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8 tips for sellers before a home inspection

A home inspection is a crucial step and often a deciding factor for the majority of home buyers.

Many buyers can get caught up in the emotionality of the inspection. As a seller you want to make sure that you do everything you can to ensure it goes well!

Here are some best practices to help your inspection go smoother and get one step closer to selling your home!

Curb appeal

Yes it’s a cliche term.

The fact remains curb appeal is a major factor in a buyer’s interest in your home. As much as people say not to “judge a book by its cover” first impressions are influential.

They are a subconscious element and create either positive or negative feelings.

To ramp up your home’s curb appeal:

  • Pull out your green thumb – make your yard look manicured by mowing the grass, clipping trees and shrubs, planting a few flowers, and cutting vegetation away from the house
  • Check to make sure gates and doors work properly, and test locks and deadbolts to be sure they are functioning easily and correctly
  • Touch up paint spots if need be, remove exposed nails
  • Sweep off porches or decks, and spray off sidewalks if there is debris (don’t do this if it is winter, it might freeze and create an icy walk-way!)

The home inspector, while not the actual buyer, will also notice the condition of your home at first sight.

If it looks well kept-up and clean, this will give them a first impression that the home is well taken care of, which could benefit you on the home inspection report.

Make it easy to get everywhere

Ensuring that the home inspector can get to every area of your home is crucial to the inspection going well. 

If they cannot get to an item they need to inspect – like the electrical panel – because it is blocked by a cabinet they will mark it as “Not Inspected”.

When buyer’s don’t have an answer, they might assume the worst and ask for more concessions. The inspector might have to come back out to your property at a later date, which will draw out the process.

Leave keys and passcodes to anything that would need to be accessed, like outdoor sheds and garages. These will allow them to get into the space and inspect it, and they will make sure to close it up properly when they are done.

Other common areas to make sure are accessible:

  • Furnace
  • Water heater
  • AC unit
  • Attic access
  • Crawlspace access
  • Sinks, baths and all associated plumbing
  • Electrical panels

Tidy up like your in-laws are coming

Unless you don’t care for them. But you get our point.

Perception goes a long way.

Dust, vacuum, and put away random items. While the inspector will appreciate this because it will make their job easier, the homeowner will also appreciate that you take good care of your home. 

They will also be able to envision their things being in the space and picture it being their home, whereas a messy home only makes buyers want to leave the mess. 

Do the little things you've been putting off

This is a great opportunity to save yourself from petty items being asked for. Do a quick check to make sure that:

  • Light bulbs are all changed out
  • Smoke detectors are working 
  • All of the appliances are plugged in 
  • The inspector has access to everything, i.e. there aren’t boxes blocking the water heater, the garage door opener works, etc 
  • The filter in the HVAC has been changed recently 
  • Sinks aren’t leaking underneath 
  • All of the locks are working properly
  • No loose door handles, baseboards, etc.

Where did we put those manuals...

If you have recently had work done on your home, like getting a new roof, make sure to find the certification and leave it out. Have a warranty? Find the paperwork.

This will be helpful for the inspector to know, and will also be an incentive for the buyer, because they will know that they are getting a home that has had updates recently.

This is important to a lot of buyers because this could be one less expense to account for after they move in.

This should go without saying but...leave

Although it may seem strange to leave your home with the inspector and the buyer, it is important that you – as the seller – are not present during the buyer’s inspection.

The inspector will not feel comfortable pointing out potential defects if you are there for fear of upsetting you, and the buyer will likely not want to ask as many questions for the same reason.

Make sure to bring pets with you! This is not only a liability issue, it’s also kind to your pet. If you can’t bring pets with you, make sure to kennel them to let the inspector do their job without distraction.

Plan to stay away for at least three hours. Your agent or the home inspector will let you know when they are done.

Either Way, Being Prepared Helps

No matter if you’re following these tips to entice buyers in a buyer’s market – or just maximizing your value in a sellers market – these are just decent things to do.

There is something to be said about the pride of homeownership, and part of that is having a smooth transaction where you’re conscious of and courteous to the next owner of your home.