Being prepared for your home inspection will make the process much smoother for you, the buyer and the inspector. When an inspector cannot access essential components of the home, it often makes the process take longer and can add to the cost. Lack of preparedness that results in additional trips for the inspector can be costly to the seller and can delay the process or even cause your transaction to fall apart.
The following is a list of items that will help your home inspection move along smoothly:
- Access to Attic: The inspector will need to get into the attic; or at least view the attic from the access opening. If the access panel is in a closet, please remove all personal property (clothing, boxes, etc.), hanging rods, and/or shelving that would prevent the inspector from safely entering the access. If the access panel is secured with nails or screws, please remove these. If a panel is painted shut, the inspector will not try to move the panel as this may damage the painted areas. The inspector will not move personal items nor remove securing screws or nails to gain access to the attic.
- Access to the Crawlspace: The inspector will need to get into the crawl area beneath the structure (if present). If the access hatch is in a closet, please remove all personal property (clothing, boxes, etc.), hanging rods, and/or shelving that would prevent the inspector from safely entering the crawlspace. If the access hatch is secured to the floor with nails or screws, please remove these. If a panel is painted shut, the inspector will not try to move the panel as this may damage the painted areas.
- Electrical Panel: The inspector will be removing the main and sub-panel covers and inspecting the wiring inside. Please move any items that are in front of the panel. NEC code requires a clear area of 3 ft. in front of and 30 inches to both sides of the panels. The main and sub-panel power supply should be turned on. Inspector will not switch breakers on-off (except GFCI).
- Computers: The inspector will be tripping all G.F.C.I. breakers and/or outlets, also sometimes when removing the panel cover, a breaker is accidentally switched off. We recommend that any programs being run be saved and all computers and peripherals shut down.
- Dishwasher, Microwave, and Oven: They will not be operated unless empty. If any appliance is known to be defective, please inform the inspector and it will be deferred for a service technician to evaluate.
- Pets: Please make arrangements to have your pets (including cats) out of the inspector’s way. The inspector will need to look at all sides (in and out) of the house, garage, basement, and closets. Either leave them with a friend/neighbor or kennel them. Inspector will not enter a property if pets are loose. Cats sometimes have a desire for the outdoors and will slip past an inspector when opening and closing doors. Inspector is not responsible for animals that have escaped during an inspection.
- Gas Appliances (Furnaces, Fireplaces and Water Heaters): Please remove all personal items, etc. from in front of the service panels of these appliances so that the inspector can safely inspect them. Have gas turned on to the appliances and pilot lights lit. Inspector will not turn gas valves on-off nor ignite pilot lights.
- Plumbing: Water should be turned on at the main valve and to all plumbing fixtures for the inspection. Water valves will not be turned on-off by the inspector.
- Buyers: Normally the buyer(s) will be present during the inspection. We ask that seller leave the property during the inspection.
- Minor Children: Any children under 18 must have an adult present. Again, for liability purposes, we ask that only the inspector, buyer, and respective real estate agent be at the property during the inspection.
It may also be a good idea to leave notes if there are specific items that are unique and/or unusual about your property (hidden access hatches, specialty items etc.) and contact information for the listing broker and/or the seller in the event of an emergency or questions that can be resolved quickly over the phone.
This list was provided by Matt Waddell of AmeriSpec Home Inspection Services. Thanks Matt!