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Home Inspector

Preparing a Home for Inspection
February 2008

My topic this month is how to prepare the house for inspection. I know that many of you have been in this profession for years; however, especially for listing agents, I would ask that you consult with your seller about how to prepare for the inspection. With ten days or less to conduct the inspection after the agreement of sale has been signed, it does not leave much time for the inspection to be booked, conducted and reports issued. I would suggest that you provide this list to your sellers so that it makes the inspection easier for all parties involved.

1. If there are animals in the house, please have them caged. I can't tell you how many times we are told to make sure that the cat does not leave the house. Dogs can also be intimidating regardless of size, not only to the inspector, but to the buyer as well. Litter boxes should be empty and the lawn free of dog dirt so it can not be brought into the home by "accident".

2. Remove the clothes from the closet where the attic access is placed. Although we do our best to keep the insulation off the clothes anything can happen.

3. Remove any furniture that may be blocking crawl space access-ways, especially in split level homes. Don't forget the attic access through the medicine cabinet or linen closet.

4. The electric panel box, which always has to be removed, should have clear access in front of it.

5. Remove any vehicles from the garage, especially if pull-down stairs are available. Keep possessions away from exterior walls for termite evaluation.

6. Personally, I don't mind sellers being home during the course of the inspection; however, they should be advised not to interfere with the inspection process itself. Property lines, reviewing of the in-house stereo, reviewing of the pool mechanicals etc. should be conducted after the inspection is completed. This is greatly appreciated.

7. Have a copy of the seller's disclosure form available for the inspector upon his arrival.

8. Information should be readily available to the inspector or buyer if any work has been conducted to the property i.e. waterproofing or termite repairs.

9. Gas fireplaces should be in working order at the time of the inspection and then can be shut off afterwards by the seller. It is against the Standards of Practice of both ASHI and NAHI to ignite these appliances.

10. Make sure that all utilities are on in vacant properties.

11. If vacant properties are to be inspected and the listing agent cannot be available, I would suggest the use of the older SPI lock boxes or master combination lock boxes so access can be gained. I am finding the electronic lock boxes are falling out of favor.

12. Clean up all the toys. They are tripping hazards and gives the impression of a cluttered home.

13. If a property has been on the market for more than ninety days you may suggest to your seller that they have their home inspected, so that any material defects can be brought to light at that point, and they can either be repaired or disclosed to a potential buyer.

With conducting inspections now for 25 years these are a few things that come to mind.

Jack H. Milne, Jr. President, Tri-County Inspection Co.