Rules for home inspection
My home is under contract and the potential purchasers of my home are going to have a home inspection performed. What do I need to do to prepare my house for the inspection?
A home inspection is a visible, non-intrusive review of all accessible areas and major systems of the home as they appear at the time of the inspection.
As part of a home inspection, the inspector is not permitted to perform any destructive testing and typically does not move all of the furniture or personal items in the home. Therefore, it’s important to remember to limit the amounts of personal storage which can limit the inspector’s review of the home. The inspector can’t report on what he or she can’t see and has to report those limitations to the potential purchasers.
The prospective purchasers may feel uncomfortable and less confident when there are too many limitations. To avoid this potential problem, it’s recommended that the home be prepared so that it is tidy and free of unnecessary storage during the inspection.
Areas that need to be fully accessible for the inspection are the attic, the major systems, and the basement walls and floor. The inspector will have to enter the attic space to inspect insulation levels, ventilation, signs of leaking, among other items. If the attic hatch is in a closet, storage or shelving, it should ideally be cleared so that convenient access is available.
The major systems in the home are an integral part of the inspection and also should be made readily accessible. For example, the area around the furnace and water heater should be cleared to provide access for inspection, as should the areas below the sinks.
If the electrical panel or main water shut off valve has been concealed, be sure to leave a note indicating their exact locations. The electrical panel cover will be removed by the inspector to check the wiring conditions, so there should be adequate space around the panel.
The exterior basement walls also are an extremely important part of the inspection process. They are inspected for signs of past water leakage, signs of cracking, and to determine the general condition of the foundation. Any boxes or personal storage in the basement should ideally be moved away from the walls and temporarily relocated to provide convenient access for inspection.
If you have pets that are free in the house and are not allowed outside, leave a note informing the inspector of this. If the property has been “winterized” and the home’s water supply or electrical service has been disconnected, those services should be restored prior to the inspection. If documentation is available for recent upgrades or repairs, including warranties, it should be provided for the prospective purchaser to review. If there are obvious defects or damage, an explanation should be provided.
Lastly, if Radon testing is being conducted, it is important to remember to close all windows and doors 12 to 24 hours prior to testing. All the windows and doors will have to remain closed during the 48-hour testing period. However, you will not have to vacate your home as normal coming and going is acceptable.
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