Sellers: Be Prepared
A Seller’s Guide to Home Inspections
By ROBERT K. MAJOR
We peek under your sinks and behind closed doors, in your basements and down
at your floors. We operate your appliances to insure good order, and check in
your attic for any signs of water. We get on your roof and crawl under your
house avoiding the spiders and even a mouse. We check the plumbing and the
electrical too, the heating and AC just to name a few. We inspect your
foundation, the exterior and more, checking off items as we take our tour. We
will look at your house from top to bottom finding the issues that might cause a
problem. If you’re selling your home, be prepared, because your local inspector
is always there!
If you have ever been through the process of selling
your home, you know how difficult it is to create that picture perfect image.
Beds always made, bathrooms clean, laundry folded, and everything in its place.
Although image is very important, it only touches the surface. Your home should
not only look good, it should also operate well. Home inspectors looks beyond
the surface, to establish the overall condition of your home.
From an inspector’s perspective, your home is broken
down into sections and components. We look at your Grounds, Exterior,
Roof, Foundation, Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning, Electrical Systems,
Interior Components, Garage, Kitchen, and Bathrooms. This allows the
inspector to evaluate and identify specific issues. There is a lot of anxiety
associated with the selling process, so the following narrative is a guide to
help you prepare for your next home inspection.
Keep a good seal on your asphalt driveway. This
is a great way to protect the asphalt and to provide a fresh look.
Make sure your deck and wooden fences are in good
shape. Replace rotted or damaged lumber, secure post and loose rails, and
eliminate protruding nails. Power washing, waterproofing, and staining
provide a new look and protects the lumber.
Make sure your gutters and downspouts are in good working
order. Remove any leaves or debris and make sure your downspouts have
diverters taking water away from your foundation.
Look at the exterior of your home. Make sure the siding,
brick, and trim are in good repair. Replace or repair any damaged siding or
trim, and paint and caulk any exposed wood for protection.
Look for and fix water penetration
problems in your basement. Moisture in a home can lead to structural
problems, moisture damage, and mold. This is a big deterrent for potential
If you have a basement or crawl space look for damage to
lumber and cracks in your foundation system (includes bricks, masonry block,
poured concrete, and slab floors). If your foundation system is bulging,
heaving, or significantly cracked you should contact a structural engineer or
a licensed contractor.
Check all visible supply and drain lines throughout the
house. Look for corrosion and leaks and have plumbing repaired where
If you have Polybutylene pipes and have had problems, consider
replacing your supply lines. This plumbing system has experienced many
problems and it can bring down the value of your home. Check with a licensed
contractor and your Realtor® to see if you can recover the replacement cost
through the listing price.
Heating and Air Conditioning
Have your Heating & AC System
serviced by a licensed contractor. They will evaluate and clean your system
and make sure it is operating properly.
Dirty air filters create drag in
your ducts and decrease the efficiency of your Heating & AC System. Make sure
you have a clean or new filter.
Check all the outlets in your house
and make sure they are covered and working properly. You can purchase an
inexpensive three prong outlet tester at the hardware store. If you encounter
a problem with your outlets contact a licensed contractor.
If you have aluminum wires leading
to your outlets and fixtures have your electrical system evaluated by a
Interior, Kitchen, and Bathrooms
All homes experience common settling cracks and nail pops.
Patching and painting can create a fresh new look in your home. Remember to
use neutral colors. If you find significant cracks, wall movement, or ceiling
separation contact a licensed contractor for evaluation and repair.
Make sure all your doors and windows operate. Look for broken
glass, broken sashes, damaged hardware, and units that do not operate
properly. Repair and replace were necessary.
Go into your attic (ideal during a heavy rain storm) and make
sure your roof is providing adequate protection. Look for stains and evidence
of moisture damage. Contact a licensed contractor if you find any problems.
Make sure your refrigerator, range/oven, dishwasher,
microwave, and garbage disposal are clean and working properly.
sure your toilets, sinks, showers, and tubs are working properly. Check for
leaks, moisture damage, loose fixtures, slow drains, and low water pressure.
Repair and replace where necessary.
Make sure your automatic garage
door opener is operating properly. Check the auto reverse safety devises
(motion sensor and pressure sensor).
Make sure the door leading to the
house is fire rated and that any walls or ceilings directly connected to
interior living areas are dry walled.
The items above are not a complete list associated with a home
inspection. However, many of these items represent common defects found during
the home inspection process. It is never prudent to hide or cover up problems
in your home. Finding and fixing these problems prior to listing improves your
home’s marketability. If you have had any major home renovations or additions
provide the buyer with the appropriate permits and County inspections. It is
always sensible to use a licensed contractor to make repairs on electrical,
plumbing, heating / air conditioning, roofs, and foundation / structural
systems. Generally, licensed contractors are insured and they guarantee their
work. Providing professional documentation always puts the buyer’s mind at
ease. Many home inspectors provide pre-sale home assessments or full home
inspections to assist in the selling process. Being prepared will streamline
the selling process, and help everyone in your real estate transaction. Good