How to Prepare Your Home for Inspections

Home InspectionsBy Jon Miller, Realtor®

Having your home prepared for home your home inspections will make the process go more smoothly and prevent some easily avoidable delays. When an inspector is unable to inspect certain items due to lack of access the inspector may need to come back for another visit, for example. Here’s a list of common items that will help you to have your home ready . . .

  • All areas of the home should be easily accessible without having to move things out of the way.
    • Check your closets for access to the roof cavity and remove items to allow access to those areas (piling things on the bed will work well)
    • Make sure that the inspector will have access to out of the way storage areas, ie. areas under stairs
    • Remove enough items from all sink cabinets to allow access
    • The inspector should have easy access to the electrical panel, all plumbing in the basement, the furnace, and water heater. You may need to pull items away from walls for access to the plumbing pipes
    • Leave keys for sheds and crawlspaces on the kitchen counter
    • Leave any garage door openers on the kitchen counter counter
  • Leave any available appliance manuals and any home repair receipts on the kitchen counter
  • Make sure that utilities are connected and operational, unless otherwise agreed
  • Keep pilot lights on, unless otherwise agreed
  • Clean the house. Though not required for inspections, this may be the second time that the buyers will see the house so you’ll want them (and the inspector) to have a great impression
  • Remove pets
  • Be prepared to be away for 2-3 hours
  • Make minor repairs that typically show up during inspections including . . .
    • Fixing sticky doors and broken window locks
    • Repairing leaks under sinks
    • Cleaning possible mold per EPA guidelines
    • Replace non-functioning lightbulbs (otherwise they won’t know if the problem is a burnt out bulb or an electrical issue)

Home inspections will typically about 45 minutes to 1 hour for a condo, 1-2 hours for an average size home, and 3+ hours for larger homes.

Here in PA, most sales contracts will require that the buyers provide a written reply to the seller within a certain timeline after going under contract. The buyer’s reply deadline is typically 10-12 days, but your contract will determine the timeline for your buyer’s reply. The buyer will have the option of accepting the property as-is, requesting repairs prior to settlement and/or money so they can do the repairs, or terminating the contract and having their deposit money returned (so we want the inspections to go as smoothly as possible).

After the initial reply deadline, most contracts will state that the buyer and seller will enter a 5 day negotiation period to come up with a resolution. If resolution isn’t reached by the end of the 5 day negotiation period, the buyers will typically have two days to decide if they would like to purchase the property as-is or terminate the contract and have their deposit money returned to them.