If you're planning to sell your home, one thing that you need to be ready for is a professional pre-sale home inspection. Usually, these are paid for by the prospective buyer to minimize costly surprises after closing, but you don't want costly surprises that could jeopardize your sale, either!
What does a typical home inspection cover? A professional home inspection covers literally hundreds of different things, from the condition of your home's HVAC system to plumbing and wiring to the condition of the roof to insulation and lots more. There's no way we could discuss all of them, but what we have collected here are some of the biggest items to watch.
The website for the American Society of Home Inspectors has a home maintenance checklist for home sellers that covers pretty much everything inspectors include in reports to home buyers. We've taken a few of the top items from that list and broken them out here.
Obviously, this is good information to have when you're trying to sell your home, but it's even more valuable as a regular maintenance guide, especially for first-time home buyers who may still be learning what goes into maintaining a home.
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems
The overall health of your Olathe heating and cooling system is a top item on any home inspection list, and that's why we're listing it first. You can do lots of little things to help ensure that your home's HVAC system is in good shape, from changing your furnace filters regularly to keeping the area around your furnace and A/C clean and free from debris.
Changing your furnace filter is good for the efficiency of your heating and cooling system, but that's only part of it. A dirty filter is a sure sign of a system that's been neglected, which is a red flag for home inspectors. If your HVAC system hasn't had its bi-annual checkup from Davenport Service Company, it's a good idea to do that before home inspections, too.
Another major item for home inspectors is plumbing. To ensure that all your plumbing is in good shape, run water from all your fixtures and inspect all of your pipes. Look for signs of leaks or water damage, and make sure that your water pressure is adequate throughout the house. Don't forget to check your water heater while you're at it! Clean out cabinets so that the inspector can easily access any under-sink plumbing.
Before the inspection, be sure that all of your lightbulbs are working, and run any ceiling fans. This is also a good time to check that the fuse box is labeled properly. If you have any concerns about your wiring or need any help with electrical issues, it's a good idea to call an electrician rather than handling it yourself.
Kitchens & Bathrooms
All those little things that you've gotten used to after years of living in your house are things that the inspector will definitely notice. If there's a burner on the stove that doesn't work or the dishwasher is giving you problems, those are things to fix before the inspection begins. Test the garbage disposal and check all the drains in sinks, showers, and tubs throughout the house. Even if you don't use them very often, a home inspector is likely to check them. This is also the time to make sure all your drawers and cabinets open and close. That drawer that only opens half-way? Now's the time to fix it.
Exterior of the Home
Check the locks and seals on all your windows. If one of your windows sticks, this is a good time to get it looked at. Check the weather stripping around your doors, and replace it if needed. It's also a good idea to clean up around the outside of the house. This makes the inspector's job easier, and your home will look well taken care of. The inspector will also need to be able to access exterior faucets and electrical outlets.
Roofing & Gutters
You don't necessarily have to get up on your roof, but the inspector probably will. If you don't feel up to it, you can hire a professional to sweep or pressure wash the roof. While they're at it, they can look for missing or damaged shingles, flashing, and fascia, not to mention damage to your chimney.
Keeping your gutters clean of debris is a good idea all year round, especially in the autumn and winter months. While you're cleaning the gutters, keep an eye out for loose or hanging gutters, as well as gutter joints that aren't properly sealed. Finally, make sure that downspouts are doing their job and diverting water away from your foundation.
Basement, Garage, & Crawl Spaces
Obviously, you’ll want to keep an eye out for water in the basement. It's also a good idea to move anything stored in the basement, garage, or attic back from the walls before the home inspector arrives. While you're at it, test all the remotes for your garage door opener. Yeah, you’ll even need to test the one that you never use. If you find that you need to spray for bugs, call in the pest control folks to do the job for you, especially if you think you may have wood-destroying insects like termites.
Keep the Little Things in Mind
From ensuring that you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors—at least one on every level of your home, including the basement—to making sure that the pilot lights are lit, there are plenty of little things around the house that you may want to check before the home inspector arrives. It's also a good idea to trim any low-hanging tree limbs that may be nearby, especially ones that touch your house or are directly over the roof.
As we said earlier, this is all good stuff to do to prepare for a home inspection, but it's even better to do it day in and day out, to keep your home in good shape all year round. If you keep all this in mind and do a little research into what else your specific home may need before the inspector arrives, you should be in good shape.
If you need any help getting your home ready for an inspection—or just keeping your HVAC systems in good working order the rest of the time—you can always call the Olathe heating and cooling pros at Davenport Service Company at 913-441-2222.