Between the listing and the closing date, an estimated 41% of home sellers had an offer fall through on their house.
While some buyers change their minds or can’t get financing, some back out of the sale because of the home inspection report. Structural problems and expensive repairs can send potential buyers running or make them lower their offer.
The good news is, you can make the inspection process go smoothly. With a little maintenance and preparation, you can prevent the number of problems the inspector finds.
Read on to learn how to prepare for a home inspection.
How to Prepare for a Home Inspection as a Seller vs. Buyer
As a buyer, there’s nothing to do to prepare for an inspection. All you have to do is show up on time to meet the inspector at your prospective new home. It’s important to attend the inspection because you’ll get a better understanding of the home’s condition than you’d get from reading the report.
When it comes to preparing for home inspections, the seller is the one with work to do. The key is to make sure your home is in the best shape possible before the inspection.
If you don’t prepare for an inspection, the buyer can use the issues in the inspection report to negotiate a lower price. Below are some steps you can take to get the best possible results for your home inspection.
1. Clean and Tidy Up Your House
Before your home inspection, consider doing a deep clean of your home. The inspector (and sometimes the buyers) will look in every closet and under every sink, which is why it should look as clean as possible.
You should also tidy up your home as if you were having an open house. This makes your home look well-maintained and inviting.
Also make sure to empty the dishwasher and remove clothes from the washer and dryer since the inspector will check these appliances during the inspection.
2. Keep Your Utilities Connected
If you’ve already moved out of the house you’re trying to sell, make sure all the utilities are turned back on. If the utilities aren’t on, the inspector won’t be able to do the inspection.
That means the inspector will have to come back at a later date. This could frustrate your potential buyers and make them back out of the sale.
3. Provide Easy Access to the Attic
An experienced building inspector will know how to climb into tricky attics. But, you should make it as easy as possible for the sake of your inspector’s safety and your report.
Move any boxes or furniture near the attic entrance and inside the attic. If your inspector can’t check out the attic (or any other part of the house), buyers might think you’re trying to hide something.
4. Replace the Filter in Your HVAC System
It’s also a good idea to replace the return filter for your furnace or AC unit. It keeps your system running efficiently and keeps the air clean.
Replacing the filter shows the inspector that you keep up with regular maintenance.
5. Check Your Major Appliances
Before the inspection, make sure your appliances work and don’t have any visible defects or problems. If your washer and dryer aren’t working, buyers might ask you to replace them before they buy the house.
If you have gas-powered appliances, make sure the pilot lights are on. That might include your water heater, gas stove, or furnace. If a pilot light isn’t working, the inspector will note that in the report.
6. Replace Dead Batteries and Light Bulbs
Check your house for any burned out lightbulbs, inside and out. Make sure every bulb from the porch light to the oven light works. If anything is out, the inspector will make note of it.
Also, make sure to check smoke detectors and anything else that’s battery operated. That includes remotes for fans and air conditioning units.
7. Handle Minor Repairs
If you have a dripping faucet, a running toilet, or a hole in the wall that needs patching, handle those repairs before the inspection. You can also check doors and windows to make sure they’re in working order.
They’re simple problems to fix, but if too many small issues show up in the report, it could scare off the buyers.
8. Take Care of Pest Issues
If you’ve noticed ants in your kitchen or wasps in your attic, it’s best to handle these issues before they show up on a home inspection report.
Buyers might not want to move into a house if they learn about a possible infestation. It’s best to take care of it before the inspection.
Call an exterminator to check your home for pests. They can deal with your current problem and spot any risk factors they see for future problems.
9. Provide Keys to Any Locked Areas of Your Home
Whether you have a locked garden shed, a secondary garage, or a pool house, your inspector needs to check out every part of the house.
To make it easier on the inspector, you can open those locks or doors before they arrive. You can also provide keys, as long as you mark them clearly.
10. Leave During the Inspection
Since the prospective buyers will most likely attend the inspection, it’s best to leave the house. That way they can check out the entire house and you won’t feel offended by any questions they ask.
If you have pets, take them with you. If that’s not possible, secure them in a crate or a carrier. The inspector and the buyers will feel more comfortable and you won’t have to worry about your pets getting out.
Get Your Home Ready for an Inspection Today
Selling a house comes with a lot of stressors, from keeping your house show ready to worrying about the listing price. Once you know how to prepare for a home inspection, you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
To find more information for new home buyers, check out our articles on finance or home and garden.