The 8s

8 tips for getting home-inspection ready: Failing to Plan Is Planning to Fail

February, 2017

© nihilart / adobe stock

When you’re selling a home, it’s standard procedure for potential buyers to request a home inspection. Like you, they want some assurance that they’re getting their money’s worth, and any damages or inadequacies that an inspector finds can take a big chunk off the price they’re willing to pay. Needless to say, it pays to be prepared. Here are eight simple tips for getting home-inspection ready.

1. Clean the House

This may seem like an obvious place to start, but tidying up is an important step. And while that normally translates to organizing the clutter, doing a little vacuuming and cleaning the bathrooms, you’ll want to break out the elbow grease when your home inspector is coming around. That means giving special attention to the areas under the sinks and in the furnace room.

2. Heating & Air Conditioning

Here in Canada, the condition and reliability of your heating system will be of great interest to any potential buyers, so you’ll want to make sure that it’s in top shape. This means checking the air filters in your furnace, cleaning the vents so they’re clear of debris and making sure that your thermostat is both responsive and accurate.

Air conditioners are less common, but if you have one, you’ll want to take similar precautions. Make sure that both the interior and exterior components are functional and that the coils and filters are clean. If you suspect a problem with either of these systems, you’ll likely need to call a repair service.

3. Doors & Windows

Your doors and windows will be of special interest to inspectors as well, so put them through some basic tests. First, take a closer look at them than you normally would. If the caulking around the window frames is old or cracked, you’ll want to replace it. Next, try opening your windows to their full extent to see if they’re warped or sticking. If they are, you might want to think about having the frames reset. Lastly, if you have mesh screens on your doors or windows, check for rips or holes.

4. Electrical

It’s easy to become accustomed to a dim or faulty bulb somewhere in the house, but that’s the exact kind of thing that a home inspector will notice immediately. Take a moment to survey all of your light fixtures, and be sure to replace any burnt-out or flickering bulbs. Next, check your outlets to make sure that they’re functional and in good shape, with no frayed wires or melted casings. Lastly, test all of your smoke detectors to make sure they’re in working order.

5. Plumbing

Leaky taps and clogged drains are the most common offenders in the failed-plumbing category. The taps at your sinks shouldn’t take more than a light hand to turn on and off, so if you have to tighten them really hard to stop that drip, look into getting some replacements. Not all drain blockages will be immediately noticeable to you, but the inspector will be able to tell. Run your taps for a minute or two to make sure that the sink doesn’t start to fill up. If it does, it’s often an easy fix with a bit of drain cleaner.

While you’re running the taps, check the water pressure, too. If the water seems to be coming out at a slow rate, you might have a leak or a problem with your main water valve. Unless you really know what you’re doing, hiring a plumber to assess the situation might be your best option.

6. Mould & Mildew

Where there’s a leak, there’s often mould, depending on how long the moisture has been an issue. Mould and mildew, however, are both serious issues when it comes to selling your house, as they can affect the respiratory health of any occupants. So if you’ve noticed any leaks or water stains, or if your basement is damp or has any history of flooding, you’ll want to address the situation immediately. Cleaning mould and mildew often involves completely gutting the affected area (such as drywall) and replacing it. It can be an expensive process, but evidence of mould will be a big red flag for any inspector.

7. Yard

Your yard doesn’t have to be beautifully landscaped in order to pass an inspection, but you will want to make sure there are no overgrown branches that could potentially damage the house during a windstorm. You’ll also want to make sure there is no excessive growth that blocks the view of the foundation, the window wells or your gas metre.

8. Roof & Chimney

Roofs are easy to forget about, but neglected shingles, gutters and chimneys can lower a home’s property value substantially. Check that your shingles aren’t rotting or coming loose and that your gutters are clean. When it comes to your chimney, you should be checking that the flue is clear and that there are no animals nesting in or atop it. Thanks, squirrels…  t8n

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