26 Things Sellers Must Do Before the Home Inspector Arrives
ATTN Sellers!! The Home Inspector for your buyer is coming to inspect your house...
Q: What is the absolute WORST thing that could happen during the inspection (other than finding a serious issue of course)?
A: An "INCOMPLETE REPORT" due to the house not being ready for the home inspector!
As hard as it may be to believe, this situation does happen more often than it should! Things like:
Blocked Crawl Spaces
No Keys Available for a Locked Interior Door
Gas Has Been Shut Off
Water Heaters That Cannot Be Tested Due to Being Blocked in the Garage
And the List Goes On...
A report like this would not be acceptable to the buyer! Plus, if the home inspector has to return to perform a second inspection, there will be an additional charge, and lost time for all involved. In many cases the seller is asked to pay the additional fee. The buyer could choose to use the incomplete inspection report to back out of the deal. Either way, it's not an ideal situation for anyone involved. These are all reasons why the following checklist is so important for all sellers.
SELLER CHECKLIST - PRIOR TO THE HOME INSPECTION
Turn on ALL UTILITIES, including water, gas, and electric.
ALL PILOT LIGHTS should be lit and burning. This includes the water heater, the stove, the fireplace, and any other pilot lights.
If your appliances burn propane or fuel oil from a tank, make sure that there is sufficient fuel in those tanks.
Turn ACTIVE ALARM SYSTEMS off, unless the inspector instructs you otherwise.
COMPUTERS! The inspector may be turning the electric power to your house on and off. Back up your computer data, then turn the computer off and leave it turned off to prevent any data loss.
RADIATORS OR HEATING ELEMENTS - be prepared for the inspector to turn these on, especially if you have baseboard heating elements. They need to be accessible.
FIREPLACES - make sure that they are NOT obstructed. Vacuum or clean out any ashes.
AIR CONDITIONING VENTS on the floors and/or walls - ensure that none of the vents are blocked or obstructed in any way.
ELECTICAL PANELS/BREAKER BOXES - make sure that nothing is blocking the breaker panel.
WATER HEATERS - the area around the water heater must be completely clear, to allow easy access for the Home Inspector.
PETS - get your pets out of the house if possible. Cats and dogs should be caged, restrained, or removed from the premises.
ATTICS - the attic door must be accessible, especially if it is inside a closet. Ensure that the entrance is not blocked with clutter and that when inside the attic, the home inspector has room to freely move around.
CRAWL SPACES AND BASEMENTS - just like the attic, the home inspector must be able to enter and freely move around in the crawl space that is under your house. Ensure it is not blocked by clutter or debris.
SELLERS PHONE NUMBER - if the seller or listing agent will not be present during the inspection, give the seller's cell phone number to the home inspector, in case the home inspector has any questions.
KEYS AND CODES - provide keys to all doors, keys to all gates, and garage door openers. Provide the keypad codes for any electronic locks or gates.
GARAGE - move your cars our of the garage. Park them on the street, or at a neighbor's house.
EXTERIOR OF THE HOUSE - Trim bushes and plants away from the water faucets and exterior dryer vents. Make everything easily accessible to the inspector.
FILTERS - clean or replace furnace / HVAC filter.
BATHROOMS - remove everything from the tub or shower. Remove items that may be on top of the toilet tank lid. Remove items from the vanity cabinet under the sink, so that the inspector can check the water cut-off valves.
KITCHEN SINK - remove all dishes from the sink. Remove items from the cabinet under the sink, so that the inspector can access the water shut-off valves.
KITCHEN APPLIANCES - remove dishes from the dishwasher, remove all pots and pans from the stove and the oven (if those appliances are included in the sale).
LIGHT BULBS - replace any burned-out light bulbs in ceiling fixtures, vanity lights, and other built-in lighting fixtures.
SMOKE DETECTORS AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS - install new batteries if necessary.
DOCUMENTS AND PERMITS - for work done on the house during the time of your ownership - have the paperwork and receipts for all repairs of upgrades to the house, such as the new roof, new windows, an addition, or an enclosed porch or garage. Have copies of any building permits that were required for work done on the house. Keep these on the kitchen counter or kitchen table, in plain sight.
SELLER'S DISCLOSURE - (the form that your listing agent asked you to complete when you put the house up for sale) have copies of that form available for the home inspector to review.
LET THE INSPECTOR WORK! Give them plenty of room. Don't distract the home inspector with needless small talk. If you have any questions for the inspector, direct them to your listing agent.