This page will inform
home buyers, home sellers, and Real Estate Professionals on how to prepare
for a home inspection. These tips will help the home inspection process go
as smoothly as possible for all the parties involved in the transaction.
Be sure to include an inspection contingency clause when you enter
negotiations with the seller and before you sign a purchase and sale
agreement. If you are working with a real estate agent or an attorney,
they will be able to help you with such a clause. This allows you to
negotiate for repairs to be made by the seller or even to void the sale if
the inspector finds significant problems that the seller is unwilling to
correct. It is a good way to protect yourself from ending up with a home
that requires repairs that you are unable or unwilling to pay for.
Once your inspector has arrived, it is highly recommended that you
accompany him for the entire inspection of the property. This is so you
can become familiar with the home and its systems, be educated on
important maintenance issues, as well as understand exactly what repairs
the inspector recommends and why. You might also want to prepare a list of
items and/or sketches of the house that will remind you about any cosmetic
or remodeling improvements that you may want to make, furniture and layout
possibilities, room sizes, etc., and this is a great opportunity to ask
the inspector any questions that you may have. The inspection is also a
great time to find out where the home’s water and gas shutoffs are, where
the electrical panel is, where the attic and crawlspace accesses are, etc.
Here are some other recommendations and advice for buyers:
- Please make sure
you have permission from the owner/agent to perform the inspection.
- Make sure that all
the utilities (electricity, water, and gas) will still be on at the time
of the inspection. Not having some of these utilities on will limit the
scope of the inspection.
- Make sure that you
attend the inspection and pay close attention to the inspector, as the
educational value alone is worth the price of the inspection. Please
don’t make the inspector have to continuously find you, to be able to
show you things that are important.
- Consider bringing
a snack/lunch and drink, as some inspections can be lengthy.
- Wear comfortable
clothes and shoes that could get dirty. Also, bring an umbrella and/or
raincoat if the weather requires them.
- Remember your
- Bring a notepad
and pen, and be ready to take some notes to help you remember things
that the inspector tells you.
- You may want to
bring your camera along and take some pictures, especially if it is a
digital camera – this also helps you remember things about the house in
general and the inspection. If you don’t have a camera, ask the
inspector if he can do that for you.
- Please remember
- Do not bring
children under ten years old, if at all possible. They will distract you
from your needed attention on the inspector. Similarly, this is not the
time to have friends or relatives over to see the house, to have
contractors or remodelers there for estimates, etc. Please arrange to do
these things after the inspection is over, or on another day.
- Please turn your
cell phone off or leave it at home, unless it is absolutely necessary to
- Obtain and bring
along a copy of the sellers’ disclosure statement, and any previous
inspections, pest reports, repair invoices, etc. that you are privy to.
- Prepare a list of
questions ahead of time to help the inspector understand your concerns,
remodeling and improvement desires, etc.
- It is important to
the inspector that you understand the issues with the house, so feel
free to ask as many questions as you wish.
- Please call your
inspector after the inspection if you need clarifications, if you do not
understand something, or if you have any further questions at all.
For homeowners, it’s important to be aware of any issues your home
may have prior to putting it on the market. Getting a pre-listing home
inspection will ensure that you’re aware of any problems so you can take
care of them on your terms - or you can disclose them and adjust your
selling price accordingly. The alternative leaves you open to costly
surprises and delays, and even potential deal-breakers once you’ve entered
negotiations with a buyer.
Other general suggestions for homeowners
would include accessibility, maintenance, and repairs. Make sure that all
areas of the home are accessible, especially to the attic and the
crawlspace. It’s also a good idea to trim any trees and shrubs that may
make an inspection of the exterior of the property difficult. You may also
want to do some minor maintenance and repair
things like leaky faucets, missing door handles and trim, etc.
Here are some other
recommendations and advice for sellers:
- Please be sure to
provide easy access to the following:
All electrical panels. This
is oftentimes a problem especially when the panel is located in the
All plumbing fixtures, main
water shutoff, etc.
The furnace and the
heating/cooling system controls.
All attic access areas (move
clothes from closets under openings to avoid insulation spills, clear a
path through attic storage, etc.).
All crawlspace access areas.
- Leave all warranty
and service literature on the kitchen table, for review by the buyer.
- Please provide
copies of repair invoices, including roof replacement information, if
available. The buyer would also be grateful to get copies of receipts,
plans, etc. for all major repairs and/or remodeling done in the home
during your ownership.
- Leave a copy of
your disclosure statement.
- Please leave any
special instructions regarding pets.
- Leave any special
instructions regarding house idiosyncrasies (alarms, yard lights, etc.)
- Please leave
notification if the house has been treated with chemicals for any
Leave the kitchen sink
free of dishes.
Empty the clothes
washer and dryer, if those appliances are included in the sale.
Your help and cooperation in all of these
matters will be greatly appreciated by the home inspector and your buyer.
Thank you very much!!!
Real Estate Professionals
- You have already
distinguished yourself as a fiduciary agent loyal to the buyer, and are
putting the buyers’ needs above all else. Please read through the
buyer's section above and encourage your client to do the same. Your
help in these matters will facilitate their purchasing process.
- Attend your
client's home inspection and consider it part of your continuing
education. You will also have a much better understanding about any
problems that the inspector may find, and what the potential solutions
and ramifications are. Distinguish yourself from your competition as a
salesperson who is knowledgeable about the product you are selling.
However, contradicting or arguing with the inspector about issues
brought up at the inspection is probably not wise, but the inspector
will likely be glad to discuss any misunderstandings or differences of
opinion with you later. Most realty agency attorneys recommend that
agents not give their opinion on issues involving the inspection, so let
the inspector/expert do their job and avoid liability for yourself.
- Make sure you have
permission from the owner and/or listing agent to perform the
- Please make sure
that all the utilities (electricity, water, and gas) will still be on at
the time of the inspection.
- Protect your
sellers and yourselves by encouraging a pre-listing inspection to ensure
full disclosure and to avoid last-minute surprises.
- Please have your
seller find and provide any information that they have on the age of the
roof! This is the number one question that any buyer and/or inspector
will have, and this question is no longer on the sellers’ disclosure
form as it once was. Having this documentation available should answer
the age question, as well as what company installed the roof, whether
the roofer’s warranty will transfer on to the new owners, etc.
- Ensure that the
seller provides good access to all areas and components of the house so
that the inspector can easily reach them. See the list of items in the
seller’s section above, for suggestions.
- Please read
through the seller's section above and encourage your client to do the
same. Your help in these matters will assist in the home inspection
process and will help to facilitate their sale.