When selling your home, it is a great idea to have solid personal knowledge of all your home’s nooks, crannies, and weak spots. Here are some things you should consider before any home inspector visits your home with potential buyers, possibly bringing up major and minor issues that could cost you money, or worse, the sales deal itself.
- Replace Your Bulbs
It may sound simple but this item is often forgotten about. Be sure to examine all your attached light fixtures. Make sure all the light bulbs are functioning in each room, including those on the outside of the home. House inspectors only get an overhead view and cannot determine if the bulb itself is out or if there’s possibly an underlying electrical problem.
- Remove Sink Clogs
Go through your entire house to all the drains in the sinks and one by one, run the water. If you notice a slow drain, you can try using store-bought clog removers. For very slow or even totally clogged drains or for any slow flow or blockage at the water source, call in a plumber instead.
- Check Your Monitors
Be sure to have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Test them before each home inspection and look at the expiration dates. You should have a smoke alarm on every level of your home, including the basement. As for carbon monoxide detectors, there should be at least one in your home, in or near the main bedroom area.
- Check For Any Cracks
If your home has any cracked windows or broken screens, you may want to fix them before the inspector comes. Even if a crack isn’t a big issue on some basement window, it will still likely show up in the home inspector’s report.
- Get the Bugs Out
Do you see a lot of carpenter bees hanging around? What about stinkbugs? Or perhaps a steady line of ants near your home? Any sort of infestation — especially of wood destroying insects like termites — will show up on your inspection report. It’s best to take care of it proactively and hire a pest control company if needed.
- Clear Access
Ensure access to critical areas of your house are free and clear. For example, think about your air conditioning units, furnace, electrical box, hot water heater, attic, and any other possible locked spaces. In addition, make it easier to access plumbing under the sink and back access, as well as any areas blocked off by storage, etc. If the inspector cannot gain access, he or she will be unable to include them in the report, raising questions for your potential buyers.
Replace your furnace return air filters. Not only do dirty filters impact the efficiency of your overall HVAC system, they also show neglect, which isn’t the type of impression you want to leave with the inspector.
- Trim Your Trees
Are there any overhanging limbs or branches at your property? Trees that are over roofs can prematurely shorten roof life by inviting moss and lichen to take hold. Rodents can gain easy access to your chimney and other openings. Are any hanging over your power lines? If necessary, hire your local electrical company to come trim those tree branches by the power lines or a qualified tree company.
- Observe Grading
Check to see that the ground slopes away from your home versus toward it to avoid basement water flooding issues. Even if there’s no evidence of water entering your home, it’s a good idea to slope dirt away in flowerbeds and other areas that come in contact with your foundation. Hire a local waterproofing company to come inspect your home and property for any possible issues.
- Go With the Flow
Flush your toilets to see if any are performing as they should. Sometimes a repair is as easy as adjusting the water level in your tank. Sometimes, a clog or hard water might be to blame or perhaps a bad design.
- Cap It Off
Any sort of caps needed in and around your home should be there. Any unused gas lines, even if shut off, should be capped. Also, any chimneys or flues should be capped to prevent debris, including leaves and animals, from clogging off critical vents.
- Open and Close
While you’re at it, go and open and close all your windows and doors to look for anything that’s creaking, loose, or otherwise not functioning properly. Look at hinges, door knobs, and anything else that seems amiss.
- Address the Issues
If you bought your house only a few years ago, chances are you still have a copy of your old home inspection from purchase. Go through the report and look for any unaddressed issues you’ve come to live with over the years. It’s almost like having a cheat sheet.