Preparing Your Home for an Inspection

As a general rule, it is unwise to try to anticipate the results of a home inspection, or to make any last minute corrections. It might be a good idea to reattach missing gutter downspouts, reposition splash blocks, or replace missing electrical cover plates. Such detailed corrections may give the house a neater appearance, but are unlikely to effect major findings about drainage systems, electrical wiring, or the life expectancy of a roof system. Some last minute corrections, such as the painting of basement walls to cover water stains, or the use of caulking to reattach loose bathroom tiles, may provide the experienced inspector with additional clues to possible problems. Making the house accessible and easier to inspect would help the inspector. It will not change the material findings of the inspection, but could eliminate some unnecessary aggravations.

A Few Suggestions:

  • Remove any furniture and stored material from access panels to crawl spaces, electrical panel boxes, furnaces, and spa pump motors.
  • If the access panel to the attic crawl space is in a closet, you might remove the clothes from that closet, or cover the clothes with a sheet, in order to protect them from bits of insulation and debris that fall down in the process of removing the access panel.
  • Overly friendly or unfriendly dogs can complicate the inspection process and are best kept away from the house during the period of an inspection.
  • A copy of building permits, construction contracts and drawings, septic tank service reports, utility bills and similar documents can be helpful to an inspector. If you have such documents, you may want to collect them prior to the inspection and have them available at the time of inspection. If you do not have such documents, don't go out of your way to search for copies.
  • Be honest! Many states have laws that require seller to disclose a home's defects. If, for example, your basement has leaked, disclose that information! If you have made repairs that appear to have solved the problem then disclose that you think the problem has been solved.
  • Most inspectors will perform the inspection in the company of the prospective buyer. This is a time for the buyer to take another look at the house and discuss various items with assistance, and then provide full access to the house. It is customary and recommended that the seller be absent from the house during the actual inspection, or remain in portions of the house not being inspected.
  • Inspector should have prior permission from the customer to discuss the inspection report with a third party. As such, it would be best to refrain from asking the inspector about the inspection report, unless you have contracted for the report.