As a seller the inspection process can sometimes be a tense experience. You have essentially agreed to allow the person purchasing your home to come in and crawl through every nook and cranny with someone who looks for defects in houses every day professionally, the outcome of which will determine if you need to spend any money on repairs or negotiate on the price or God forbid walk away from your deal. All of this is unnecessary and can be avoided when you have had a pre-listing inspection and have a high degree of confidence that you have already addressed or disclosed any defects. But I digress, this article is about things you as a seller can do prior to listing your home to make your inspection go better.
This is not an article about trying to cover things up or hide defects. It is about addressing simple issues before they become an issue on your inspection report. So without further ado, here’s the lis
1. Check all your outlets
Go around to every room in your house and visually inspect all your outlets looking for loose, broken or missing cover plates. If you see them replace them. Don’t forget to look in hidden areas like under your sink where your disposal plugs in.
Cover plates are cheap and simple to replace, but of course any time you’re around electricity, be careful. If you are nervous about it, shut the circuit down at the main panel or put together a list and have a handyman or electrician come out and address this for you.
Next go around and make sure to test all your GFCI outlets. They should be located in all the wet areas of your home including your garage and outdoors. Press the test button (Generally black) and make sure the plug shuts down. Then press the reset button (Generally red) and make sure it comes on. The easiest way to do this is with a lamp plugged into the outlet.
If you want to go the extra mile, buy a outlet tester at a home improvement or hardware store. They cost less than $10 generally and will allow you to test every outlet to make sure it is wired correctly just by plugging it in.
2. Check your light switches
Be sure every light switch in your house works. Turn them all on and off, even ones you never use. If there are bulbs burned out, replace them. If your inspector can not get a light to come on, you will likely see it on your report as a defect when it may only be a bulb.
3. Check your faucets
Turn on all the faucets in your home, including tubs and showers. Look for leaking or loose handles and address those you find. If they need it, clean the mineral deposits out of the outlet side of the faucet or shower heads. This can generally be done by unscrewing them and soaking them in a solution that dissolves the minerals. Depending on how bad they are you may want to replace them.
4. Look under your sinks
If you’re like most people you almost never look under your sinks. Well, it’s time to look and see what has been happening down there. Open the door to the cabinet and look for leaks or signs of water damage to the cabinetry. Next, stop the drain and fill the sink with water (don’t overflow the basin), then while looking under the sink, pull the plug. While it is draining watch for leaks at all the joints in your drain. Sometimes the seals can wear and let water drip out. Fix anything you find that is an issue.
5. Check your windows
Look at every window in your home. Be sure they all open and close smoothly, and that they all latch. Look at them carefully to see if all the seals are intact. Finally check the caulking around them and recaulk any that need it.
6. Check your doors
Open and close all your doors, especially closet doors. Make sure all your doors open and close and that all the handles and locks work. Look closely at your garage door, make sure it goes up and down smoothly. If it does not have an automatic opener on it, make sure it does not fall down on its own. There should always be a little resistance from the springs when pulling it down. Also check the auto reverse using the manufacturer’s recommended process. This can be found in your owner’s manual. Finally, make sure the electric sensors for the garage door opener are 6 inches or less from the ground.
7. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Test all your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries in any that need it and replace any that are broken. You should have at least one smoke detector on every level of your home as well as one in each sleeping room and one in the common area just outside of sleeping areas.
8. Change your air filters
It goes without saying that you should be changing these at least quarterly anyhow, but if you haven’t done it in a while, now would be a good time.
9. Trim your trees and shrubs
Go around the outside of your home and trim any trees back off of or away from the roof. Also trim shrubs back about a foot from the sides of the house and remove any vines which may be growing on the walls. Address any facia or trim boards that may need repair as a result.
10. Clear pathways to access systems in your home
Ensure you remove anything blocking access to a system that needs inspected. The most commonly blocked access is the main electrical panel, water heaters in the garage and boxes in front of the HVAC system in an attic.
So there you have it the top 10 list. Taking these simple steps will lead to a better inspection experience and a less cluttered report.