What To Do Before A Home Inspection

by | Oct 11, 2021

One of the most common questions that the seller asks me is, what do I need to do to prepare for a home inspection. Generally, they are asking this as I get out of my truck and am getting ready to start the inspection. My thought is always, why didn’t you ask this a couple of days ago, because there are some things you can do to help a home inspection go smoother. I thought I would start my foray into blogs by creating a list of items you can do as a seller to make your house ready for a home inspection.

Clean Your House Before A Home Inspection

One of the biggest things you can do is to clean and straighten up the house. At over 90% of my inspections, the buyers will attend, and we will cover the inspection results. Also, if you have boxes and items all over the house, this will limit the home inspectors’ access to these areas of the house. As home inspectors, we do not move boxes or furniture to gain access. If the boxes aren’t super heavy, I generally move a box or two, but you should assume the home inspector doesn’t move items.

Turn Utilities On Before Your Home Inspection

Please make sure all the utilities are turned on. Turning the utilities on may sound like a simple thing but believe it or not, we run into this more than you would think. We can’t inspect the electrical system without electricity. The same goes for plumbing and gas furnaces.

Check Your Pilot Light Before Your Inspection

Once you make sure the utilities are on, please check the pilot light on water heaters, furnaces, and gas fireplaces. Home Inspectors do not light pilot lights. It is assumed that if the pilot light is not lit, there was a reason for turning it off, and it is unsafe for us to light it.

Clear Access To The Attic And Crawlspace

Clear the access to the attic and crawlspace. Ensure that the Home Inspector has clear access to get into the upper attic and any lower crawlspace areas. Many older homes have access openings in a closet, and the inspector needs clear access. Remove items around the access areas as needed. When you clear an area for the access, remember the Home Inspector will be using a ladder to gain access, so they need a lot of room.

Clear Access To All Utilities

Make sure the Home Inspector has clear access to the front of the furnace, water heater, and electrical panel. Yes, these areas are not accessed a lot, so people use these areas for storage. It is always a good idea to put a clean furnace filter in the furnace as well.

Leave All Keys For Your Home Inspector

Leave keys for any locked areas, such as outside sheds, garages, fence gates, electric panel cover, or crawlspace access doors. The simple rule of thumb is if you have a lock, leave a key. The home inspector can’t inspect what they can’t get access to.

Turn Off Your Alarm Before Your Home Inspection

Turn off any alarm system! Please, don’t make me explain to the police again that I am a Home Inspector, and I am really supposed to be at the house. They always look at me really funny, and it is never a fun thing.

Clear Access To The Home’s Exterior

Take a look at the home’s exterior. Make sure there is a clear path around the home. It would be best to trim back overgrown bushes and tree branches that rub on the house or roof. The general rule of thumb is vegetation should be three feet from the house. You should also take a look at your gutters. Do they need to be cleaned?

Turn On All Lights Before Your Home Inspection

Walk around your house and turn all the lights on to ensure all the light bulbs are working. When we turn a light on, and it does not work, it is assumed the fixture or switch is broken. No one wants to pay an electrician to change light bulbs.

Check Smoke Detectors Before A Home Inspection

Ensure smoke detectors and CO detectors are installed, working, and less than seven years old. The current guidelines state that smoke alarms are deployed inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations. If you don’t have smoke detectors and CO detectors, you should add them.

Empty All Appliances Before Your Home Inspection

We will be operating the dishwasher, washing machine, clothes dryer, and ovens. Please make sure these appliances are empty so the Home Inspector can operate these appliances and test for basic functionality. Again, we don’t know how you handle things at your house, so we don’t operate appliances full of dishes or clothing. You might be using that appliance as storage space. I opened a dishwasher once, and the homeowner was using their dishwasher to store old newspapers.

Leave Any Receipts From Repair Services

If you have had any receipts from repairs or service contracts, please leave a copy of this out for the Home Inspector. I promise Bent Nail will not take your paperwork, but we will take a picture of it so we can add it to our report for the new buyer information. These documents help show both the inspector and buyer that you are attentive to home maintenance and care about the condition of your home.

Remove Pets From Home Before Your Inspection

While I love dogs and have two of my own, please consider removing any pets from the home during the inspection. If you can’t do that, please leave me a big note that you have a pet present on your door. If I don’t know you have a pet in your house, I could open the door and let your pet out without knowing. That is the last thing I want to happen!

Plan To Be Away From Your Home During Your Home Inspection

Be ready at the scheduled time and plan to be out of the home for three to four hours minimum. Most of the time, the buyers and the agent will attend at least the last part of the Home Inspection. We will walk around and talk about the findings. It is always very awkward for the Home Inspector and the buyers when the seller of the home is present.

Consider A Pre-Listing Home Inspection

Consider having a pre-listing inspection. If you have further concerns about the condition of the home and the significant systems, consider having a pre-listing inspection done. The inspector can point out any repair concerns, providing you with the opportunity to repair items in advance and further prepare your home for a buyer’s inspection.

Bent Nail Home Inspections provides Residential Home Inspection services for buyers and sellers in East Tennessee. In addition to Residential Home Inspections, Bent Nail provides Pre-Drywall Inspections, Commercial Real Estate Inspections, and 11 Month Builder Warranty Inspections. Bent Nail also provides additional testing services such as Radon Testing, Air Quality Testing, Well Water Testing, Mold Testing, and Sewer Scope Inspections. Bent Nail’s inspection team is both InterNACHI, Certified Professional Inspector certified, and a member of ASHI. With Bent Nail Home Inspection’s partnership with Star Pest Control, Bent Nail is your one-stop provider of complete home inspection services.

For more information, visit https://bentnailtn.com/ or call (865) 748-9414.