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8 Tips for Sellers Before a Home Inspection

Spectora 5/30/19 1:52 PM

A home inspection is a crucial step and often a deciding factor in the sale of homes for the majority of home buyers. 

Since most buyers rely on a home inspection going smoothly as a contingent to buy a home or not, as a seller you want to make sure that you do everything you can to ensure it goes well! 

Remember that all home inspections with find defects, and most of them will be minor. Even a good home inspection could have dozens of minor defects (see each state's average here). Here are some best practices to help your inspection go as well as possible and get one step closer to selling your home!

1. Ramp Up Your Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is a major factor in a buyer’s interest in your home. As much as people say not to “judge a book by it’s cover” first impressions are influential, they are a subconscious element and create either positive or negative feelings. 

To ramp up your home’s curb appeal: 

  • Pull out your green thumb - make your yard look manicured by mowing the grass, clipping trees and shrubs, planting a few flowers, and cutting vegetation away from the house 
  • Check to make sure gates and doors work properly, and test locks and deadbolts to be sure they are functioning easily and correctly
  • Touch up paint spots if need be, remove exposed nails 
  • Sweep off porches or decks, and spray off sidewalks if there is debris (don’t do this if it is winter, it might freeze and create an icy walk-way!)

The home inspector, while not the actual buyer, will also notice the condition of your home at first sight. If it looks well kept-up and clean, this will give them a first impression that the home is well taken care of, which could benefit you on the home inspection report. 

2. Check the Gutters and Roof

The roof and gutters are something that is on every home inspector’s list to check, so it is important to make sure that they are in good condition! 

The best way to do this is to clean out gutters from debris that may have collected, so that the home inspector can easily tell if they are in good condition. Clean off the roof as well - a leaf blower or a pressure washer are both good tools to do this. 

If there is any damage - especially things that you may have fixed temporarily - make sure to fix them before the inspection. DIY patches and other unfinished repairs will be noted as defects on the inspection report

3. Triple Check Everything Indoors 

The inside of the home is just as important as the outside, and the inspector will look at everything in your home. Do a quick check to make sure that: 

  • There are no dark light bulbs
  • Smoke detectors are working 
  • All of the appliances are plugged in 
  • The inspector has access to everything, i.e. there aren’t boxes blocking the water heater, the garage door opener works, etc 
  • The filter in the HVAC has been changed recently 
  • Sinks aren’t leaking underneath 
  • All of the locks are working properly

4. Tidy Up Every Room

Just like cleaning the outside of your home and manicuring it is important, having a clean inside is just as needed

Dust, vacuum, and put away random items inside. While the inspector will appreciate this because it will make their job easier, the homeowner will also appreciate that you take good care of your home. 

They will also be able to envision their things being in the space and picture it being their home, whereas a messy home only makes buyers want to leave the mess. 

5. Be On Time 

Inspectors are timely people, if they are supposed to be at your home at 9 am, they will be there right at 9. Not only do you want to make a good impression by being ready to greet them when they get there, but you also don’t want to delay them. 

Inspectors can do multiple inspections in a day, and taking two or more hours each, they are prompt and will want to get started right away. 

6. Make All Areas of Your Home Accessible

Ensuring that the home inspector can get to every area of your home is crucial to the inspection going well. If they cannot get to an item they need to inspect - like the electrical panel - because it is blocked by a cabinet, they will have to mark it as a defect or that they couldn’t inspect it. 

This will not only be suspicious to the buyer but also might mean that the inspector has to come back out to your property at a later date, which will draw out the buying process. 

Leave keys and passcodes to anything that would need to be accessed, like outdoor sheds and garages. These will allow them to get into the space and inspect it, and they will make sure to close it up properly when they are done. 

7. Provide Important Documents

If you have recently had work done on your home, like getting a new roof, make sure to leave documents attesting to the service that you have had done. 

This will be helpful for the inspector to know, and will also be an incentive for the buyer, because they will know that they are getting a home that has had updates recently. This is important to a lot of buyers because they know that they will not have to have it done themselves for a couple of years. 

8. Be Courteous and Leave 

Although it may seem strange to leave your home with the inspector and the buyer, it is important that you - as the seller - are not present during the buyer’s inspection. 

The inspector will not feel comfortable pointing out potential defects if you are there for fear of upsetting you, and the buyer will likely not want to ask as many questions for the same reason. 

Make sure to bring pets (that you can) with you and children especially! If you can’t bring pets with you, make sure to kennel them to let the inspector do their job as easily as possible! 

Plan to stay away for at least three hours. Then, you can return home once the inspector or buyer informs you that the inspection is complete!

Either Way, Being Prepared Helps

No matter if you're following these tips to entice buyers in a buyer's market - or just maximizing your value in a sellers market - these are just nice things to do.

There is something to be said about the pride of homeownership, and part of that is having a smooth transaction where you're conscious of and courteous to the next owner of your home.

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