The Real Estate Buzz

Seller's Home Inspection Checklist

What You Can Expect on Inspection Day
Posted: June 03, 2019 by Teri Krueger

Here’s what you can expect during a home inspection:

  • A home inspector will look at a house’s HVAC system, interior plumbing and electrical systems, roof, attic, floors, windows and doors, foundation, basement and structural components. The inspector will then provide a report with the results.
  • A home inspection takes about two to four hours, but may take longer depending on the size of your home.
  • Generally, the buyer is present during the inspection so they can ask specific questions of the inspector. This process can give them much more information than just reading the report.

Although there may be a fair amount of defects listed on the report, don’t be too concerned as many will be so minor you won’t need to bother fixing them. However, do pay attention to the more serious issues that may be discovered as some of these can be deal-breakers. It is a good idea to talk to the inspector and your real estate agent about the best way to proceed.

If you know what an inspector is going to be looking for, you can sort out minor issues in advance, so an Inspection Checklist can be a great tool when you are selling your home. Picking some quick and inexpensive items to fix can greatly reduce the list of defects that show up on the report; and the shorter that list is, the better the chances of your sale closing without issues.

Home Inspection Checklist:

Here is a list of the items the inspector will be looking at according to the American Society of Home Inspectors’ (ASHI):

  1. Heating system
  2. Central air conditioning system (temperature permitting)
  3. Interior plumbing and electrical systems
  4. Roof
  5. Attic, including visible insulation
  6. Walls
  7. Ceilings
  8. Floors
  9. Windows and doors
  10. Foundation
  11. Basement
  12. Structural components

Obviously the inspector isn’t going to be tearing apart your home to gain access to the piping and wiring, but the more he or she has access to, the better the final report will be.  Here are some ways you can provide quick and easy access to everything on the home inspection checklist:

  1. Leave keys (for example, for your electrical panel), and label them where the inspector can find them
  2. Make sure all pilot lights are on for fireplaces and furnaces, so the inspector can check heating and other appliances. These will be checked regardless of the current season.
  3. Tidy your basement as there will need to be an unobstructed path down the steps and through to your furnace, HVAC unit, water heater and anything else that will need to be inspected
  4. Tidy your attic to be easily accessible just as you did your basement
  5. Clean up the specific areas of your yard so the inspector can easily access your crawl space, drainage access points or septic tank
  6. If the utilities have been shut off, the will need to be reconnected

Although being helpful won’t necessarily get you a better report, the inspector will appreciate your thoughtfulness, and that never hurts.

How Can You Get a Better Report?

Just like everyone else, an inspector will associate a clean, sweet-smelling home with owners who care for and take care of their property. It can only help if the inspection starts off from that perspective.

Since you have mostly likely already prepared your home for showings, it’s likely already in near-perfect condition, but look around for any new defects. If a window has a cracked pane, for instance, or a roof tile has slipped, get them fixed in advance. Similarly, if your furnace or HVAC is overdue for maintenance, get it professionally serviced.

Although this is not the time to carry out expensive work, you might as well go for any quick wins that are available. After all, your buyers are likely to try and leverage any black marks in the inspection report for a lower price. Who knows? You might even save a few bucks.

Who Pays For The Home Inspection?

The buyer usually pays for the home inspection, however; on making an offer, some will insist that the seller pay. So this is an item for negotiation.

Sometimes, sellers will commission a home inspection before they first offer the home. This can help to reassure potential buyers and can provide the owner with a chance to fix issues ahead of the marketing of the property. It is good to remember that not all buyers will be willing to accept a report paid for by the seller. In fact, experts recommend that buyers choose their own inspector, someone who isn't connected to either the seller or the selling agent.

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

HomeAdvisor regularly publishes nationwide average costs for home inspections, and in 2018, that cost ranged anywhere from $277-$388, though you may pay below $200 or well over $400, depending on where you live and size of your home.

As with most things in life, the cheapest isn’t always the best. If your state doesn’t license home inspectors, make sure yours is sufficiently qualified and experienced to do a good job, and doesn’t cut corners. Choosing an ASHI Inspector may be a bit more reassuring about their competence and ethical standards.

Could There Be Follow-up Costs?

Buyers alerted to potential problems by the inspector may want to commission further reports from specialists concerning the possible presence of:

  • Radon
  • Termites
  • Asbestos
  • Lead piping or paint
  • Mold

Lead and asbestos were commonly used in the construction of older homes but are banned from those recently built. Some buyers may also require a check on sewage pipes using a camera service.

How Long Will The Inspection Take?

The length of an inspection can vary greatly, usually depending on four factors:

  1. Home size
  2. Number of defects
  3. Thoroughness of the inspector
  4. The helpfulness of the owner when preparing for the inspection

You can generally expect somewhere between two and four hours unless there are exceptional circumstances.

What If My Report Lists A Lot of Defects? 

Most reports list a lot of issues. Some run into three digits. This is because there is no such thing as a perfect home. Many of these issues will be so minor that you won't bother fixing them; however, as stated above, the more serious issues can be deal-breakers, so be sure to talk to your home inspector and real estate agent about the best way to proceed. 

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