

They will be looking for what is unsafe, unfit, aging, or improperly installed. So, to avoid delays that can last weeks or months at the closing table for you or the buyer, it may be in your best interest to obtain a home inspection. Read on to learn how to prepare for a home inspection.

Who is Responsible for Getting a Home Inspection?

Of all the many things you must do as a homeowner to get your home ready to sell, you’ll be happy to know that you are not obligated to arrange a home inspection. Once a home buyer decides they want to close on a home, they must coordinate a home inspection. A potential home buyer isn’t required by law to get a home inspection. However, despite not requiring it, lenders may not grant a mortgage on the home without it.

If this task isn’t your responsibility, why should you bother? Well, if there are any issues with your home that need fixing before you sell it, you will need to address them. And if you’re pressed for time, this could delay your ability to sell your home and move out as quickly as possible. In that case, it would be ideal to either do your own home inspection or obtain a professional home inspection. This will allow for a much more seamless process of selling your home once you and the buyer get to the closing stage.

What Do Home Inspectors Look For?

Being proactive about getting a home inspection is a smart way to avoid some of the home inspection nightmares lurking in your place. And if there are any areas around your home where you may have slacked on regular maintenance, there could be numerous problems that could delay the sale of your home or prevent it entirely.

When you’re ready to sell your home, it may be a good idea to get a home inspection before putting it on the market. Keep in mind that an inspector isn’t intentionally looking for trouble. Instead, they want to compile an unbiased, detailed report that is useful to all parties involved. This will allow you to know well in advance the necessary items you’ll need to fix and then determine whether you want to repair them exclusively or try to negotiate with the buyer to help with these updates, especially if they are big-ticket items. To help make an inspector’s job easier, it is a good idea for you to clear your house of clutter so that the inspector will have access to areas they need to check, including electrical boxes, hot water heaters, and other critical parts of your home. Additionally, here are some of the more critical items a home inspector will look for when visiting your home.

  • Ensure the toilets flush without issues.
  • Check the caulk around tubs and shower for cracks or deterioration.
  • Try out all the door and windows, including hinges, knobs, locks, or other hardware.
  • Encourage you to get maintenance on your HVAC and ensure it is free from obstructions.
  • Make sure the dryer vent is clean and free of obstructions.
  • Confirm the safety detectors are working properly.
  • Test the electrical to make sure it’s working correctly and safely.
  • Examine the water heater to see if it is running properly.
  • Observe the roof and chimney for any problems.
  • Check for cracks or other issues with the foundation, particularly drainage problems.
  • Check for moisture issues, including water stains or mold buildup.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of what an inspector will check, it will give you a gist of what most inspectors will likely investigate. If you notice problems in any of these areas before an inspector arrives, fixing them is a good idea.

What Can You Do Before the Inspector Arrives?

Once you get a list of issues regarding your property from a home inspector, addressing these matters is beneficial before closing. While there are some things that a buyer may be willing to negotiate on, you can’t expect them to inherit all your home’s problems. If you want to vacate your house as quickly as possible and move into your new home, it’ll work in your favor to start repairing items immediately.

Here are a few other things you can do before the home inspector arrives.

  • Change out lightbulbs with LED bulbs.
  • Turn on the refrigerator’s ice maker if you plan to include it in the sale.
  • Check all major appliances, ensuring they work as they should.
  • Clean your windows.
  • Replace broken ceiling fans.
  • Ensure your garage doors are working properly.
  • Clean the gutters.
  • Make sure your yard has proper drainage.
  • Replace windows if they are cracked or damaged.
  • Tighten all the railings on indoor or outdoor stairs, decks, or balconies.
  • Fix any roof issues.
  • Address issues with the chimney and fireplace.
  • Have an exterminator check your home for potential infestations, particularly termites, carpenter ants, or other wood-destroying pests.

These are just a few of the minor things you can do to ensure that the home inspection requested by the buyer has as few problems as possible. If there are significant issues, you can address them or attempt to negotiate the costs of fixing them with a serious buyer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you a seller still concerned about getting a home inspection? These helpful answers may help put your mind at ease.

How much is a home inspection?

You can expect to pay between $300 and $500 for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house on an acre of land. This can vary based on where you live around the country and how large or small your property is. If additional issues arise with asbestos, mold, or other problems, you may have to pay additional fees for the inspector to test these items.

Will my home inspection suffice at the closing table?

As a homeowner, your home inspection is a way to proactively address any outstanding issues with your home. A potential buyer may still opt to get an additional home inspection to protect their best interests. However, the buyer is not obligated to accept your home inspection as the final inspection and has the right to solicit the help of another home inspector if they want.

Should I be present during the home inspection?

It is not required, but it would be wise to be well-informed of what your inspector finds. This will be useful when the buyer’s inspector performs their own inspection. Knowing what your inspector has uncovered will allow you to confirm or refute the claims of the buyer’s inspector.