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How To Prepare For A Home Inspection

Written by Allison Martin

Allison Martin is a personal finance enthusiast and a passionate entrepreneur. With over a decade of experience, Allison has made a name for herself as a syndicated financial writer. Her articles are published in leading publications, like Banks.com, Bankrate, The Wall Street Journal, MSN Money, and Investopedia. When she’s not busy creating content, Allison travels nationwide, sharing her knowledge and expertise in financial literacy and entrepreneurship through interactive workshops and programs. She also works as a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) dedicated to helping people from all walks of life achieve financial freedom and success.

Updated September 10, 2023​

3 min. read​

how to prepare for a home inspection

You’re eager to head to the closing table and seal the deal on the sale of your home. But there’s one major obstacle to clear before it can happen – the “often dreaded” home inspection. It’s required in most real estate transactions after the buyer signs the purchase agreement. 

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Why Should You Prepare for a Home Inspection Before Selling Your House?

A home inspection can make or break a deal if there’s an inspection or “due diligence” contingency in the contract. There is a chance that a buyer may back out of the agreement if the home inspector identifies issues with the home and the seller is unwilling to remedy the problem or discount the purchase price. 

You would want to take every chance to ensure your home is in tip-top shape before the inspection to avoid issues. Otherwise, you could be forced to sell for what you want and possibly forfeit a sizable chunk of potential profits. 

Most Common Things Home Inspectors Check

Below are some of the common items you’ll find on a home inspector’s checklist. 

House Systems 

The home inspector will check heating and cooling, gas and electrical systems for proper functionality. 

House Structure

Structural components are also assessed during the inspection, including doors, windows and siding, along with the attic, garage and crawl space (if applicable) in your home. 

Home Appliances

The inspector will check all appliances you don’t intend to take with you to ensure they’re working correctly. 

When Does Usually a Home Inspection Take Place When Selling a House?

Once you accept an offer on your home from a potential buyer and they sign a purchase agreement, the next step is the home inspection. It must be completed before closing for the transaction to be finalized. 

Steps How To Prepare For A Home Inspection

Home inspections can be nerve-wracking for sellers. However, you can take the proper steps to prepare your home for the big day.

1. Clean and Tidy Inspection Areas of Your Home

It’s worth decluttering and tidying up your entire home, including any hidden areas the inspector will examine. Don’t forget to deep clean your appliance, clean your carpet, make your hardwood floors shine, swap out a/c and furnace filters, organize your closets and spruce up the exterior of your home. You’ll also want to clear four to six inches of space around the entire perimeter of your home so the inspector can easily access the crawl space. 

2. Test Appliances, Plumbing and Electricals

The inspector will test out the appliances, plumbing and electrical units. So, you might as well make sure they’re functioning correctly before they get to it. If you notice something isn’t working properly, be sure to have, it repaired before the inspection. 

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3. Repair Anything that is Broken

What items on your “home repair to-do list” have you been putting off? Are there light bulbs that need to be replaced or issues with electrical wiring? Are there cracks in the flooring or grout that need to be addressed? Are the window screens torn? Do you need to replace missing shingles on the roof? Are any of your sinks clogged? Do you need to re-caulk in your bathrooms? Is the insulation up to par in the crawl space or attic? These are just examples of items you may need to repair before the inspection – this list is not all-inclusive. 

4. Make Sure Safety Items Are in Working Order

Test the smoke detector and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries or swap them out for new ones if needed. Also, check the chimney entry points and cap gas lines. 

5. Check the House Exterior, Including the Roof and Windows

Curb appeal is very important when listing your home if you want to attract top offers. But assuming you already have a pending offer that works for you, you want to make exterior home improvements so there won’t be red flags when the home inspector visits. Consider cleaning out the gutters, trimming trees near the roof or power lines, clearing debris near the a/c unit and pressure washing the roof and exterior. Also, make sure soil is sloped away from the home to facilitate water runoff. 

6. Be Early and Ready For Your Home Inspection on the Day

The last thing you want to do is agitate the home inspector before they enter your home. So, it’s essential to have the house ready for inspection at least an hour before the scheduled time.

Be sure to take your pets with you. It’s also important not to have dishes in the sink or laundry sitting in the washer or dryer. Your utilities should also be connected (if you’ve already vacated the home), and any remotes and keys for lighting fixtures, your garage, storage sheds and gates should be left on the counter. 

You can also leave any relevant documentation on the counter related to repairs, insurance claims or homeowner maintenance. 

Do You Have to Pay for Your Home Inspection?

The cost of the home inspection falls on the buyer. However, it’s worthwhile to invest in a pre-inspection so you can address any issues before the professional inspection. Generally, you can expect to spend between $200 and $400 to have it done, which is a small price to pay to avoid potential closing delays.

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