Some local governments require that sellers provide buyers with a detailed home inspection while giving the buyer the option to obtain their own inspection. In other parts of the country, the seller only provides disclosures, and the buyer pays for their own home inspection.
Whether you're producing a seller's home inspection for the buyer or expecting the buyer's home inspector to show up on your doorstep, it's best to be prepared!
1. Clean the house.
A clean home says that you care about the house. It's a good idea to make a good impression. Don't make the mistake of thinking inspectors can see past dirt and clutter, because they can't.
2. Be on Time
Have the house ready for inspection at 8:30 if an inspector makes an appointment with you for 9:00 a.m. Sometimes home inspectors are early. It's also common for inspectors to start on the exterior of the home, so leave the shades down or drapes drawn until you're dressed. More than one unprepared seller has been surprised by a stranger stomping around in the backyard.
3. Leave the Utilities Connected
The home inspector will turn on the stove, run the dishwasher, and test the furnace and air conditioning, so leave the utilities on if the house is vacant. It's impossible to check receptacles for grounding and reverse polarity if the power is turned off. Without utilities, the inspector will have to reschedule, which could delay the closing of your transaction.
4. Leave Space Around the Furnace and Water Heaters
Remove boxes, bookcases, furniture, and anything else that's blocking access to your furnace, air conditioner, and water heater. The inspector will need three to four feet of working space to inspect these items. Inspectors generally won't move anything themselves, so they might suggest a specialist to the buyer if they don't have reasonable access. They'll let someone else deal with it. Buyers might then hire a specialist who will undoubtedly find more things wrong. Specialists have a lot more knowledge than general inspectors.
5. Provide Access to Attic and Garage
The inspector must get into your basement and/or attic as well, so keep a path cleared. Check for water in the basement. Move all boxes and stored items away from the walls by at least two feet. Vacuum spider webs. Look in the attic for possible rodent droppings, and secure any valuables.
6. Leave Keys for Outbuildings and Electrical Boxes
Leave the remote controls for your garage door opener or a key if the garage is unattached to the house. Unlock the covers for your sprinkler system and electrical box. Leave a key for exterior building access. You can label these keys and leave them on a kitchen table.
7. Prepare to be Away for at Least Three Hours
Walk around your property to get a view of the areas the inspector will be looking closely at: wiring, plumbing, drainage, gutters, and foundation. You don't have to be an expert, and you're not trying to pinpoint problems before the inspector does. Just make sure the areas are easily accessible, clean, and well maintained!
International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. "The Duty to Warn: A Home Inspector's and Home Seller's Guide to Immediate Hazards." Accessed May 3, 2020.
American Society of Home Inspectors. "8 Things Every Home Inspection Checklist Should Include." Accessed May 3, 2020.
RE/MAX. "Preparing Your Home For An Inspection." Accessed May 3, 2020.
Watkins Realty & Associates. "Home Inspection Tips For Sellers." Accessed May 3, 2020.
American Society of Home Inspectors. "The Quick Home Inspection Checklist: What To Look For When Buying A Home