The Home Inspection Process for Home Buyers
For a lot of sellers, the home inspection process can feel very tedious and stressful. And understandably so: Strangers arrive at the front door ready to check every nook and cranny, run every appliance, turn on every faucet, and flush every toilet. This can be very uncomfortable for a lot of sellers, but a little preparation goes a long way towards making it an easier experience.
We have compiled a general checklist to help you in preparing for your inspection so that you don’t need to stress so much about the process. Below you will find common tasks that can and should be done before the inspection. Doing the tasks on this non-inclusive list will not only allow the inspector to easily check your property, making the process smoother and possibly faster, but will also allow you as the seller to have an idea of things that may come up on the report!
- Insure that any building materials, dirt, etc. are away from the house. There should be 4-6 inches of clearance below the siding.
- All vegetation should be cut, leaving at least a foot clear to the house.
- Any and all stored items should be moved away from the house. Stored firewood specifically should be as far away from the home as possible.
- Check all siding and trim for damage and repair as necessary.
- Check all caulking around the doors and windows and repair as necessary.
- Check all exterior doors, knobs and locks to ensure they function properly. Be sure to check hinges as well. Loose hinges are an easy fix, but may be reported on the inspection.
Roof and Gutters
- Clean all debris off of the roof.
- Repair any damaged or missing roofing. Avoid using mastic or caulking to repair the roof, as this is only considered a “temporary repair” and may be noted on the report.
- Inspect gutters for any issues including sagging and rust, and fix as necessary. Be sure to clean out the gutters as well.
- Ensure all downspouts are draining away from the house. Any water not draining away can cause water to enter the basement, and will be noted on the report.
- Ensure the garage door opener is working properly.
- Check the garage door itself to ensure it closes and seals properly.
Kitchen and Bathrooms
- Check for leaks around toilets, sinks, and faucets.
- Check for any water damage on the floor around toilets and next to showers and bathtubs. Any moisture or signs of previous leaking (i.e. water spots on the floor) will be noted on the report.
- Ensure all grout and caulking is in good shape. Including the caulking around bathtubs and showers on the floor.
- Ensure all fans, fixtures and installed appliances are in working order.
Attic and Interior
- Clean, clean, clean! Properly cleaning your entire house gives the inspector a good first impression of your property and shows that it is properly taken care of.
- Ensure all interior doors and windows are working properly. Double check bedroom windows and insure they open, close and lock properly.
- Check all smoke detectors and make sure they work properly. Replace any defective or missing detectors, as this will be noted on the report.
- If you have an attic, make sure it is cleaned out so that the inspector has room to do his job. If there are fan ducts in the attic, make sure they are properly connected and venting out of the attic space properly.
- Test every light switch to ensure they all function properly.
- Replace any burnt out light bulbs. This is very important, as an inspector may think something is wrong with the electrical if there are bulbs burnt out in the house.
- Check the water heater for any leaks or water damage.
- Ensure the water heater pilot light is on and working properly.
- Check for any plumbing leaks in the crawl space (if applicable) and repair as necessary.
Heating and Cooling
- Inspect the furnace filter. Clean or replace as necessary.
- If you have an air conditioner, ensure that no debris is on or around the exterior compressor.
- Check any gas appliances that use a pilot light (such as gas log fireplaces or older furnaces) and make sure the pilot is on and working properly. If it is a warmer time of year, it may be turned off. If the house has been vacant, it may have gone out.
- Remove any kind of debris from the crawl space. This is especially important if any of the materials are flammable.
- Ensure the entire crawl space is covered in plastic. If you need to add more, make sure to only use 6 mil black plastic.
- Check all heating ducts and ensure they are all connected properly and free of damage.
- Check all foundation vent screens and make sure they are clean and undamaged. Only repair with ¼ inch galvanized hardware cloth.
On Inspection Day
- Ensure all pets are secured. While not the most important point, allowing the inspector to enter, exit and work without pets running around makes the process smoother and quicker.
- Ensure all utilities are still connected and working.
- Remove any locks on the exterior of the home, such as those on gates and fences.
Be absolutely sure that the following areas are fully open and easily accessible:
- Electrical Panel: Remove panel cover for easy access.
- Furnace: Remove the furnace cover for easy access.
- Water Heater
- Crawl Space: If the entrance to the crawl space is in a closet or other area where items may be stored, make sure they are all moved for easy access.
- All bedrooms and living areas
- All of the house’s exterior
- Decks, porches, siding, and any other exterior surfaces
We hope that this guide will prove very useful for you during the home inspection process when selling your home. If you have any questions about home inspections that we did not cover, or would just like to chat about your real estate goals, give us a call at 303.847.1868 or schedule your free home selling consultation online!