Going through the home selling process can be taxing. For you as the seller, the time you put into the process is finally about to pay off. The buyer and you, the seller, have agreed to the terms and the Purchase Agreement.
What’s next? The home inspection. During the home inspection, the buyer may be at their highest emotional level. If you, as the seller, know beforehand what the home inspector will be looking at, you will be able to prepare your home far better for the inspection, and thereby correct the issues that may otherwise lead to more concerns for the buyer.
Contrary to popular beliefs, many of the issues that may lead to buyer’s concerns or prolonged negotiations can be addressed beforehand at little to no cost by the seller. The result can be a WIN for both buyer and seller with a quicker closing, peace of mind and a desirable outcome for all parties involved.
In fact, many of the issues around a house are regular maintenance items. Most homeowners are not aware of various issues until they show up on the buyers’ home inspection report.
As a seller, you may want to consider a Ready for Purchase pre-listing inspection. A pre-listing inspection can be a great tool to help identify and correct issues that can arise in the home inspection process.
The following is a checklist of some of the major issues that a seller can address proactively in preparing their house for a residential home inspection. Remember, this is not a comprehensive list, rather a list of key concerns based on our experience as one of the largest home inspection companies in the country. Some of the items on the checklist could be do-it-yourself but seek professional help to ensure proper handling of issues.
CHECKLIST TO PREPARE FOR RESIDENTIAL HOME INSPECTION
- Clean out roof rain gutters and remove loose debris from the roof.
- Divert all water away from the house; i.e. downspouts drain swales, etc. Exterior grade should slope away from structure at a rate of 1” in 12”.
- Repair or replace broken roof tile and cracking cement caps.
- Have flat roofs properly coated with elastomeric and seal all roof protrusions such as plumbing vent pipes, skylights etc.
- Seal or repair masonry chimney caps. Installing a metal rain/ember cap is also recommended.
EXTERIOR AND ACCESS
- Clear ground away from the home’s exterior. Trim trees, roots and bushes back away from the foundation, exterior siding, roof, electrical panel and chimney. Recommended distances are 12 inches on the exterior and 3 feet in front of the electrical panel.
- Scrape loose material and repair soft wood, paint all exterior wood and properly seal the trim, windows, doors and other wall penetrations.
- Have stucco cracking repaired by a qualified stucco contractor especially around parapet walls or repair cracking/crumbling block and mortar joints.
- Seal walkways and driveways, if cracking.
- Ensure that all doors and windows are in proper operating condition. Repair or replace cracked windows.
- Make sure the garage door self-closure is operable.
- Remove unnecessary items allowing clear access to windows, walls, electrical outlets, attic accesses, water heaters, furnaces and electric panels.
ELECTRICAL AND BATTERY OPERATED
- Test all smoke detectors, replace batteries if needed. Update if over 10 years of age. Installing CO detectors is also recommended.
- Replace any burned out light bulbs.
- Make sure electric panels, exterior utility spaces, gates, garage doors etc. have locks opened or removed for access and testing.
- GFCI receptacles should be installed near all water sources. Test all present GFCI receptacles for proper operation.
HVAC AND PLUMBING
- Have the chimney, fireplace or wood stove cleaned and provide the buyer with a copy of the cleaning record.
- Clean or replace furnace filter(s). Clean dirty air returns and ducts.
- Remove paints, solvents, gas, etc. from combustion equipment such as the furnace or water heater.
- Service evaporative coolers and replace pads.
- Ensure that all plumbing fixtures (toilet, tub, shower, and sinks) are in proper operating condition. Check for and fix any leaks. Have grout or broken tile repaired and caulk seal as needed once repairs are complete.
- If the home has a jetted tub make sure the inspection access is operable and run the tub to make sure debris is removed from the lines.
- Check that bathroom, laundry and kitchen vents are properly vented and in working condition.
Don’t do quick, cheap repairs. Seek help from professional experts where necessary to avoid unnecessary concerns or questions from buyers and inspectors.
And last but not the least, prior to the actual inspection, make sure that all utilities are turned on, including water, electric & gas. Also make sure the water heater & furnace pilot lights are lit and that circuit breakers, gas and water valves are on at the main disconnects and throughout the home.
If you are looking to sell your house, and would like to schedule a pre-listing home inspection with a WIN Home Inspection expert near you, please click here. Alternatively, for more information or for help with a residential home inspection, please call (800) 309-6753 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our experts will contact you promptly.
About the Author: Rick Johnson has been a proud owner of a WIN Home Inspection franchise for over 15 years. Rick is based in Arizona, where he serves real estate agents and homebuyers and sellers with their home inspection needs in Tucson, Vail, Sahuarita, Oro Valley, Saddlebrook, and Catalina Foothills.