One of the most important steps in the home buying process is a thorough home inspection. It gives buyers peace of mind and can also be a great negotiation tool.
Getting the most out of your home inspection starts with making it as easy for the inspector as possible. This includes keeping the home clean and removing any obstacles that could get in the way of their work.
1. Don’t Forget the Roof
A good home inspector will spend time examining every part of the house that is accessible. This includes the attic, crawl space and even under decks. However, one area that many inspectors may not pay enough attention to is the roof. This is a problem because issues in this area can have devastating consequences for a buyer, especially if not addressed early.
If the roof is leaking or has missing shingles, it can be expensive to repair. In some cases, the entire roof may need to be replaced. In addition, leaks are a sign that there is water damage in other parts of the house, which can be equally costly to fix.
Other major issues that can be uncovered during a home inspection include pest infestation, electrical problems and plumbing issues. Termites and other wood-destroying insects can quickly make their way through the exterior of a home, while out-of-date wiring can be dangerous if it is not upgraded to accommodate modern appliances. Plumbing problems, on the other hand, can often go unnoticed by homeowners until they become serious issues.
In addition to addressing these potential problems, home inspectors will also look for signs of safety hazards. This is particularly important with the mechanical systems of a home. As an example, Hassard warns that some older homes still have knob-and-tube wiring, which is a dangerous system that runs copper wire through porcelain cylinders attached to wooden beams in the ceiling.
Sellers can do a few things to help a home inspector make their job easier. First of all, they should make sure that all doors are open and that there is access to any areas that require a ladder. They should also remove any obstacles that are in the way of the inspector, like locked gates and fences. Finally, sellers should be prepared to disclose any known flaws in their home. While this goes against some people’s instincts, buyers are more likely to react negatively if they are surprised by a problem that could have been easily disclosed.
2. Take Care of Your Appliances
Home inspections play an important role in today’s real estate market. They allow prospective homeowners to have a clearer understanding of the condition of a home before making a purchase, helping avoid costly surprises down the road. For sellers, they can help ensure their property is ready to be listed and provide a more accurate listing price.
A home inspection is a thorough examination of the condition of a home, from the roof to the foundation. During the inspection, the inspector will check for signs of structural damage in the attic, signs of leaks or moisture in the basement, and other problems that may require professional repair. The inspection also includes a thorough review of the electrical system to look for overloaded circuits and ground fault circuit interrupters (which prevent electrocution or fire hazards).
While it is impossible to predict every problem that could arise in a home, there are some things you can do to make the process go more smoothly. The most obvious is to empty appliances like the washing machine, dryer and dishwasher before the inspection. This allows the inspector to get a better view of these appliances and makes it easier to test them.
Another thing to do is to clean the stove and oven. While this may seem obvious, it is often overlooked by homeowners. A dirty oven or stove will give the inspector a bad impression of the kitchen and can detract from the overall value of the home.
In addition, it is a good idea to flush toilets and run all faucets before the inspection. A clean and working plumbing and electrical system can greatly increase a home’s value and saleability.
3. Clean the Gutters
Keeping gutters clean is one of the best things you can do to prepare your home for a home inspection. It not only prevents the inspector from finding debris like twigs, leaves and moss blocking your downpipes but it will also keep them in good working condition for future use. This is especially important in areas with overhanging trees, aggressive wall climbing plants or a north-facing roof that can quickly develop moss. Regular check-ups are advisable, especially in autumn when leaves fall from nearby trees and a garden hose with nozzle attachment is useful for getting into corners and tight spaces to remove debris.
Leaking gutters can stain the siding on a house and cause deterioration of shingle roofing. They can also cause water to flood into places it shouldn’t be, creating mold and mildew problems. Inspectors are concerned about these problems because they can lead to other expensive issues, like structural damage, rot or even wood destroying organism infestation.
The simplest way to get your gutters ready for a home inspection is to clear them of any blockages, which can be easily achieved using a garden hose and a brush or gutter scoop. This should be done before the inspector arrives, preferably after a rain shower, as this will help to loosen any remaining debris. You should also check for downspouts and drains to ensure they are free of clogs and allow for proper water flow.
If you want to do more, make sure that all the doors and windows are easy to open, that there is sufficient airflow around the appliances, that the garage door is operable and that the attic is clear and accessible. This will give a better impression of your home and help the inspector to find any potential issues with ease.
4. Don’t Get Too Involved
While it is recommended for homeowners to attend home inspections, the last thing you want to do during an inspector’s visit is distract him from his work by checking your email or picking paint colors. “Spending your time in the inspector’s way means you miss what he’s saying and also interrupts his workflow,” says Mease.
In fact, if you operate sinks or appliances while the inspector is testing them, it can alter the response of systems, making him think something is wrong when it’s not. This can lead to false reports and unnecessary expense.
It’s also important for buyers to know what an inspector is looking for, so they can focus on what is most important to them. For example, if you are worried about structural damage, the inspector is likely going to test for that. But, if you have young children, the inspector will be interested in whether they’re safe in the attic or basement.
Home inspectors are trained to examine homes from top to bottom and identify any problems that need to be addressed. They will usually take note of things like leaky roofs, faulty electrical wiring, dry rot and mold damage. They will also evaluate the overall condition of the home’s major features and estimate a life expectancy for items such as the roof, furnace and water heater.
However, there are some flaws that a home inspector won’t be able to catch, such as radon, asbestos and pest infestations. In these cases, the inspector may refer the buyer to a specialist for further evaluation. While there are no legal requirements for sellers to make repairs after a home inspection, lenders have minimum safety standards that a property must meet. And, a home seller that makes the necessary repairs before listing is more likely to get a higher price.
5. Don’t Forget About the Exterior
Anyone who has invested in real estate knows that a good home inspection can make or break a deal. It is important for both investors and buyers to understand what a professional inspector can find and what steps they can take to prepare their homes for inspection. This can help reduce the number of discrepancies in contracts and closing dates, making the process much easier for everyone involved.
For homeowners, the most obvious step is to clear away anything that would hinder access to the areas the inspector needs to check. This includes basements, attics, and furnace rooms. Additionally, the exterior should be free of debris, plant growth, trash cans, and stored items.
Another important step is to repair any issues the inspector will notice. Leaks and water damage are a big concern, as they can lead to structural damage and mold. It is best to get these repairs done before the inspector comes. For example, leaky faucets, water stains on ceilings, and a musty smell are all signs of issues that should be fixed.
Finally, it is a good idea to trim shrubbery around the house, especially if it is growing close to the structure. This will keep the plants from causing moisture issues, which may lead to mold. It also helps ensure that the inspector can see the entire home when checking for things like a properly working electrical system, GFCI outlets, and shingles.
In the end, preparing your home for a home inspection is the smartest move you can make. It will help ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible and eliminates any surprises for buyers down the road.