Thursday, February 14, 2019 / by Tim Peirce
As you prepare to sell your home, you’ll also need to prepare for a home inspection. To shorten the list of items requiring attention, there are a few simple but invaluable things you, as the seller, can do ahead of time. Today I’ll list 10 preparatory tips for different areas of the home. You can also download this handy guide here.
1. Heating and Air Conditioning. Have your heating and air conditioning serviced, and be sure to tell your HVAC technician that you are selling your home and it will be undergoing an inspection. Ask that they do a thorough inspection of the system and ductwork and provide a written statement of the completed work and that the system is operational.
2. Lighting. Be sure that all interior and exterior lights are working. Although it’s not a seller’s responsibility to replace light bulbs, if the light does not turn on during an inspection, the inspector does not replace bulbs and it is the responsibility of the seller to demonstrate that it is in fact working.
3. Dryer Vents. Remove the excess lint from your dryer vent. Although this is a maintenance item, it is still a fire hazard and something you should do annually regardless.
4. Roof. Have a roofer inspect your roof. Again, this is just a good idea anyway. Exposed nail heads may need to be sealed, vent boots could be deteriorated and need replacement. If you get a clean bill of health for your roof, have your roofer include in their statement that the roof is free of leaks.
5. Windows. Do a quick check of your windows. Do they open, close, and latch properly? Do you have any thermal seals that have broken fogging? Fogged windows are considered cosmetic, but they will still show up on the inspection report and buyers may notice them during showings and factor in the cost to replace.
6. Wood Deterioration. Walk the exterior of your home and look for any wood rot. Having a contractor can be very helpful in this process. Pay close attention to areas like exterior doors, garage door areas, fascia, etc. If there is wood rot, it will show up on your CL-100 (Termite and Wood Rot Inspection) as well as the Mechanical & Structural Inspection, and purchasers will want this repaired.
7. Stucco. If you have a stucco home, a visual inspection of the stucco is a good first step. Hairline cracks are very common, but anything larger (about ? of an inch, or if you can fit a credit card inside) are more serious and will be a required repair. An infrared/thermal inspection and/or a reputable stucco contractor’s professional opinion is needed to evaluate the condition of your stucco.
8. Staining. Did you have a leak at some point in the past, but it’s been repaired now? If so, it’s pretty common that the stain on the ceiling is still there. An inspector will have to note that there is a stain that appears to be from a leak that they cannot confirm is active or not. This creates an issue because the onus is on you as the owner to prove that there aren’t any active leaks in the house. So, paint the ceiling and get rid of that old water stain!
9. Electrical. GFCI’s that are inoperable or fail to trip is a hot item for inspections. Also, outlets that no longer have power appear on inspections regularly. Here’s a link to how to test a GFCI: https://youtu.be/Vkd43t2y2to To test for power at the outlets, simply pick up a multimeter at any hardware store and follow the instructions.
10. Maintain All Records. An inspector’s job is to highlight an area of concern. There may be nothing to be concerned about, but in the end, it is the responsibility of the seller to demonstrate to the buyer that everything is ok. Maintain good records of invoices and work orders. An organized seller that has been diligent demonstrates to the buyer that you're on top of the maintenance in your home. You’ll be better prepared for anything that comes up on the inspection.