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When Selling Your Home, Follow These Tips to Prepare for A Home Inspection

Main Treasure Valley Life

When you sell your home, you want to make the most money possible from the sale. Part of that is making sure your home is showroom ready so it showcases how awesome your home is. Part of a buyer’s checklist to get a home inspection so they know what they are getting into. Here are 4 steps for sellers to follow prior to a home inspection to ensure that your home makes the best possible impression.

To help you fully understand what (if any) problems your home has, it makes sense to get a pre-listing inspection. With a pre-listing inspection, you get the full picture of any problems or repairs to make before any buyer sees it. Now, you can make these repairs so there is less room to negotiate with buyers over home repairs. Producing an inspection report to the buyers and buyer’s agent, along with the inspector’s contact information is a way to potentially forego a home inspection contingency by giving all parties some peace of mind. The buyers may bring an inspector of their own to double check, but you will have already covered the bases by following these steps prior to your own inspection.

Double check that everything inside the house works

On top of cleaning and decluttering the entire house, make sure the everyday systems work as intended too. Here is what to inspect before the inspection:

  • Light bulbs: If they are burnt out or about to burn out, replace them. It only takes a few minutes to check the whole house. If a bulb is burnt out during the inspection, the inspector could interpret that as an electrical issue. Calling an electrician is extra time and money that can be avoided with fresh light bulbs.
  • Air filters: Inspect your heating and air conditioning (HVAC) system filters. This should already be done as part of your winter prep checklist, but you should check them before an inspection. Dirty or clogged air filters put extra undue strain on the system, making them less efficient. An inspector could interpret dirty filters as an ineffective or inefficient HVAC system. Air filters are inexpensive and it only takes a few minutes to replace them. Get it done now and save a lot of hassle. After that, crank the heat and make sure every room heats up to ensure the system works as intended. Do the same with the air conditioning.
  • Outlets: Make sure all of your electrical outlets work so they don’t get labeled as an electrical problem like a burnt out light bulb. An easy way to check is to take a phone charger and plug it into each socket that is not being actively used to see if your phone starts charging. The inspector will do an outlet test as well.
  • Light switches: Flip every switch to ensure that it turns on what it’s supposed to. Lights, fans, garbage disposals, and dimmers should all work without issue. Again, this is to avoid any mis-diagnosed electrical problems.
  • Plumbing: If it has a drain, run some water and make sure the water flows into the drain without clogging. If it does clog or leak, get it fixed before the inspection so the inspector doesn't ding you for it.
  • Appliances: Ensure that your fridge and all of its systems work properly: fire up all of the stove burners and the oven; run a quick load of dishes in the dishwasher. If you have a gas stove range, make sure the pilot lights and spark plugs work and there are no gas leaks. To that end, make sure the stove hood vents work properly.
  • Sensors: Do a test of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working properly. Inspect the fuse box to make sure the breakers aren’t flipped and that the fuses are labeled clearly.
  • Check your ceilings and walls for cracks or stains. These are huge red flags for structural damage, mold, or water leaks. Getting these fixed should be high priority before you put your home on the market.

Ensure that outside looks good too

We have some articles about raising your curb appeal. Check them out for ways to help your home make a great impression. A clean exterior helps show the inspector that the inside is clean and in order as well.

In addition, here are some other exterior things to check out before the inspection.

  • Unless it’s winter, run your sprinkler system to ensure that all of the zones and timers work correctly. In addition, check to make sure that operating instructions are clearly marked, or, at the very least, easily accessible.
  • Check your doors and windows to make sure they open and close easily and thoroughly. In addition, check to make sure the weather stripping and sealing is intact and functioning to prevent air leaks.
  • If you have vinyl siding, be sure to inspect it for cracks or breaks. Get it inspected for pests and repair the damage.
  • Clean your gutters to make sure they are not clogged. After removing leaves, dirt, and debris, take the hose and run water through the gutters to fully clean it, as well as make sure there are no leaks and that it drains effectively.

Prepare a list of important documents

Buyers, real estate agents, and home inspectors love documentation. First, it shows when systems or appliances were installed/repaired and by who. Documentation also shows whether the appliances or repairs are under warranty in case they break down. These include:

  • HVAC
  • Roof
  • Appliances (dishwasher, fridge, washer/dryer, stove, oven, etc.)
  • Sprinklers
  • Garage doors

Second, if you still have instruction manuals, it makes it easy for the inspector and potential buyers to know how to operate the systems. It shows that you (the current owner) is meticulous and cares for the things you own. All parties will feel better knowing they don't have to deal with big-ticket expenses in the immediate to short term.

Don’t attend the inspection

While it seems logical to stick around to help point things out to the inspector and potential buyers, it’s better if you make yourself scarce. Take yourself and your family out to lunch, movie, or a hike to give the inspector plenty of time to do their work. The inspector can work better if they don't have to point out and justify any flaws they find. It can get awkward and time-consuming. About an hour before the inspector arrives, leave a note with any garage door codes or crawlspace and attic locations they may need, as well as a garage door opener. Also, unlock every door, gate, and shed so the inspector can inspect everything. If the inspector can’t inspect a part of the house, nobody gets the complete picture.

If you have pets, get them out of the house, either at a friend or relative’s house or a pet daycare. You don’t want the buyers or inspector to deal with your cat or dog getting underfoot and interfering with the inspection. If you have a dog, getting them out of the house removes any potential for barking or harassment, no matter how friendlyand sociable they are.

If you are planning to sell your home, it is imperative you get your home inspected before the buyers bring an inspector. Here are some tips for how to find a reputable home inspector in Idaho.

Posted by AndrewS at 8/28/2020 3:30:00 AM

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