I sold my home and now the inspection is coming up what should I do?

Written by Posted On Friday, 27 June 2014 13:24

One of the big things that sellers sweat is the home inspection. What will the inspector find that is wrong with my home? Don’t just sweat it, be aware of what the inspector will be looking at and for and do some things to help make it go more smoothly. You should actually be hoping that you get a good, competent inspector, one that is thorough and honest. That is good for both you and the buyers. 


Many sellers think all they have to do is leave during the inspection and that is their role. While it is recommended by most Realtors that the home owners leave during the inspection, there are some things that you can do to be ready for your home inspection and make it go more smoothly:


Clear out the closets that have the attic access scuttles in them. The inspector will need to get into the attic spaces. Please note that some attic insulation may fall out through the scuttle during this process. The inspector will normally try to clean it all up, but that is one of the reasons that they ask that you clear out the closet – so that the insulation doesn’t get on your clothes or stuff.


If a Radon test is to be part of the inspection, leave the windows in the basement closed for 2-3 days before the test. The Radon test equipment will be placed in the basement and will need to be there for at least 48 hours, maybe 72 hours, in order to collect enough data for the test. The inspector will need to come back to pick up his equipment.


Make sure that the mechanicals (HVAC and water heater) are accessible. The inspector will run the heating and cooling systems and they will inspect the hot water heater too. The electrical service panel needs to be accessible too. The water softener will also likely be cycled during the inspection to make sure that it is working properly.


Make sure that all appliances that are staying are plugged in and working. The inspector may cycle the dishwasher and try all burners and the oven on the stove. He will run the microwave and will check the ice maker in the refrigerator. If there are other appliances, like a trash compactor, he will cycle that, too. A good inspector will be able to give the buyer a report on the condition and operation of all appliances.


Make sure the that the garage door openers work and hopefully the safeties on them are set correctly. The inspector will check to see if something breaking the safety beam causes the door to stop closing and if pressure on the door that might indicate that it has hit something (or someone) makes it stop, too. Improperly installed or adjusted garage doors kill people every years.


If the inspector will be doing well and septic tests Identify and mark the septic tank cleanout location or dig down to it to expose the top. The septic inspector will need to open the septic tank. For the well they be pressure testing the bladder tank (holding tank) to make sure that the pressure bladder is not ruptured. They will also take a water sample which in Michigan will be sent to the County Health Department for analysis.


Other things to be aware of that will be checked by a good inspector -


Usually all faucets will be run, all toilets flushed and the sinks and tubs will be filled and then drained to test the plumbing for leaks or other problems


All windows may be opened and closed to see if they are stuck or working properly


The inspector will get on the roof and inspect it and all valleys and flashing, especially around any chimney.


In the basement the inspector will be looking for cracks that might indicate excessive foundation settling or problems and any signs of water intrusion. If you have obvious cracks or stains that indicate water issues, you may wish to leave some explanation for the inspector and proof of any repair/water proofing work that has been done.


While as fire will not be built; if there is a fireplace, the inspector will look up the chimney and/or check the damper (if any). If there is a wood burning insert or wood-burning system installed the inspector will look at it to see if he can see any defects or installation mistakes. Would you be surprised that many of these DIY wood burner installations are done wrong and pose a safety hazard?


Keep in mind that a good inspector will look under and behind things, so don’t try to cover up a problem by sliding a piece of furniture in front of it.


The home inspection doesn’t have to be scary for either the seller or the buyer. The reason that I said above that you should be hoping for a good, thorough inspector in that a good inspector will explain things to the buyers as he goes along and give them his opinion on whether what he is reporting is a minor or major problem. He may also offer the buyers some advice as to the potential cost of dealing with the issue (again major cost or minor). A good inspector will report what he finds without causing undue alarm on the part of the buyers. About 95% of the issues that an inspector might find are usually minor and involve delayed maintenance or improper installation or maintenance. Most are things that can be fixed or resolved for a few hundred dollars or less. The buyers will definitely get back to you for relief on the ones costing thousands.


So, why do Realtors ask yo to leave during the inspection? There are a couple of reasons:


1. Homeowners can tend to be overly defensive and argumentative with the inspector if they are there listening to him as he goes along. That sets a bad tome with the inspector and the buyers.


2. Some homeowners are “overly helpful”, pointing out defects that they know about that the inspector might have overlooked or wouldn’t otherwise have found. If the homeowner has been honest on reporting what he knows about the home on the Seller’s Disclosure, there is no need for him to go above and beyond that report to point out everything.


And, 3. Sellers tend to get in the way as they follow the inspector around. 


So get the house ready for the inspection and then get out of the way. You’ll have your chance to argue the points in the report later.


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Norm Werner

Norm Werner is a Realtor at the Milford office of Real Estate One serving the southeastern Michigan area of Oakland and Livingston Counties. Norm specializes in residential real estate. Norm lives and works in Milford Michigan and is married to Carolyn Werner. Norm and Carolyn live in a historic home just three blocks from downtown Milford, with their two dogs - Sadie and Skippy. Norm specializes in the historic homes of Milford and the surrounding area and is on the Board of Directors of the Milford Historical Society. Norm especially enjoys working with first time buyers and those at the other end of the real estate spectrum who are downsizing into their retirement home. 

In addition to his Movetomilford.com web site, Norm also owns and m,aintains TheMilfordTeam.com web site, the HuronValleyRealtor.com web site. He is also the webmaster for and the MilfordHistory.org web site and the MilfordCar Show.com web site, as well as his church web site - Spiritdrivenchurch.com. In addition to blogging about real eastate, Norm has a personal blog - NormsMilfordBlog.com - on which he shares inspirational messages and the occasions personal observation about life. 


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