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home_inspection_check_meterToday’s “Ask the Expert” column features Jay Gregg, the Director of Marketing with Pillar To Post.

Q: How can homeowners—and their REALTORS®—best prepare for a home inspection?

A: To get the best from your home inspector, homeowners and REALTORS® should know how to best prepare for a home inspection. We always recommend a pre-listing inspection to potential sellers in order to identify items that will come up and could complicate the deal. If the inspector identifies issues that can be easily fixed, you can take care of them before listing. If something more complex is found, at least it won’t be a surprise during the offer process.

We strongly advise sellers to always disclose past catastrophes like grow houses, fires or floods. Provide your inspector with building permits and plans for major renovations, and disclose if the work was not completed with proper permits. Provide well and septic permits, as well as maintenance and repair records. It’s also important to provide invoices and warranties for major improvements, including, but not limited to, furnaces and roofs. You may also want to have a qualified electrician check all aluminum wire connections and provide a letter outlining work done and comments made.

It’s also crucial that you schedule enough time for your home inspection. The average Pillar To Post home inspection takes two-and-a-half to three hours, which is fairly typical. For homes 100 years old or older, I typically ask for an additional half hour for the time spent looking for dry rot in the basement. The seller should also ensure that the home is safe, i.e., hand railings are installed on all staircases and lights are functional. And they should correct any “handyman” wiring and eliminate hazards before the inspector or any buyers arrive.

The other common home inspection is the one asked for by an interested buyer. For these types of inspections, buyers should make sure the decisionmaker has seen the home and attends the inspection if at all possible. Sellers need to ensure that any pets are in a safe location, either away from the home or in a crate. Valuables and medications should also be in a safe location and out of sight. Sellers aren’t required to attend the buyer’s inspection, and we encourage them not to be present at all, as their presence often makes prospective buyers uncomfortable. Sellers should also make sure home inspectors have easy access to the attic, yard, garage, sheds, electrical panels, furnace and water mains.

If sellers, REALTORS® and prospective buyers are properly prepared, our home inspectors can do their best work. Collaboration is essential to creating the best possible outcome for all.

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