These are great tips for home sellers!
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Home inspections can be a major source of stress for sellers. If you want to make the home inspection go better, the easiest and most obvious thing is to hire an inspector to go through the house before the buyers have it inspected. This is a seller’s inspection. If you don’t want to have this done, there are still a few simple things you can do to make the buyer’s inspection go better. This advice also applies to Truth-in-Housing Inspections.
Change the furnace filter. This is the simplest no-brainer. When I inspect a house and find a nasty furnace filter, I’ll often recommend having the furnace and ductwork cleaned. A dirty filter also shows a lack of maintenance and care for the home, and can make first-time home buyers nervous.
Fix electrical hazards. This seems like an easy one, but it’s a very common problem that sometimes has easy fixes. Any extension cords that are being used in lieu of permanent wiring should be removed, and outlets installed if necessary. The two most common places are for garage door openers and water softeners. Also, go through the home and look for missing cover plates – look at outlets, light switches, and junction boxes. Here are the most common places to find missing cover plates:
- The garage, especially at the outlet for the opener
- The kitchen – behind the fridge, behind the stove, above the microwave, and under the kitchen sink.
- In the laundry room
- Unfinished basement areas
Fix plumbing leaks. This should be another no-brainer, but to be sure, go through the home and test all of the plumbing fixtures for leaks. Repair or replace the laundry sink faucet if it leaks around the stem or the handles. Fill up every sink with four inches of water, let it drain, and carefully examine the drain lines for any leaks.
Test the garage door opener. Place a 2×4 flat on the ground and let the overhead door close on it. If the door goes back up, it’s working the way it should. If it doesn’t, adjust the sensitivity settings on the opener so it auto-reverses when it hits the 2×4. If you can’t get this happen, replace the opener. Warning: this test could cause damage to the opener, and some home inspectors won’t do this test.
Check the gutters and downspouts. Clean the gutters, and repair any leaking joints. Make sure all of the downspout extensions are properly connected, and make sure they drain well away from the house – six to ten feet is ideal.
Make everything accessible. If the attic access is in a closet, move whatever personal belongings you have that would prevent access to the attic. If there is a crawl space, make sure that area is accessible as well. If it looks like items have been stored to intentionally block access to an area, it raises red flags. I’ll try twice as hard to get at an area if it looks like someone tried to block access to it.
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