When it comes to selling a house, there will be a point where you’ll need to prepare for a home inspection. But what is a home inspection?
What tasks need to be undertaken before the home inspector arrives?
And what do you need to do to prepare for this?
Let’s look at some of the basics first.
HomeAdvisor says the average home inspection will cost between $280 – $401.
The variation in cost is determined by location in the country, size of the property, and how easy it is to inspect. If your heaters and furnaces are in hard-to-reach places, you could be served a more extensive bill.
As an FYI, home inspections are optional, but if there are any undisclosed issues, you could be liable in some states.
This means it’s in your best interest to hire a professional to inspect your home to avoid future liabilities.
So when should you start preparing for a home inspection?
When does a home inspection take place?
A home inspection should occur before an appraiser arrives from a potential buyer’s financial institution. An appraiser will verify that the property’s listing price and agreed-upon offer are equal to at least market value.
The timing around when you call in a home inspection isn’t stipulated into law, but we’d suggest doing it as soon as possible.
Your inspector will go through your home and generate a report on what they think is required to meet an independent appraiser’s standards.
Bear in mind that an appraiser will conduct research into the home and will be armed with a comparative market analysis (CMA) to generate their report for the bank. So they will be well informed.
The CMA will list the prices of homes that have sold in the area over the last nine months and information gathered on the surrounding properties that have sold within a three-mile radius.
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This information will give them just a general idea of pricing. For the appraiser to get a better picture, they will also need to investigate:
- The state of the home in regards to cracks, damage, and leaks
- Size of the house and the property lot
- Quality of the landscaping
- Condition of the foundation and roofing
- Number of rooms
- Lighting and plumbing
- Number of fireplaces
- State of swimming pool or sprinkler systems
- And finishing details around the home.
While this may seem like a comprehensive list of elements to investigate, your home inspector will be looking for issues buried out of sight and mind.
So, what is a home inspector’s checklist comprised of?
What is on a home inspector’s checklist?
When wondering, “How to prepare for a home inspection as a seller?” You need to know what elements of the home the inspector will analyze.
These include the following:
Exterior and more
The curbside appeal of your home can increase the perceived home value by up to 11%. While this has more to do with paint and landscaping, your home inspector will look closely at every detail. Such as:
- Exterior siding
- Roofing (includes chimney and other elements on the roof)
- Garage doors and carports
- Drainage system
- Driveway and walkways
- Balconies, decking, porches, and railings
- Eaves and fascias
- And any crawl spaces beneath the home
And that’s just the outside. So what’s next on their checklist?
What’s in the basement
If your home has a basement, your inspector will be keen to take a closer look at it. In the basement, the home inspector can gauge the foundations of a building and more. But they will also be reviewing:
- Condition of the ground floor
- Sump pump
- And plumbing
As this is the base of the home, the home inspector will want to ensure that everything is above board here. Issues with foundations can automatically end any ideas you have of selling your home unless you find a cash buyer.
What’s the next room on the home inspector’s checklist?
Looking around the attic
After completing the groundwork, it’s time to investigate the roof and more. The attic is the first line of defense from potential leaks in the roof. Other elements a home inspector will want to view are:
- Exhaust ducts
- Insulation and ventilation
- Soffit vents
- End Louvers
- And electrical splices (ceiling lights)
Now it’s time to investigate the rooms, starting with the heart of the home.
What’s cooking in the kitchen
The kitchen is one of the rooms in a home that can turn a potential buyer into a person with an offer. The home inspector will be looking at:
- Built-in appliances
- Exhaust fans
- Sink and faucets
- Plumbing under the sink
- Shut-off valves
- And sprayers
If you live with a smoke detector, they will test whether it works, which means one of the most straightforward tasks when preparing for a home inspection is checking its batteries.
Next up is the bathroom.
Taking care of business in the bathroom
One of the essential rooms in the home is the bathroom. It’s where you take care of your business, after all. But what are home inspectors looking for? Well, they’re concerned with:
- Plumbing under the sink
- All wall fixtures
- Shower and tub
- Shower head and caulking
- Ceiling (mold build-up)
- Extraction fan
Now it’s time to review the other rooms of the home.
The other interior rooms
This is a blanket term for all rooms in the home, including the living room, bedrooms, lounge, and dining room, to name just a few.
In all these separate spaces, the home inspector will be viewing:
- Doors and windows
- Garage door operation
- Walls, floors, and ceilings
- Cupboards and countertops
While your home inspector has investigated all the plumbing and electrical systems in each room, they will review the entire system again.
Electrical and plumbing
Out of all the tasks the home inspector will be investigating, electrical and plumbing is one of the most important.
If there is an issue with either of these elements, it will affect the entire home. This can be expensive. So, what are the most important plumbing areas?
- Sewage lines and injectors
- Drains, vents, and waste systems
- Sump pumps
- Water heater
- Fixture and faucets
With electrical systems, they will be reviewing:
- Light fixtures
- Overcurrent protection devices
- Circuit interrupters
- Service cables
- Service equipment like grounding and main disconnects
While this is an extensive list, there are bound to be others that are unique to your property. This will mean the home inspector is going to want to investigate them, too.
Some spaces and elements aren’t a concern to home inspectors. They include:
- Rodents and pests
- Low-wattage electrical systems like phone lines
- And areas that aren’t accessible
So, now that you know what they’re looking at, here’s how to prepare your house for a home inspection.
How to prepare your house for a home inspection
When welcoming a home inspector to your house, you need to ensure some essential elements have been taken care of, which include the following:
Do a deep clean
It’s essential that the inspector can see all the corners of your home. Dirty walls and floors can mask problems.
Clear away clutter
No one is amused by having to climb over odd ends around the home. Make sure to declutter spaces. And as the realtor will want to stage your home after this, you might as well.
Keep furnaces and water heaters obstacle free
When clearing away clutter around the home, easy access to spaces storing furnaces and water heaters.
The same goes for crawl spaces. As the seller, it is in your best interest that the home inspector can identify issues.
Do basic landscaping
Your home inspector will want to view the guttering and exterior of your roof. This might mean doing some trimming of trees and shrubs.
If other utility points are covered with foliage, you will want to make it easy for them to access. This leads us to the next job.
Make sure utilities are on
You might have switched off the utilities if you are not currently living on the property. When the inspector does arrive, these need to be on to prove they are functional.
Also, check all your safety shut-off valves and switches as this can be an easy issue to highlight when they arrive.
Other general maintenance jobs should also be completed to help the inspector identify issues.
And if you have a record of maintenance work being carried out, sharing this with the inspector will help immensely.
Be generally decent
Making sure problematic pets are taken for a walk and children are out of the way will always be a benefit. Also, schedule the inspection with enough time to take care of the list above.
You will probably need to walk through the property with the inspector to point out the issues to the contractors who are resolving the problems.
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