Selling your home proved to be as complex as promised, but you’re making headway. You’ve hired an agent, created your listing, garnered some buyer interest, and even fielded a couple offers. Each day, you become a little more familiar with the expectations and complicated details of brokering a home sale, so you begin to feel like you’re in the driver seat of the whole process.
Then the rubber meets the road with your home inspection.
Though home inspection isn’t mandated in every state, it’s generally regarded as a crucial service that strengthens trust and reinforces transparency between buyer and seller. Prior to inspection, your focus as the seller rests on promoting your property’s history, architecture, fixtures, foundation, design, square footage, and energy efficiency; but until a third-party inspector verifies all those things, your claims are just that: promotion.
Most buyers and sellers understand this, and are happy to coordinate property inspections. However, if you’re selling your first home and unfamiliar with the inspection process, it can be difficult to know exactly how to prepare your residence. Even realtors can overlook certain details, which ultimately delays the inspection process because of miscommunications between the seller, buyer, and inspector.
To help ensure that your home inspection is seamless and satisfactory for all parties, we’ve created a list of tips for preparing your abode:
1. Leave the Keys
You want a home inspector who is thorough, but that’s impossible when he or she can only access select areas of your property. “Home inspection” is a bit of a misnomer since the process is an evaluation of your entire property—meaning your garage, any outbuildings, electrical boxes, circuit panels, and so on. If these areas are gated or locked and you’re not available to provide access, your home inspector could be left standing outside for minutes-on-end, trying to get a hold of you. What’s worse, your buyer may be waiting too.
Home sellers are often encouraged to not attend the inspection, so buyers feel more comfortable about asking candid questions or giving honest critique of the property. If you won’t be present, leave the keys with your realtor or the inspector.
2. Don’t Obstruct Inspection Areas
This can be tricky, especially if you’ve already begun packing certain sections of your home and staging those boxes. Anyone who’s ever lived in a home knows that a completely clutter-free space is a borderline pipe dream, but make sure to walk through priority areas to ensure that your home inspector will have unobstructed access. These areas depend on your floor plan, but could include crawl spaces, basements, air handler/furnace and water heater areas, electrical panels, and the space directly below an attic hatch.
3. Expect On-Time Arrival, Anticipate Early
Home inspections can be difficult to schedule, especially if the buyer, seller, and their respective agents want to be on site during the process. That’s a lot of busy schedules to account for—not to mention the inspector’s own itinerary. Spending the first 5-10 minutes of your inspector’s visit clearing furniture, boarding pets, or stashing kids’ toys may result in the same loss of time than a 5-10-minute discussion about your A/C’s maintenance history, but the former is much more frustrating for all parties because it’s an undue delay of the inspection process.
Best practice is to have your home ready for inspection a day out, but if you’re pressed for time, 15-30 minutes prior will suffice. The sooner you kick off the inspection, the more time you, your buyer, or their agent will have to closely examine your property and ask follow-up questions.
4. Supply All Past Maintenance Documentation
Home inspections are much smoother processes when your inspector has a well-rounded idea of your property’s renovation and maintenance history. Knowing when a certain fixture or section of a home was repaired or remodeled will help your inspector assess its long-term durability and structural integrity. If your inspector has worked with those remodelers or maintenance technicians before, he or she can make a real-time assessment of workmanship quality. Supplying project invoices and other documentation to your prospective buyers will also give them added peace of mind since they know the full history of the work you’ve commissioned for the property.
5. Pilot Lights Lit, Utilities Turned On
Some of the biggest focal points of any home inspection are key appliances like the water heater, air conditioner and furnace; but if your pilot light isn’t lit, it’s impossible for your inspector to conduct a full assessment. The same goes for all the utilities, like electricity, gas, and water. Some buyers may not ask to see every nook, cranny, and crawlspace, but every buyer will want to verify the performance of what could be their next HVAC and hot water source. If that can’t be done during the initial inspection, your buyer will likely want to reschedule to a time when it can and oh, what a waste of time this first inspection has been for all who’ve scheduled to be here. BTW who’s going to foot the bill for the inspector? It’s not the buyer’s fault you forgot to have the utilities turned on.
6. Clear Exterior Obstructions
If you recently installed a stunning set of windows, or your home sports a state-of-the-art roof from a well-known roofing company nearby and you want it to catch buyer eyes during the inspection, make sure to trim any neighboring branches, bushes, or shrubs that may block the sightlines you’re looking for.
Abrasive contact from branches and coarse foliage can cause unsightly scuffing in the short term, and even worse, structural concerns over time. For example, traditional asphalt shingle roofs are often protected by a granular coating, but those grains can be gradually rubbed away or eroded through constant contact with tree branches or exposure to extreme, inclement weather.
7. Block Out at Least 2-3 Hours for the Inspection
If you’ll be there on inspection day, make sure to choose a date that isn’t loaded with previous engagements or overdue errand runs. If you’ll be away when the inspector arrives, assume that the process will take several hours—at minimum. If you have small children or pets, plan accommodations for them. A stack of moving boxes directly beneath an attic hatch is enough of an obstacle for your inspector; much more so if it’s your pet wanting to stave off cabin fever with a game of fetch. Hard to resist, but your inspector still has a job to do.
Most home inspections may only take two hours or so, maybe less, maybe more. It just depends on the house but it’s good to plan for the additional hour to give ample time for follow-up examination or questions. Remember, the ultimate goal is a thorough assessment and report for your buyer.
It’s one thing to make the proper accommodations for your home inspector; it’s another to guarantee that your home inspector will do the same for you. If you’re buying or selling a home in Central Florida, you’ll never have to wonder about the latter with Advanced Look Property Inspections, LLC. We’ve performed thousands of pre-purchase inspections throughout the Metro Orlando, Kissimmee, and the surrounding areas* to ensure that our customers have all the information they need to make the most informed decisions possible.
Don’t leave your home investment to chance with just any local inspection service! Trust our certified, licensed, and insured professionals. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today at (407) 310-2828. It will be the Best move you’ll ever make!
*Home Inspection Areas include: Orlando, Kissimmee, Poinciana, Saint Cloud, Davenport, Clermont, Windermere, Celebration, Winter Garden, Ocoee, Apopka, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Sanford, Deltona, Deland, Winter Park, Maitland, Casselberry, Longwood, Winter Springs, Oviedo, Avalon Park, Lake Nona