Getting your home under contract is a great first step to getting to the closing table, but one of the most important steps that comes soon after is the home inspection. Most sellers worry about what might be found on the inspection, nervous that a buyer will walk away or that they will be faced with unexpected additional expenses. In most cases there are little to no major defects to a property, but it’s an inspector’s job to find and report as much about the property as possible to share with the buyer. For many buyers, the sheer number of minor items can feel overwhelming, so it’s a great idea to spend some time making a few small tweaks that will create a big difference down the line! See below for some tips to address the most common inspection findings and get one step closer to SOLD!
Get “it” out of the way! Areas around the furnace or water heater tend to collect items. Not only do these items present a possible safety and fire hazard, they also make it difficult for an inspector to access these systems. The garage can become a pre-staging point for the move with mountains of boxes, but this prevents the inspector from being able to do a thorough pest and termite inspection. After removing items and packing them away, or tossing them, clean these areas and remove spider-webs. Making areas of the garage, attic and mechanical areas accessible will allow the inspector access to do a quality inspection.
Let there be light! If the home inspector flips the switch and the light doesn’t come on, they likely won’t take the time to test the bulb. Instead, they may note that the light wasn’t operational at the time of the inspection and may not work. Go throughout your house and replace bulbs that are out. Don’t just look in the rooms, but check closets, the refrigerator, the attic, and the vent hood. Before you leave for the inspection, turn all the lights on.
Clear the air! If you pay for a twice-yearly HVAC service, schedule your service technician to come out prior to the home inspection. During the routine service, the HVAC technician will be able to identify and correct any minor issues and make sure all switches are on. Leave a copy of the report on the table for the home inspector to see. Clean all return air filters by removing the metal grate and spraying it off with a water hose, replacing the filter with a fresh one.
Test the water! Many reports contain descriptions of leaky faucets or toilets that run. Do a careful inspection of each faucet, making sure that the handles are tight and the faucets don’t drip. Look under the sinks or cabinets for signs of condensation or water, which can be an indication that there is a leak. Check the showers to make sure that water comes from the shower head itself and not the connection between the pipe and the shower head. Flush all toilets and make sure that they fill correctly. Clean the bowls of the toilets to remove any rings or stains. Check all bathtubs and sinks to make sure they drain easily, and run the disposal to make sure that it works and sounds right. A loud or irregular sound can cause the buyer to ask for a new disposal when it only requires the removal of a small item of debris.
In and out! Check garage door openers to make sure that the safety sensor (which prevents the garage door from closing on a car or person) works properly. Often, a loose wire or pile of boxes can make the sensor fail to operate. Open all windows three times each to provide for smooth operation. Windows may be flagged as difficult to operate simply because they haven’t been opened in years. If windows have a tilt feature, make sure they operate correctly. Replace any torn or missing weather stripping. You can buy this by the roll or strip at a home improvement store, and it is usually easy to push in or install. Make sure that all sliding doors glide open easily.
Caulk it up! Inspect all crown and trim for separation from the wall. Recaulk all the cracks and touch-up the caulked areas with paint. Inspect the caulk in showers and tiled areas in the bathroom. Check the grout and caulk for signs of mildew, and use a mildew removing cleanser or grout cleaner to bring back a fresh appearance to grouted area. Step outside and look for exterior wood that shows initial signs of rot. If you find it, caulk and repaint with an exterior paint. If the rot has progressed, you may need to call a handyman to replace the wood.
Keys to Success! Be sure to leave the home inspector keys to all items that might be locked, such as attic access doors, storage closets or an electrical panel. Stick the key in the keyhole or provide a ring of marked keys. Leave keys for all doors so that the deadbolts and knobs may be tested.
If you’re concerned that there could be other items of concern, we’re happy to connect you with our thorough inspection team who offers a fantastic pre-list inspection that can ease some of the anxiety and give you a great list to work off of while waiting for your perfect buyer! The listing team at The Peters Company is always here to help – before, during, and after selling your home, so give us a call anytime at 404-319-8619. We’d love to meet with you!
Written by Jennie Moshure, Listing Specialist