A home inspection is an important part of the home buying process. It gives buyers the opportunity to evaluate the condition of the home and uncover any potential problems or needed repairs. Proper preparation by both the buyer and seller can help ensure the inspection goes smoothly. This article provides tips on how to get your home ready for the inspection from the seller’s perspective.
Schedule the Inspection
Once you have accepted an offer on your home, contact the buyer’s real estate agent to coordinate a date and time for the inspection that works for all parties. Inspections are generally scheduled shortly after the purchase agreement is signed. Allow adequate time to prepare the home – at least 5-7 days is recommended. Weekday inspections are best as you can take care of last-minute preparations. Avoid scheduling on weekends or holidays.
Make the Home Accessible
On the day of the inspection, all areas of the home must be made accessible to the inspector. Make sure locked rooms are opened, including garages, attics, basements, shed, gates, and any rooms with stored items. Clear away clutter and furniture so the inspector can access electrical outlets, windows, wall surfaces, etc. If there are any areas you do not want accessed, inform the inspector ahead of time.
Clean the Home Thoroughly
A clean house allows the inspector to easily examine all areas. Sellers should do a deep clean before the inspection, including:
- Vacuum and mop all floors
- Wipe down countertops, cabinets, and walls
- Clean bathroom and kitchen surfaces
- Remove cobwebs and dust surfaces
- Clean debris from vents and fans
- Remove clutter from rooms
- Cut overgrown vegetation outside
Make sure the home is free of odors from pets, food, etc. A fresh coat of paint can also help give a positive impression.
Make Necessary Repairs
Address any urgent or obvious repairs needed around the home before the inspection. This shows buyers you are committed to maintaining the home. Typical repairs may include:
- Fixing leaky faucets and showerheads
- Patching holes in flooring or walls
- Fixing sticky doors, cabinets or windows
- Replacing cracked tiles or grout
- Fixing loose railings, gutters or shingles
- Repairing appliances or fixtures
Focus on safety hazards and problems that may raise red flags with the inspector. Leave cosmetic fixes for the buyers to handle later.
Gather Information for the Inspector
Having useful information ready for the inspector can help the inspection process go more smoothly. Compile the following and leave them readily accessible:
- Instruction booklets for appliances, HVAC system, water heater, fireplace, sprinklers, etc.
- Warranties and manuals for any home systems
- Receipts from recent repairs or replacements
- Permits for renovations or additions
Also provide keys needed to access any locked areas. Make a list of recent upgrades, repairs, or known defects to give the inspector context.
Be There During the Inspection
It is recommended sellers be present for the inspection, along with the selling agent. This way you can answer any questions the inspector has about the home’s history and features. If any small repairs need addressed, you can handle them immediately. Listen closely to the findings to better understand the home’s condition from a buyer’s perspective.
Act Quickly After the Inspection
Once the inspection report is received, review it carefully. Make repairs for any legitimate health or safety issues raised, such as mold or termites. For less critical maintenance items, consider offering a credit to the buyer at closing to have repairs done themselves. Acting promptly shows buyers you are accountable and willing to compromise.
Ask Your Agent for Guidance
Real estate agents are experts at prepping homes for inspection and responding after. Seek your agent’s advice for handling any concerns raised and negotiating inspection demands. Agents can assist with scheduling contractors for last minute repairs. Lean on their experience to get your home inspection ready!
Maintain the Home After Inspection
The home inspection provides a snapshot of the home’s condition at one point in time. However, closing often takes place weeks or months after the inspection. It is important for sellers to maintain the home during this period. Continue repairs and general maintenance to prevent new issues from popping up.
Here are some tips for preserving the home after inspection:
- Monitor appliances and fixtures to ensure proper functioning. Replace any burnt out light bulbs.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to keep them operational.
- Water plants and trees regularly to maintain indoor and outdoor vegetation.
- Remove accumulating clutter and keep surfaces clean.
- Watch for new cracks or leaks and seal as needed. Check roofs, windows and exterior after heavy rain.
- Fix any new mechanical problems with appliances, garage doors, sprinklers immediately.
- Schedule annual maintenance for HVAC, chimney, septic tank, generator.
- Renew any inspections or services that may expire before closing, like termite or fire inspections.
- Inform buyers of any new system repairs or replacements done. Disclose new defects that arise after the inspection.
Maintaining the home until closing shows buyers you stand behind the condition at the time of inspection. It also prevents new repair requests from popping up.
Prepare for Follow Up Inspections
Depending on the initial findings, buyers may request a follow up inspection to check on specific issues or to confirm repairs were done properly. Common follow up inspections include:
- Mold, radon or lead paint tests
- Termite or pest inspections
- Chimney or fireplace inspections
- Septic tank or well water tests
- Roofing or structural inspections
Work with your agent to determine which follow up inspections may be needed and schedule them in a timely manner. Thoroughly address any areas that will be re-inspected and maintain clear communication with the buyer throughout the process.
Follow up inspections from Home Inspection Maryland provide an additional chance to demonstrate your commitment to the home. Take advantage by being proactive, responsive and transparent.
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Right before closing, buyers will often do one final walkthrough inspection of the home. They want to ensure no new damage has occurred and all fixtures are in working order after taking possession. Sellers should do their own pre-settlement inspection first to catch any issues.
To prepare for the final inspection:
- Test all appliances, plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems. Address any malfunctions.
- Do a deep clean of the entire home, including carpets and windows.
- Make sure all agreed upon repairs from the first inspection have been completed.
- Check for damage to walls, floors, landscaping since first inspection. Make repairs.
- Confirm all home disclosures made to buyer remain accurate. Update if needed.
- Remove all personal belongings and furniture unless otherwise negotiated.
With a successful pre-settlement inspection, you can feel assured handing over the keys at closing!
Preparing thoroughly for the home inspection takes work, but pays dividends by removing obstacles for buyers. Addressing problems preemptively and maintaining transparency can keep the deal on track to close. Keep the lines of communication open as you work through the inspection process. With proper planning and responsiveness, you can make the inspection a useful exercise for all parties.