Inspected Once, Inspected Right: Preparing for a Home Inspection

A home does not ‘fail’ a professional inspection; a professional inspector puts observations in the perspective of the overall condition of the home, a snapshot in time, not blowing issues out of proportion. Cosmetic, easily corrected or irrelevant issues should be discussed as such. These thoughts will help you prepare for an inspection, your assistance making it easier for the inspector to focus on any relevant issues.

  1. Replace burnt out light bulbs. It’s important to determine the condition of the light fixtures, not the condition of the bulbs.
  2. Leave the utilities connected, including keeping pilot lights ignited. The home inspector will need to test these and if they are not inspected, the buyer could delay closing until those inspections are completed.
  3. Clear a path away from exterior inspection points. Keep garbage cans and branches away from the house and if possible, when there is snow on the ground shovel the sidewalks.
  4. Ensure that there is unobstructed access to your furnace, electrical panel, and water meter and that access doors and covers all open easily; flag the water meter location if not obvious.
  5. Change your furnace filter if dirty; regularly changing a dirty filter lowers your heating bill.
  6. Check your hot water temperature; over 50°C is too high and a serious scalding risk.
  7. Test your smoke alarms, you should have one on each level at an appropriate location.
  8. Test your ground fault protected receptacles (in the bathrooms, outside, and anywhere else that you have them) and replace defective ones.
  9. Ensure no electrical switches and receptacles are loose and that all have covers; a safety issue.
  10. If you have a sump pump, test it regularly and ensure that there is unobstructed access to it.
  11. Make sure any attic access panel opens freely and is easily accessed; if it is located in a clothes closet, empty the closet (or the surrounding area) for the inspection as insulation particles often fall when the hatch is opened.
  12. Check all door hinges for tightness of the screws, many times these loosen and the door will bind. Good draft strips on outside doors improve your comfort.
  13. Ensure windows open easily; use silicone lubricant on sliding surfaces to prevent freezing shut.
  14. Remove mildew from bathroom tiles and around windows using an appropriate cleaner. Opening windows when condensation occurs on them and running vent fans after showers or baths and while cooking will reduce humidity levels in the home to prevent mildew returning.
  15. Wash the filter from the clothes dryer each time you clean off the lint, as fabric softeners can leave deposits on the mesh, reducing airflow and causing a fire hazard.
  16. If you have a fireplace, consider having your chimney swept, depending on when last swept, how much and what type of wood you burn.
  17. In winter, turn off and drain outside hose taps at the inside shut-off and mark their locations.
  18. Provide information such as receipts about any improvements that you might have had done, such as additional insulation in attic or walls, electrical service or wiring upgrades, plumbing or similar upgrades that might not be obviously apparent or easily observed.
  19. Leave instructions on switch locations and procedures for turning on gas fireplaces, whirlpool baths and any other similar items that might have controls that are not immediately visible and obvious.

Preparing your home for inspection will not only present your property in its best condition, but will also help to prevent closing delays due to incomplete or repeated inspections.