How can I make sure my house doesn't fail the home inspection?

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Home inspectors don’t make a home fail the inspection, but a homebuyer struggling through a long list of defects in the inspection report will do it. Although no home is perfect with zero issues to write up, the fewer things your inspector lists on the report the better. So we recommend preparing for the inspection by taking a few hours to find and take care of all the easy-to-fix minor problems.

   You can also speed up the inspection by making sure everything is accessible for the inspector. The strategy is to shorten both the report and the inspector’s time at the house, which will make everybody happier. Here’s our “Top 10” list of suggestions:

1) Make sure the electric, water, and gas are turned on if the house is not occupied. Scheduling the local utility to turn them on at the day of the inspection is asking for trouble. Do it before.

2) Unlock any locked areas that the inspector needs to get into, and the space under the attic access hatch or ladder should be clear.

3) Clear the area in front of the electric panel, water heater, and HVAC system. The inspector will need to remove the covers of the electric panel and  furnace/air handler, so provide sufficient space. 

4) Take your pets out of the home during the inspection, or secure them out of the way. They will be a distraction under foot for the buyer and home inspector.

5) Replace any burned-out light bulbs and make sure that hand-held remotes for ceiling fans or wall air conditioners are easy to find. Inspectors don’t do trouble shooting on fixtures that don’t work. They just write them up and move on.

6) Test the smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors, and replace any dead batteries or non-functional units.

7) Check the air filters on your HVAC system, and replace or clean them if necessary. When there are air filters are at multiple return air registers, be sure to locate all of them. 

8) Trim tree branches and bushes away from the walls and roof of the house.

9) Remove any stored items, and especially wood, from around the base of the home. These items can act as a “termite highway” to aid and conceal running their mud tubes into the home.

10) Repair or replace any broken or damaged minor components in the home, like doorknobs, latches, window panes, screens, gutters and downspouts, switch and receptacle cover plates.

    Homebuyers can be fickle and sometimes cancel their sales contract for reasons that are beyond your control. But each item you fix is one less on the inspection summary, and one less reason for them to be anxious about their purchase. Just don’t worry about dust or whether the beds are made. Inspectors do not evaluate housekeeping.

    Also, see our blog post How can a house be inspected by two different home inspectors that come up with different things to be fixed?

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  To learn more strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

How can I make sure I don't get screwed on my home inspection? 

How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?

 Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?

Can I do my own home inspection?

How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a house over a sinkhole? 

The seller gave me a report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector? 

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1940s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s house?

• What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property? 

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been moved?

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

What do I need to know about a condo inspection?

What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

   Visit our HOME INSPECTION page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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