What to expect when you’re inspecting: advice for sellers

Last Summer, Marguerite and I made this video about the ins and outs of the home inspection process. We paid a lot of attention to the timelines and how the negotiations typically proceed.  (Buyers, if you haven’t watched the whole thing, get comfortable and maybe even take a few notes).

But what I realized today was that I haven’t talked enough about what Sellers can do to prepare their property so the home inspection goes smoothly. So, for those of you that prefer lists to lectures, here are a few items to address the day before the inspection:

1. Clear a pathway to the electrical panel. Often we find it hidden behind a picture, but sometimes it can be located in a closet behind heavy shelves or your winter coats (neither of which are safe!) Make sure the inspector can find your panel easily. Be prepared for them to remove the cover and inspect the wiring and connections.

2. Have your furnace serviced. Inspectors will take the cover off of the furnace, look at the condition of the burners, and make recommendations accordingly. If your furnace got a clean bill of health within the last 12 months, leave a copy of the invoice, and you are set!

3. Be aware that the inspector might run your dishwasher. Or your washing machine (if it’s included in the contract). If you don’t want your Tupperware or your delicates to get a hot rinse, make sure the major appliances are empty.

4. Clean up underneath the sink in the kitchen and the bathrooms. The inspector is trained to look for leaks, so just make their job easier by moving your cleaning supplies out of the way. (This is a good habit to get into anyway — kitchen sink drains tend to take a beating from the garbage can, and can come loose without you knowing!)

5. Good home inspectors will also test to see whether a window can be opened for egress in each bedroom. If all of yours are painted shut you may want to spend some time/money fixing the issue prior to the inspection. (Take a minute to clear the windows sills while you’re at it too!)

6. Make sure the attic access is clear of large obstructions. These cutouts are often located inside of closets, so the openings are already tight. If your off season clothes and luggage are stacked directly underneath the access, someone will need to move them. I would certainly prefer for that be the homeowner rather than myself or the buyer handling your personal effects.

7. Finally, clean out the garage (and the basement or crawl space). Often this is where you’ll find the water heater, furnace and electrical panel. Make it easy for them to gain access to these important systems!

Try to remember that the buyer WANTS the inspection to go smoothly. They are excited about buying your home. By taking a few minutes to prepare for the big day, you also send the important message that you care about your property and are equally committed to selling the home. Good luck!