Congratulations! You have put your home on the market and are under contract. You may or may not have already had a pre-listing inspection (I think you should - here's why). Now it's time to get ready for the inspection on your current home!
As an experienced inspector who has performed thousands of inspections in homes at all price ranges, I'd like to share a few tips and tricks to get your home ready for its inspection.
1. Clean the house - top to bottom, inside and out. Deep cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces (both before and after your inspection) can help prevent the spread of viruses, including Covid-19. Cleaning the house can also help you discover other possible issues. Remember to clean areas that you don’t use often that the inspector and the buyers will be looking in, and absolutely make sure to clean all pet areas! Consider putting away personal hygiene products such as toothbrushes, hair brushes, and those nice electric flossers, both to make sure they are not in the way and to prevent any children the buyer may have tagging along from investigating them. Consider putting away the kitchen utensils that you store in that container on the counters to make sure they aren’t touched or bumped. Why not go ahead and put them in the dishwasher since the inspector will run it anyway?
2. Change all of the filters in your house. The inspector will be looking at these. Be sure to change HVAC filters, water filters, and make sure the dryer filter and dryer vent are clean. Replace the dryer vent cover if it's damaged. Hopefully you have been doing this all along because it greatly increases the life expectancy of your appliances. However, unchanged filters are often a sign to a buyer that there may be other neglect and cause them to become concerned about deferred maintenance issues. After all, if you aren't changing the filters, what else are you not doing that should be done to maintain a home?
3. Be sure there is open access for the inspector to get to all of the areas of the home that will need to be inspected. Clear the access to the attic and crawlspace areas. Make sure storage areas are accessible and not so cluttered that the walls and structure can't be inspected. Be sure to clear anything away from in front of the panel box so that the cover can be removed and the inside inspected. The inspector will need full access to these areas and an inability to inspect them thoroughly can leave unanswered questions for your prospective buyers.
4. Repair the "lived with" issues in your home. We all know that every house has them - the little things that aren't big enough issues to fix, that perhaps you have even stopped noticing. Hopefully you had a pre-listing inspection, had all of those issues pointed out to you, and have taken care of the whole list! If not, a few things to note that are often seen on inspections are leaking toilets and faucets, old stains from repaired water issues which need to be painted over, doors that don't latch, or windows that don't open. If there are any spots of decay in exterior wood products or bare wood places showing, repair them. As with the filters, these can all spark concerns of deferred maintenance for buyers!
5. Clean, clean, clean. I know I already said this, but I cannot emphasize this enough. Remember, these are the people who want to make your house their future home. This will be their opportunity to be in each room, as an inspection takes at least a couple of hours and the buyers will likely be there the whole time. I have been inspecting homes for many years and I have seen the varying reactions buyers have when they enter a home on the day of the inspection. They may enter a home initially loving it, wanting to buy it, and excited about envisioning their future in the space. If the home is much dirtier than it was when they viewed it at their showing, this can change to concern. Their focus can shift from, "I can't wait to put my sofa over there," to, "Wow, we have a lot of work to do - and I wonder what else the owner does not maintain?" Show your buyers that the house is well cared for and make sure to clean, clean, clean!
Overall, having the home you are selling inspected should not be a stressful event. A little preparation can go a long way toward making that day go smoothly. Then, you will be off to your new home with nothing but wonderful memories to carry with you, while your buyers relax in their new space!