Home Inspections

Preparing A House For Inspection – Part 7 – Protect your Home – Protect your Pets

Now that you saved all your data..... are your pets safe?

Take the pets with you today

I bet this puppy would love to help the inspector.

Tennis balls, toys…. all manner of stuff will be laying around the house when you have pets. Your pets will be nervous with all these strangers walking around your house during an inspection.

Please plan ahead for their safety and well being.

Preparing A House For Inspection – Part 6 – Save Your Data

Now that you have Cleaned your gutters….

Save Your Data

During the home inspection, the inspector may be required to test circuit breakers and wall switches. GFCI outlets in the kitchen will definitely be tested. During those tests of the electrical system and components, this will turn off kitchen appliances, computers, and entertainment electronics that have clocks or timers in them. These appliances may be in every room of your home including the basement and garage.

Any data in open computer programs that is not saved to your hard drive may be lost. Even a battery backup system might fail at this critical time. I have encountered a home owner’s offices space with several computers all turned on and running. Interruption of the power was not desirable for these always-on digital resources.

When you return to your home, you may find the appliance clocks, digital clocks, and timers flashing at you because they need to be reset. Also remember that timers for exterior lights may also need to be reset. Plan ahead for this before you leave the house for the inspection.

Old Smoke Alarm

Preparing A House For Inspection – Part 4 – Change The Smoke Alarms

Now that you have Cleared the way for the Inspector....

Change The Smoke Alarms

When a smoke alarm (also called smoke detectors) looks as yellow as this one, it is very likely over 10 years old.  According to the NFPA, all smoke alarms that are more than 10 year old should be replaced.

An easy indication that a smoke alarm is rather old is the discoloration of the plastic. But every smoke alarm has a date of manufacture printed on the back side of the device. According to the NFPA, almost 1 in 5 smoke alarms throughout the USA are more than 10 years old.

If you know that the smoke alarms in your home are less than five years old, leave them in place, but make a note of their age so that everyone understands how old they are. When I inspect homes, I will be checking the age of the smoke alarms.

Smoke Alarm Hanging By Wires
OOPS! They forgot to take the old base plate off the ceiling.

Preparing A House For Inspection – Part 3 – Clear The Way For The Inspector

Now that you have all the lights on....

clear the way for the inspector

Attic scuttle panels or crawl space openings should not be obstructed. There may be more attic access locations than you think there are. The main house might have a separate access from the attic over a garage. Each separate level, and occasionally large covered porches, might have an access or scuttle. At times, small or large additions to the home will have separate attic spaces and therefore they will have their own scuttle opening.

Preparing A House For Inspection Part 2 – Light The Way

Light The Way

The simplest things can make a home look better to the buyers and help the Home Inspector write a cleaner inspection report. Owners, Listing Agents, and Home Stagers can help each other by putting just a bit of thought into the preparations that get a home ready to show and ready for the inevitable Home Inspection. And the buyer’s agent could call ahead to ask if these simple things have been addressed.

On a recent inspection, I found numerous light bulbs that were not working. All the way from the basement to the attic. You may think that it is not important. But it takes very little time to go through your home with a box of bulbs and install them wherever they are burned out. And don’t forget the front and back porch and the garage coach lights. The garage interior is also a place that will be inspected so check it as well. CFL or LED bulbs are economical enough that you could change the burned out bulbs today and have fewer items on the inspection list when that day comes for the home to be inspected.

The inspector cannot guess if the issue is simply a burned out bulb or an electrical issue such as wiring or a defective fixture. When you go the extra mile and change all the bulbs today, they will last through the entire listing period and the Home Inspection that will follow.

On another recent inspection, I found every light bulb working and there were extra new bulbs on the kitchen counter that had been left by the agent. This was a first class way of announcing that the home was ready for inspection. I hope it becomes a trend to see that sort of effort put into the simple things by the listing agents or the stagers.

Locked Gas Meter

Preparing A House For Inspection Part 1 – Turn On All Of The Utilities

Turn On The Utilities

If you are living in your home, this one is not for you because you have all the utilities turned on right?

But listing agents of vacant homes need to keep this in mind. They may not know if all the utilities are on unless they ask the owner. And the buyer’s agent should ask this question as well. Speculators, Absentee Owners, Banks, and Receivers may have their homes winterized as well. Recently rehabbed or even refurbished homes may have the utilities off while work is being done on the home. Even a short time while being vacant may be enough for the utilities to be turned off.

Think of all of the key utilities such as Water Service, Electrical Power, Natural Gas, Propane, or Fuel Oil. Even miscommunications can happen between the owners and the utility companies. Both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent should be aware of this as a potential for delays or disappointment.