A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation.
Home sellers and their real estate professionals have an important role in preparing for a home inspection to help ensure it goes smoothly. Be honest and upfront about what you know isn’t working and how you’re getting it fixed. Do not try to conceal defects. A good inspector will recognize your attempt to conceal and point it out to the buyer.
Make sure the house is clean and all of the utilities & pilot lights are turned on.
The inspector needs to get into your basement and/or attic as well, so keep a path cleared. Check for water in the basement. Move all boxes and stored items away from the walls by at least two feet. Vacuum spider webs. Look in the attic for possible rodent droppings. Secure valuables, if any.
Make every attempt to have all areas of the property accessible so the inspector has easy access. If there is a crawl space under the house make sure the entrance is not blocked because the inspector will need to get under the house. The same goes for attic space. Many homes have an access panel in a bedroom closet. You should remove personal items that might be blocking the access panel. Don’t make a home inspector move your belongings in order to gain access.
Leave the remote controls for your garage door opener or a key if the garage is unattached to the house. Unlock the covers for your sprinkler system and electrical box. Leave a key for exterior building access. You can label these keys and leave them on a kitchen table.
Check the lightbulbs throughout the house including the crawl space, attic, basement and where the furnace and electrical panel is located. If a lightbulb is not working the inspector will need to determine if the fixture is inoperable. Save them time by making sure all the lightbulbs in the home operate.
In Bucks County, PA most properties have septic systems in the yard. If you have any documentation on the system please leave it for the inspector to review. This will help them locate the system on the property and help them determine its age.
All appliances should be kept clear. Inspectors will run the washing machine, dryer and dishwasher to determine they are in proper working order. Please have them cleared of personal items. In addition do not have anything inside the oven or on the stove top so there is no risk of setting off the smoke alarm.
Nobody expects you to shovel a tunnel around your home if snow drifts are blocking the foundation but in the winter, does provide a path around the house. In the summer, cut down dead tree branches and clear brush from the foundation. Move trash cans away from the house.
Make available to the home inspector all invoices and documents regarding remodeling projects or new items such as a roof or furnace. If you’ve upgraded the electrical from ungrounded to grounded, installed a new dishwasher or repaired a leaky faucet, find the paperwork. It will give the buyer peace of mind to know those items were reinspected.
Often the buyer will accompany the home inspector, and buyers feel uncomfortable asking questions if the owner is present. Try to schedule a time for the inspection when you can be out of the house, and take the children with you. Crate your pets if you cannot remove them from the premises.
Many inspections can take from three to five hours to complete.