The pass/fail system of a home inspection is not really true – a house can’t fail inspection. A house might need lots and lots and lots of repairs, but it doesn’t fail. However, if a trustworthy inspector hands you a report that details all those repairs, you’ve got some work on your hands.
Instead of that scenario, get out your flashlight and take a look around your home, doing a “pre-inspection.” It might be worth it to hire your own house inspector before it goes on the market, if you feel it might benefit. For example, do you live in an older home?
But even before that, you’ll need to take a walk around your home with an inspector’s hat, a flashlight on, and see what needs fixing:
- Make sure plumbing is in good condition. Problems with plumbing usually rear their heads in two ways: a clog or a leak, and both are obvious to locate. But a home inspector will delve a little deeper. To check water pressure, he’ll turn on all faucets in the highest bathroom and flush the toilet at the same time. Then he’ll listen. If he hears the sound of running water, it may indicate that the pipes are undersized. If the water appears dirty when first turned on, it could be a sign that the pipes are rusting, and, no shocker here, water quality problems can result from that—a definite red flag for a buyer.
- Get rid of clutter for the home inspection.
Any clutter under sinks or in front of an electrical panel will have to be cleared away by home inspection time. Along those same lines, everything should be cleared out of the dryer, washer and dishwasher. Home inspectors will need to run all these machines during the inspection. Do all your machines work well? The home inspector is paid to make sure they do.
- Basement. Is yours smelling of mold? Use a dehumidifier. Do your walls have a white, powdery mineral deposit a few inches off the floor? Hm. Anything that has an odor or creates a mineral deposit needs a professional. Hire a pro to give you an assessment of your basement and some good advice on what to do. Maybe you need to add a sump pump? Is there a crack around the basement foundation? Find out. As with any place in your home, keep good documentation for all repairs done.
- How old is your heater? A home inspector will be looking to see if it has life left. Has it gone way past the traditional lifespan of 15-25 years? Know that the buyers will be given advice about this. You may want to bring in your selling agent at this point, who probably will give you advice to buy a new heater. A new big ticket item, like a heater (or a roof), will entice a buyer, and your real estate agent knows that.
- Speaking of the Roof. Let’s say you never had an ice dam, ever. Perfect! Then pull down those attic steps and head up there with a flashlight. Look for wet spots and leakage. How old is your roof? That old? Is there a second layer of shingle down? No? You might want to consider adding a second layer. It’ll extend the life of your roof and make selling your home that much easier. Remember, big ticket items are what woo a buyer, and you’ve got to sell. Still not thinking of getting your own home inspector? Keep in mind that your own home inspector will let you know about things like: problems with ventilation and insulation, which create vapor barriers that cause water, moisture, mold and mildew to form. This can lead to premature wear of the roof, structure and building materials. But sounds like you’ve been taking care of roof since you moved in, since you didn’t spot any leaks or water damage. Phew. You should be okay then.