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How Home Sellers Should Prepare For a Home Inspection
Getting a contract on your home can come with a range of emotions. You may give a sigh of relief that you have a buyer and are on the home stretch to closing. You may also feel a bit stressed because of the looming home inspection. Sales contracts allow a certain number of days for buyers to have a professional home inspection performed. It’s important that you understand home inspections. If defects or safety hazards are found in the home during the inspection, buyers typically ask the sellers to rectify them by repairing, replacing, or offering a monetary credit so they can take care of the issues after closing.
There are ways you can prepare for a home inspection that will put your mind at ease and help you sleep at night.
Clear Areas Where the Home Inspector Needs to Inspect
Home inspectors need easy access to the mechanicals and systems in your home. They need to check under all of the sinks. It’s best to clear out anything you store under the sinks so the home inspector can see the pipes easily. They need to check each electrical outlet and the electrical panel. Make sure there isn’t any furniture covering any outlets. If there is, just move the furniture away from the walls a couple of feet.
Make sure there isn’t anything in front of the electrical box. Be sure to clear out the room or closet where the furnace, hot water heater and any other mechanicals are. Make sure the inspector can get to all sides of the mechanicals easily. The same is true for the sump pump and water meter. Be sure the inspector also has easy access to the crawl space and attic entrance.
Have the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems Cleaned and Checked
It is recommended that homeowners get their HVAC systems cleaned and checked every year by a licensed HVAC contractor. This will extend the life of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. If you’ve had it checked in the past year, be sure to have your real estate broker let the buyer’s real estate broker know. If you haven’t had it cleaned and checked, it’s a smart idea to get it done before the home inspection.
Be sure to put a new filter in the furnace, as well. This will ensure there is maximum airflow, and it will also extend the life of the furnace so it won’t have to work so hard.
Check Your Plumbing
Before the home inspection, go around the house and turn on and off all of the faucets in your home. Make sure they aren’t leaking. Be sure hot water is coming out of the hot sides of the faucets and cold water is coming out of the cold sides.
Look at pipes under sinks for any signs of active leaking. Also, look for any water stains on pipes. This might mean there is a very slow leak. Flush all of the toilets in the home to be sure they aren’t running. Check under your hot water heater for any water marks or puddles. If you have any plumbing problems, you should have a plumber or a handyman fix the problems before the home inspection.
Check Your Light Fixtures and Electricity
Walk around the home and check all of the light fixtures and ceiling fans to make sure they work. Be sure that all light bulbs work. If you have a light that doesn’t work and there are new lightbulbs in it, it may be the switch or light fixture itself that is the problem. You can buy a receptacle tester at any hardware store to make sure that electricity is flowing to all of the outlets.
Check to make sure your ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets work, as well. Each outlet has two buttons, labeled test and reset. Press the test button and make sure you hear a snap indicating the outlet has tripped. If you have any electrical issues, you may want to have a handyman or electrician take a look before the home inspection.
Get a Home Warranty
It may be wise to get a home warranty as a seller. Typically you don’t pay for it until closing or until you use it. If your house is older and you have older mechanicals, you may benefit from the coverage. Sometimes defects and safety hazards are found in the home inspection and are covered by a home warranty.
If you have buyers asking for repairs, you may want to check with the home warranty company to see if the issues are covered. Then you will only have to pay a co-pay or small deductible to get each issue resolved.
Have Your Roof Checked
Most roofing companies offer a free roof inspection. It may be a good idea to take them up on it and have your roof looked at before the home inspection. Of course, they are trying to get your business and hope you need a new roof. If they find any loose, missing or curling shingles, it is a good idea to have repairs done. If they say your roof is at the end of its life and you need a new roof, it’s a good idea to get a second opinion.
If a second roofing company says you need a new roof, at least you’ll know the roof’s condition before the home inspection. Then you can deal with it if it comes up.
Hiring a Professional
Be sure that when making any major repairs, you use a professional, licensed contractor. Make sure to keep all receipts as the work should come with some level of warranty.
It will definitely put your mind more at ease to prepare for the home inspection in advance. There is no doubt that the home inspector will find a list of defects or safety hazards. They always do. If you prepare for the home inspection ahead of time, the list will be smaller. After the home inspection issues are resolved you are one step closer to closing.