We have compiled a checklist of some items to help home sellers prepare for a successful inspection. Although inspections are not pass or fail, this is a representation of common write-ups or problem items. Completion of the items listed below will help facilitate a smooth inspection process.
It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list and there will be additional items evaluated and additional issues found. The inspector will not change light bulbs, turn on valves, light pilot lights, move furniture, stored belongings, obstructions, or floor coverings, or remove panels to inspect any part of the building or its equipment. Any areas or items not functional or accessible may result in a return trip which creates additional time and cost for all parties involved.
We always recommended obtaining a full pre-listing inspection so the homeowner will have a full picture of their home’s condition prior to selling.
To download this checklist as an easy-to-use PDF document, click here.
- Expect the inspection to take around 2-3 hours for an average size home.
- The inspector may arrive early to the inspection to get a head start on the exterior.
- Allow the inspector to work without interruption. Having the seller asking questions, questioning methods, or attempting repairs is not productive.
- Verify all utilities will be on at the time of inspection. We can’t do much without water, gas, or electricity.
- Provide keys or unlock sheds, outbuildings, or other secured areas
- Provide access for us to open and evaluate the furnace, water heater and electrical panel.
- Remove pets from the property. We cannot work safely with distractions and cannot be responsible for animals that escape.
- If a radon test is being performed, equipment will be left in your home for at least 48 hours with some additional directions. We will often deploy a test several days before an inspection if the schedule allows.
Kitchens and Bathrooms
- Clear out all storage items from the oven/microwave and beneath sinks.
- Verify and/or install anti-tip bracket on stove (considered a safety item).
- Clear the kitchen sink of dishes.
- Fill all sinks basins, drain and check for leaks.
- Check all faucets for leaks and make sure hot is on the left and cold on the right.
- Run the dishwasher and check for leaks. It should be secured to the counter or cabinets.
- Check the garbage disposal for operation and absence of leaks.
- Check all cabinet doors and drawers for rubbing, loose hardware and proper operation.
- Check all burners/elements on cooktops/ranges/ovens for proper operation.
- Check countertop/backsplash for damage or missing caulk.
- Check for loose, cracked tiles, missing grout. Also check for water staining if wood or laminate flooring.
- Check toilets for cracks, looseness, proper flushing and presence of shutoff valve. Look for any leaks.
- Check all faucets for adequate pressure and flow with more than one fixture on.
- Check laundry connections for leaking and corrosion.
- Place all fragile, antique, and other valuable items out of the way.
- Install a new HVAC filter. It will be considered as a part of the overall condition. An HVAC unit has a life expectancy of about 20 years.
- Replace all worn/damaged weather stripping on exterior doors.
- Ensure that windows are accessible & operate smoothly. Remove window security screws or provide keys for window security locks.
- Check all windows for possible bad seals on insulated glass and or cracked glazing.
- Check all doors for rubbing/sticking and locking/closing including loose hardware.
- Check ceilings, walls and doors for holes/nail-pops or cracks. Simple cosmetic issues can scare some buyers.
- Check fireplace damper for operation, the firebox for cracks, and the flue for creosote built up. Consider having fireplaces and chimneys professionally cleaned and inspected.
- Check ceiling fans to make sure they operate without excessive noise or wobbling.
- Make sure all interior light fixtures work. A simple burnt-out bulb may be noted as a non-working fixture.
- Consider getting carpet cleaned and re-stretched if needed. This can be a big turn-off.
- Check for cracked, broken floor tiles or trip hazards.
- Clear the way to the attic access panel or pull down and crawl space, especially if they are accessed via a closet. The inspector will enter every attic and crawl space.
- Check the water heater for leaks or corrosion. Water heaters typically last 10-12 years max.
- Check all electrical receptacles (a basic tester is about $15) to make sure they are secure, properly wired, and have a cover plate.
- Check for tripped or missing breakers in the electrical panel.
- GFCI’s should be installed and operational (tested) at all locations within six feet of water (kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, garage, outside).
- If they are hard to find, leave a note as to where the GFCI resets are located.
- Leave a note if there are any items that aren’t operable, restricted due to privacy, and if they should not be accessed or tested.
- Be sure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed per manufacturers specifications and local laws.
- Have gas valves on and pilot lights lit on the water heater, furnace, fireplace and stove.
- Make sure gutters are clear of debris and that downspouts have extensions that carry water at least six feet away.
- Fix any loose shingles, nail pops, or other roof issues. If your roof is more than 15 years old have a roofer evaluate its condition.
- Check for window well covers and verify the window wells are free of debris.
- Check wood trim for softness/rot and caulk/repair as needed.
- Check all steps for loose bricks or wood and replace or secure them.
- Make sure all hand/guard rails and deck boards are solid and secure.
- Check and re-secure any fallen insulation in the crawlspace.
- Check for loose or leaking hose faucets. Hose bibs should be shut off and drained during the winter season.
- Ensure there are anti-siphon devices installed on all exterior hose faucets.
- Any stored items (like firewood) should be moved away from the structure.
- Make sure all exterior light fixtures work. A simple burnt-out bulb may be noted as a non-working fixture.
- Repair or replace all damaged window screens.
- Adjust the garage door sensitivity to allow the door to reverse when an object is in the way.
- Make sure the garage door sensors are installed no more than 6” above the floor at the garage door.
- Move stored items away from the garage walls so the inspector can view the foundation.
- Check for damaged drywall, holes, cracks between the garage and living space to ensure proper fire rating.
- Check for loose electrical outlets and extension cord/handyman wiring.