Preparing For A Home Inspection

seller and homebuyer house inspection
A homebuyer is advised to have a home inspection in most “Offer To Purchase” documents. A wise seller will prepare the house for home inspections!

10 Things A Seller Should Do Before Having Your Home Inspected

Home sellers should prepare for the likelihood of a home inspection in advance. Moreover, getting your house ready for a home inspection helps to prevent delays and can prevent surprises. Also, a seller doesn’t need a home inspector to break fixtures or cause damage because the seller was ill-prepared.

In South Africa, sellers are required by law to provide full disclosure of the condition of the property. However, buyers usually pay for their home inspection.

Whether you’ve decided to produce a seller’s home inspection report for buyers or expect the buyer’s home inspector to show up for a buyer’s inspection, the best thing is to be well prepared.

 1) Clean the house and swimming pool

Sellers should always try to create a good first impression. Notably, clean homes and pools are an indication of how you maintain the house and property.

Don’t underestimate the importance of making a good impression. Don’t make the mistake of thinking inspectors see past stuff.

2) The Inspector will be on time

You can expect the home inspector to be on time. Therefore, if an inspector makes an appointment with you at 9:30 a.m., have the house ready for inspection at 9 a.m.

Furthermore, sellers leaving a shower or bath and house cleaning until the last minute may delay the start of the inspection. Inspectors are people first and then inspectors. It is not a great idea to create the wrong impression with the inspector before the inspection has even started. 

3) A seller should leave the house with water, electricity and gas connected

The home inspector will need to turn on the stove, test plug points, lights and air conditioning, so leave the electricity and geyser on, especially if the house is vacant. If the electricity is off it’s impossible to check plug points for earthing and reverse polarity or test the earth leakage.

The inspector will also need to inspect for hot water and test the fixtures such as showers, basins, baths, sinks and toilets. Also, have the pool pump running by the time the inspector arrives.

Without these services, the inspector may need to reschedule the inspection. This could delay the closing of your seller’s transaction and the extension of the homebuyer’s home inspection contingency.

Most inspectors will charge a buyer a reinspection fee to make a return trip.

4) Provide workspace around the distribution boards, geysers and trap doors

Remove boxes, bookcases, furniture, and anything else blocking access to your air conditioner, geysers and trap doors. The inspector will need at least 900mm of working space to inspect or enter these items.

Inspectors will not move anything themselves because their Standards Of Practice prohibits this because of the possibility of accidental breakages. Therefore, if there is no access, an inspector might suggest a specialist or defer that portion of the inspection. The homebuyer might then have to spend more money to hire a specialist who may find more things wrong!

5) Keep pilot lights ignited

If your house is provided with a gas supply, leave pilot lights on gas geysers. Home inspectors will refuse to light pilot lights. Shut-down equipment may be defective. Therefore, unlit gas pilot lights may result in important items such as the gas geyser being deferred. This may indicate to the homebuyer that the seller may be hiding a defect!

The homebuyer may delay closing the sale until the inspection of deferred items is complete. Again, the inspector will probably charge the buyer extra to make a return trip.

6) Provide access to roof space and garage

The inspector will need to get into the storeroom and basement if you have one and into the roof space (area above the ceiling). Therefore, keep doors and trap doors unlocked. Move all boxes and stored items away from the walls by at least 600mm.

7) A seller should provide all remotes and keys for the house

Leave remote controls for your air conditioners and garage door openers. Unlock the covers of the distribution board (electrical box). Leave a key in the door for exterior building access. Alternatively, you can label these keys and remotes and leave them on a kitchen counter.

8) Clear away garden rubbish

Cut down dead tree branches and clear brush and long grass from the walls of the house, boundary walls and move rubbish bins away from the house.

9) As a seller, you should provide all invoices for repairs, available certificates of compliance and approved drawings

Make available to the home inspector all invoices and documents regarding remodelling projects or new items such as a roof or geyser. If you’ve upgraded the electrical system or had a geyser replaced, provide the paperwork. A seller advising the homebuyer about upgraded or repaired items will give the homebuyer peace of mind.

10) A seller should prepare to be away from the house

Often the homebuyer will accompany the home inspector, and buyers feel uncomfortable asking questions if the seller is present. Therefore, try to schedule a time for the inspection when you can be out of the house, and take the children with you. Also, put your pets in kennels for the day if you cannot remove them from the premises for a few hours.

Many inspections can take up to 4 hours or more to complete.

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