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How to Prepare Your Home for an Inspection

Home Inspectors get called out under a number of different circumstances. The most common, of course, is when Buyers are in escrow on a home and want to gather as much information as possible before proceeding. Other situations include when a Seller wants to make the information available before listing their home, when an owner or investor wants to get a punch list of items to repair before renting a property, and sometimes a conscientious homeowner just wants a second set of eyes on their home.

Regardless of the situation, if your home is going to be inspected, there are some easy steps that you can take to ensure that the inspection goes smoothly and quickly, and to keep some common items off of the Inspection Report, making your home look better at the same time.

Replace all burnt-out light bulbs.

When an Inspector finds a burnt-out bulb, it will be noted in the report. While most are an easy fix, an Inspector cannot know whether the bulb is old, or if the fixture is defective. It will be noted at Marginal or Defective and the items can add up quickly, putting your home in a bad light.

Replace your HVAC filters.

An Inspector won’t know if you replaced the HVAC filter 5 minutes before he walked in the door. But he will know if you have never changed your HVAC filter (or if it has been a while). It’s simple and inexpensive to change. And no one liked to see a filthy, clogged filter on a Home Inspection Report.

Very dirty HVAC filter

Add covers to outlets and switches.

Another cheap and easy fix. Whether it is in the Living Room, the Garage or Outdoors, cover your electrical outlets and switches. Inspectors often note missing covers as safety hazards because of the live electrical wires that can be exposed. Some situations, especially outdoors, can be tricky, and attention should be paid to waterproofing, so if needed, have an electrician or handyman handle it.

Clear access to crawl spaces and attics.

Inspectors want to go over, under and around every inch of a home. That includes any crawlspaces and attics. But Inspectors are not required to move any belongings to do the inspection (if they were, just imagine the time they’d have to spend in most garages). Personally, I don’t mind moving a few boxes, but often an attic access is in a closet and blocked by racks of clothing.

Couldn't squeeze past the clothes & boxes into the attic

Clear out under sinks.

Inspectors want to know if the plumbing under sinks is in good working order. That means looking and touching, which is hard to do if there are towels, shampoo, and snorkels (seriously) in the way. Pro Tip: If you have a plastic container under the sink that was there to catch leaking water, but the leak has been fixed--remove the container. If the leak hasn’t been fixed, please leave it for the Inspector!

Hmm... can't see much.

Pull your car out of the garage.

Inspectors want to see the floor of the garage. And also the driveway, so parking on the street would be best. They also don’t want to put any scratches on your car wall moving around the garage. It’s not a big deal, but these are the little things that Inspectors enjoy, and help the potential Buyers feel that much better, because there are fewer items marked Not Inspected on the report.

Hard enough to inspect without this guy's Audi in the way.

Make sure the electrical panel, gas and water meters are accessible.

Inspectors need to open and inspect the electrical panel, as well as the gas and water meters. But sometimes they are hidden behind plants, stacks of boxes, or paintings. Seriously. Take the painting down before the inspector arrives. Even if I find the electrical panel behind it, do you really want me taking down your large, probably expensive painting with my grimy Inspector hands?

Bonus Tip: Clean the Jacuzzi tub, including pump and jets.

Every jacuzzi tub manufacturer has their own recommendations for how and when to clean the apparatus, most include running the jets with some sort of cleaning solution in the tub for 20-30 minutes every month or two. If you don't, the pipes may have "gunk" build up, which will fill the tub will little black flecks when the Inspector tests the jets.

Yuck. That's all.

These simple suggestions will help your inspection go smoothly and keep some items from needlessly being on the Report. If you have questions about any of these ideas, or other suggestions for preparing for a Home Inspection, leave them in the comments below.

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