Research shows that home inspections save buyers an average of $14,000. That’s because inspections sometimes reveal major issues with the home that the seller hasn’t disclosed or didn’t know about. This may allow a buyer to lower their offer, force the seller to make repairs, or completely back out of the sale.
That’s why it’s important that sellers prepare thoroughly before an inspection. To help you out, we made a home inspection checklist for sellers that outlines how to best prepare for a home inspection and common pitfalls to avoid in the process.
Download the checklist here or by clicking the checklist above.
Follow each step on the checklist above to ensure you’ve properly prepared for inspection. As a buyer, use it to better understand the results of your inspection report.
While you don’t exactly “pass” or “fail” a home inspection, it can feel like failing if an inspector recommends you make repairs worth thousands of dollars. Follow the tips below to help smooth the process and to diagnose and fix problems before they interfere with your sale.
Issues with the home’s exterior are easy to miss. Problems like clogged gutters and damaged roof shingles aren’t easily visible, which is why it’s important to check on them before an inspection.
Here’s a list of things outside your home you should check beforehand:
The inspector will look at the siding, trims, caulking around windows and doors, and more. Clear the area around your home of plant growth, trash cans, and anything else that might impede access.
While not necessary, it’s also good to paint the exterior of your home to help create a good first impression on your inspector.
Electrical issues can be a dealbreaker for homebuyers since faulty wiring can cost a lot to fix and can become hazardous if left untreated. In fact, almost 50,000 fires were caused by electrical malfunctions annually from 2015 to 2019.1
Some warning signs that could indicate larger wiring problems include:
Once you deal with any of the above problems, there’s a few more things you can do to make your inspection go smoothly:
While it can be time consuming to check for wiring issues, it can save you from headaches and potentially lost sales if you catch problems early on.
You should check the following parts of your bathroom before your home inspector does:
It’s also good to clean any noticeable stains from your sinks, walls, and floors to create a better impression on your inspector.
A home inspector will test all of the appliances in your kitchen to make sure they are in good working order. To avoid problems, you should check:
If any of your appliances are not functioning properly, consider having them repaired or replaced before the inspection.
Test anything that you open and close. Make sure knobs are securely in place and that locks function properly.
Other things you should look for:
To go the extra mile, consider lubricating doors and windows to make them easy to open come time for inspection.
An inspector will look for signs of leaks or water damage everywhere. Check under sinks, around faucets, around the base of toilets and tubs, and under any appliances that use water, like dishwashers or refrigerators. Examine your walls, ceilings, and floors and look for signs of warping, sagging, or buckling. Don’t forget to do the same outside.
An old or non-functioning HVAC system will seriously hurt your home inspection. Here’s what you should check for:
If your HVAC needs replacing, it could cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. That said, it’s better to replace it earlier rather than have a home inspector flag it, causing a buyer to bring down their offer.
If inspectors can’t get to an area, they can’t inspect it, resulting in a blank field on their report and a potential red flag to buyers. To avoid this, make sure the following areas are accessible:
As a bonus, decluttering your home helps put your inspector in a good mood since it makes it easy for them to move around and do their job.
On the inspection day, try to make everything as easy as possible for your inspector. Best practices to follow:
Now all you need to do is wait to see the results of your home inspection.
Just as there are good things to do to have a smoother home inspection, there are myriad ways to “fail” an inspection. It’s as important to note the most common home inspection missteps as it is the best practices.
A good lawn should have at least a 3% slope away from the home, draining water to avoid damage. If you’re concerned, it’s a good idea to hire a landscaper to investigate the natural drainage.
A cracked foundation may lead to roofing issues, doors and windows shifting, leaks, and worse. Foundations often crack due to:
It’s best to address small foundation problems before a home inspector arrives.
Leaks and plumbing issues can be a killer on home inspections because they lead to other big problems like mold, rot, and could even invite a wood destroying organism (WDO) infestation.
If there are any obvious issues with your home, such as a leaky roof or broken windows, be sure to fix them before the inspection.
You want to avoid any fraying insulation, DIY wiring, or mismatched wires. If you have concerns, hire an electrician to audit and fix your home’s wiring.
A home must have basic security like working locks on windows and doors, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. Try to ensure that locks — especially ones leading to outside — and detectors work correctly.
A leaky roof is a big problem for a home inspector. If the roof leaks, the home is vulnerable to several problems. Many buyers will walk away from a home with roof issues because they’re so costly to repair.
Home inspectors will look for asbestos, radon, lead paint, and other hazardous materials that are common in older homes. If an inspector has concerns, they may order a special radon inspection or lead paint inspection, both of which will require additional costs.
The home inspection is the last hurdle you have to overcome before you officially sell your home. Diagnosing and solving issues beforehand can help you save money and quicken the home selling process.
If you’re still waiting on a prospective buyer, list with Orchard to sell your home quickly for top dollar.
When you list with Orchard, we’ll get your home show-ready and make repairs to increase your home’s value at no upfront cost.
Orchard guarantees your home will sell, so you can buy your next one worry-free.
We provide peace of mind that your home will sell, plus list your home on the market to maximize your earnings.
Use our home sale calculator to estimate your net proceeds.
Our Home Advisors are experienced local agents who know how to sell for top dollar and help win your dream home.
All Orchard Home Advisors are experienced agents who know your local market inside and out. Request a consult today.
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