For buyers and sellers alike, home inspections are a crucial part of the home-buying and -selling process. While setting up a home inspection once you have an offer on your home is an important piece of the puzzle, taking the time to prepare for the inspection can be just as essential. Home sellers who take the time to get ready for the inspection will pave the way for a smoother inspection and, therefore, a smoother transaction. The good news is that preparing your home for inspection doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, as the items that need to be addressed are things that homeowners typically take care of on a recurring basis.

Preparing for a home inspection doesn’t have to be a huge expenditure.  The most important thing to keep in mind is timing.  Taking the time to prepare your home for inspection is crucial for sellers who have an offer on their home, as this signals a pending home inspection, so they know the buyer and inspector are coming to the home.  Once the inspection is scheduled, sellers should plan to spend the week before the appointment getting the home ready.

The home is examined from top to bottom, both inside and out. While the inspector will look at and evaluate more than 1,600 items inside and outside the home, including its systems and structural components, there are numerous small things the seller can do beforehand to make the job easier on everyone involved. The most important items that should be addressed prior to the inspection include:

• Clearing all walkways of debris and obstacles so the inspector can easily move around.
• Providing clear access to the attic hatch, which is oftentimes in a closet, so be sure to clear shelves, etc.
• Replacing dirty furnace filters.
• Making sure all lights and receptacles are operational. This includes changing any burnt-out light bulbs.
• Clearing a path in the basement, whether it’s finished or not, so the inspector can walk around the perimeter of the wall.
• Making sure there is access to any mechanicals, such as the furnace, air conditioner and water heater.

Taking care of the little things, like changing burnt-out light bulbs, is a simple and inexpensive way to eliminate any big suspicions that are totally unnecessary. In addition, paying attention to the items above will enable the inspector to access every part of the home that needs to be addressed in order to thoroughly inspect a home and see if there are any issues that need to be taken care of.

Sellers should also consider printing out paperwork that documents any recent service in order to eliminate any mechanical issues.

As we continue to adapt to the “new normal” and make our way through today’s challenging market, home inspections are becoming more prevalent, whether they’re performed once a potential buyer has made an offer on the home or to lay the groundwork for future negotiations before the home is even listed.

No matter what the economy and housing market look like, there is always a sense of worry among potential buyers in regard to what will be found during the inspection.  However, a little preparation goes a long way toward eliminating that worry from the equation entirely.

Not only will taking the time to prepare your home for an inspection be worth it in the long run, it will give buyers peace of mind while eliminating doubt and suspect.  If a home inspector isn’t able to access a specific area of the home, they’ll have to put a question mark on the inspection report, which causes suspicion in the buyer’s mind; and nine times out of 10, there’s nothing wrong.