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A couple of the first questions you may ask once you decide to list your home for sale are: what will a home inspector be looking at and how can I possibly prepare for a home inspection?

For answers, we turned to the National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. (nahi.org) According to the site, much preparation can be done with little or no cost – and many tasks are regular maintenance items for a home. Below are the top things to tackle before a home inspection:

  • Remove grade or mulch from contact with siding. Six (6) or more inches of clearance is preferred.
  • Divert all water away from the house; i.e. downspouts, sump pump, condensation drains, etc. Grade should slope away from the structure. Clean out basement entry drains.
  • Paint all weathered exterior wood and caulk around trim, chimney, windows and doors.
  • Seal asphalt driveways, if cracking, and point up masonry chimney caps.
  • Clean or replace HVAC filter. Clean dirty air returns and plenum.
  • Test all smoke detectors to ensure they are in safe working condition.
  • Have the chimney, fireplace or wood stove cleaned and provide the buyer with a copy of the cleaning record.
  • Ensure that all doors and windows are in proper operating condition, including repairing or replacing any cracked window panes.
  • Ensure that all plumbing fixtures (toilet, tub, shower, and sinks) are in proper working conditions. Check for and fix any leaks. Caulk around fixtures if necessary.
  • Install GFCI receptacles near all water sources.
  • Check to ensure that the crawlspace is dry and install a proper vapor barrier if necessary. Remove any visible moisture from a crawlspace.
  • Check that bath vents are properly vented and in working condition.
  • Remove paints, solvents, gas, etc., from crawlspace, basement, attic, porch, etc.
  • Have clear access to attic, crawlspace, heating system, garage and other areas that will need to be inspected.
  • If the house is vacant, make sure that all utilities are turned on, including water, electric, water heater, furnace, air condition and breaks in the main panel.

Most importantly, NAHI says don’t do quick cheap repairs – you may raise questions that will unfairly cause great concern to buyers and inspectors.

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