Your home is on the market and there’s an offer on the table. Congratulations! Now it’s time to get ready for the buyer’s home inspection — an event that can make or break the deal. But don’t be too concerned. By taking a little time to get the property ready for inspection, it will likely go smoothly and you will be able to move to the next stage of the sale!
This simplified checklist with the most common issues should help make it easier to organize the steps you need to take for a smoother transaction.
Do your own pre-inspection, especially if you didn’t get a seller’s inspection before you put your home on the market.
- Inside the home:
- Flush toilets and run faucets, looking for pressure, remove any clogs, and check for leaks.
- Look for dingy caulk, crumbling grout, and water damage in bathrooms and the kitchen. (Cracked grout in tile showers is especially common)
- Run ceiling and bathroom fans.
- Test all light switches inside and outside the home.
- Replace burned out bulbs or broken sockets
- Test GFCI receptacles (GFCI protection should be at all wet areas, including the exterior, garage, kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry)
- Test smoke detector batteries and carbon monoxide detectors. (CO detectors should be within 15' of each bedroom if there is an attached garage, fireplace, or gas appliances)
- Test all appliances and HVAC systems to ensure they are functioning properly.
- Open and close all windows, doors, and screens, testing locks and seals. (Cleaning and lubricating will help)
- Look for signs of water damage (discoloration or stains). Stains from previous leaks that have been repaired should be disclosed ahead of time to the buyer!
- Look for signs of foundation movement (cracks, nail pops, misaligned doors).
- In the attic, the garage, and outside the home:
- Open and close garage doors manually and with the remote.
- Block the garage door from closing to test its reverse safety setting.
- Make sure ducts are connected in attics and crawl spaces.
- Replace torn screens or broken windows.
- Look for damaged insulation in the attic and crawl spaces.
- Make sure gutters and downspouts are connected and unclogged.
- Replace any damaged or missing roofing.
- Look for issues with landscaping, fences, outbuildings, pool, and spa.
- Look at possible drainage issues.
- Take detailed notes of what you find during the pre-inspection to help you prepare for the real deal.
Make pre-inspection repairs.
- Decide what you want to fix prior to the inspection to make it go more smoothly, being realistic about what you will have time to do.
- Also, note issues you’re aware of but don’t plan (or have time) to fix — you’ll need this information for the seller's disclosure statement, which is required by law in the State of New Mexico.
- Decide how you will address the repairs. Buy tools and supplies for DIY projects and find professionals to address others as needed.
- Make those repairs happen!
Get ready for inspection day.
- Confirm the date and time of the inspection.
- Plan to be out of the house that day, and make sure pets are crated or sent on a play date.
- Make sure the electricity and water are turned on and pilot lights lit. Inspectors do not light the appliances or turn on utilities. If these are off or not lit, a re-inspection and additional fee will be charged to the responsible party.
- Make sure all electrical panels, attic and crawlspace accesses, water heater, furnace, and other appliances are fully accessible.
- Make sure all appliances are installed, connected to power, and accessible.
- Remove dishes from the sink and dishwasher. Remove anything from the ovens other than the racks. And if the washer and dryer are part of the sale, make sure they are empty.
- Empty as much from the attic as possible, particularly if clutter blocks visibility or access.
- Remove barriers from areas that provide entry to the attic, crawl spaces, or equipment.
- Clear at least six inches of space around the home’s exterior foundation.
- Clear around the A/C compressor, downspouts, and vents.
- Trim bushes near the home’s foundation to allow visibility.
- Gather documentation on repairs, replacements, warranties, and insurance claims.
When you receive inspection feedback from the buyer’s realtor, ask any clarifying questions and do a bit of research into how you might respond to the buyer’s requests — which may be requests to negotiate for repairs, financial concessions, and/or a home warranty. If you agree to make repairs, set them in motion, and keep in mind, that your mortgage lender may request their own appraisal and have minimum property standards that may require fixing before they will fund the loan.
Selling a home can be nerve-wracking as you wait to hear how the inspection goes and what the buyer wants to do next. We hope this simplified home inspection checklist provides you with the information you need to feel prepared, not scared. And we hope you’ll reach out to us with any questions!
Would you like to print out a checklist? Click here for Zillow's Home Inspection Checklist.