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How To Prepare For a Home Inspection

March 17th, 2009

When you are in the inspection process of your home buying transaction, there are several items that need to be done before the inspection.  In this article I am going to list and explain these items for a seller, buyer, and real estate agent.  With this information you will be more prepared for your home inspection, thereby helping the inspector perform a more thorough and complete home inspection.

Home Sellers

Let’s start off with the sellers’ inspection.  Many homeowners today are having their homes inspected before they are put on the market.  This is a very savvy marketing tool to help your home sell quicker and more profitably.  For your home inspector to do the best job possible, he or she will need several things to be done before they arrive to check the house over.

  • If it happens to be winter, please make sure the driveway is clear of ice and snow.  An inspector cannot see through this stuff, thereby limiting the inspection.
  • Please make sure that all utilities to the home are in operation mode.  Inspectors do not light pilot lights, turn on water mains, or main panel breakers. If these are not in regular operating mode, the inspection will be limited and less beneficial to you.
  • Make sure attic access is not obstructed in any way.  You inspector will need to get in here to check insulation, roof sheathing, trusses, etc.
  • I realize that if you are selling, you will be packing.  However, please do not have every packed box crammed into a corner in the basement, or else your inspector will not be able to see the walls and foundation.
  • If permits are needed in your area for remodeling have copies of these ready.  In some areas an inspector will need these.

Home Buyers

Now, if you are a buyer, your list will be a little shorter.  But, it is still just as important to do your homework.  You are paying for the inspection, so stay on top of everything.

  • Once you call the inspector and set a date and time, call your real estate agent and verify this time. Some inspectors do this for you and some don’t (I call the agent myself, and they relay to the seller when we will be there).
  • If this is a vacant foreclosure or bank owned property, find out who you need to contact in order to get ALL utilities turned on and into normal operation mode.  Again, inspectors will not turn these items on for you at the time of the inspection.  If they are not on, they will be disclaimed as not inspected.
  • If you are having any specialty testing like lead, mold, water, septic done, try to do these on the same day if the house is occupied.  Sellers will thank you for not making too many trips and inconveniencing them.

Real Estate Agents

Now let’s focus on what the real estate agent needs to do before each home inspection.  Some buyers may not realize what these people do for you.

  • If the inspector has not verified the appointment before 3:00 the day before the inspection, call to verify.
  • Help the buyer with getting utilities and the like into normal operating mode.  This will allow a more thorough inspection and speed up the sale.  It will work out better for you.
  • If you will not be attending the inspection, please let the inspector know how to gain access.
  • If there are going to be items not operating please call the client and explain this to them, so they may decide whether or not to reschedule the inspection.  Most inspectors do not come back a second time for zero fee.  Your buyer will be liable for this return fee, and probably upset about it.

I hope everyone can take something from this list and use it.  I really do feel bad sometimes when the inspection is limited due to a lack of communication between all parties involved.  If any of you have items that you feel should be on this list, please feel free to let me know.  I am always willing to listen and learn how others operate.

Ian A Niquette
WI Home Inspector

This blog entry was posted by Ian Niquette.

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