Many people would love to buy a new construction house or upgrade from the one they are living in right now, but first they have a home they need to sell. Many home sellers quite frequently ask, “What will a home inspector be looking for in my home and how can I be more organized for the home buyer’s inspection?” Informed sellers can make the home inspection process easier and faster, ensuring a more thorough and accurate inspection. They can also alleviate a lot of minor inspection findings by going through their home and fixing things before the inspector finds them and has to report them to the buyer.

Many buyers get nervous when they see a long list of items that the inspector recommends having fixed or looked at, regardless of how easy and cheap they are to fix. Home sellers can significantly shorten the inspector’s list by spending an afternoon going through their home and taking care of several small, yet important items.

Here is a list that may be helpful for you in preparing your house for a home buyer’s inspection. Many of these items can be done at little or no cost and are part of a regular maintenance program for any home. This is not an all-inclusive list, but it’s a good start.

House Exterior:

  • Remove soil or mulch from contact with siding. Six or more inches of clearance are best.
  • Clean out dirty gutters and any debris from the roof.
  • Check to make sure all water from downspouts, sump pump, condensation and basement entry drains is diverted away from the house.
  • Trim trees, roots, and bushes back from the foundation, roof, and siding.
  • Caulk all exterior wall penetrations.
  • Remove any locks from gates and electrical panels.

House Interior:

  • Clean or replace heating and cooling filters; clean dirty air returns and supply registers.
  • Test all smoke detectors to ensure that they are working.
  • Replace any burned out light bulbs.
  • Replace any broken/missing outlet and light switch covers.
  • Ensure all windows and doors open, close, and lock properly.
  • Clean and consider lubricating window tracks on all sliding windows.
  • Ensure ready access to all rooms, attics, and crawlspaces.
  • Clear all furniture, boxes and other personal items that may block access to the furnace, water heater, and electrical panel.
  • If the house is vacant, ensure all utilities are turned on. This includes water, electricity, and gas. Ensure pilot lights are lit on all gas appliances.

Kitchen and Bathrooms

  • Check that all plumbing fixtures such as the toilet, tub, shower, and sinks are in proper working condition. Fix any leaks and caulk around fixtures if necessary.
  • Caulk and gaps around the backsplash in the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Caulk any gaps where tub/shower surround meets the wall or floor.
  • Clean out areas under sinks so they can be properly inspected.
  • Tighten up any loose hinges or handles on all cabinet doors and drawers.
  • Ensure GFCI receptacles are functional.