Maybe you're listing the house and want a pre-inspection, maybe the buyer has scheduled there’s, or maybe you’re just trying to use one of the many ancillary services we offer; whatever the case take the time to prepare your house for the inspection. There’s many things that can get in the way of an inspection addressing these issues can save a lot of heartache on both ends for the buyer and seller.
Put the animals up. This should be fairly obvious but it’s amazing how many people put the dog in the back yard and don't realize the inspector needs to go back there. No area of your house is going to be off limits for the inspection and it’s important that the inspector be able to access everything because they will (or at least they should).
Granted the lizards and fish aren't usually an issue unless a large tank is blocking a specific area that the inspector needs access to, and for the most part cats aren't too bad but some can still bite and claw. But dogs are the main worry here and even ones that have never bit anyone should be put up because at the least they will be curious to the intruder and slow the inspection. More then that as a dog lover I have to try and be understanding that not everyone that comes to my house thinks my shepherd is as adorable as I do.
Multi inspection firms can have a company policy that their inspectors cannot access areas that have animals. This is for several reasons, 1st it opens the home owner up to a law suit from the individual which is bad for business. (believe me a good business owner doesn't want to be involved in a suit even if they are in the right because it is simply bad for business). 2nd If the employee gets injured it becomes a workmans comp claim and that employee could potentially sue the company which is obviously not desirable. Remember too that even not being aggressive dogs can scratch and nip when they get excited which can lead to infections. Save the inspector a headache and save yourself any liability from a vicious dog.
Clean your house. A dirty house hides issues, or makes the appearance to the buyer that you are hiding issues, it also can make things impossible to inspect because you have a mound of debris in the way. In which case that inspector will snap a picture and record it, that buyer may then ask the inspector to come back out and charge the sellers the re-inspection fee.
You’re moving anyways so your realtor should tell you to make the house presentable. Inspections are tedious and adding in additional obstacles only slows it down. If things are really bad they will get reported on the inspection report and can cause you to pay in the end. Animals inside with urine and feces on the carpet can and will be reported on the inspection as unhealthy living conditions and could force you to purchase new carpet. However, if you had paid a professional cleaning service to take care of it then you would have saved a significant amount of money.
Make sure your appliances are viewable. Insulating blankets on hot water heaters need to be removed. Sometimes they cannot be taken off without the inspector cutting them off, which is not allowed because you do not have the sellers permission to do it. I’ve been asked numerous times by buyers if I can cut it off and unfortunately I have to tell them “No” because it is not yet their house.
On that same note, ensure that if it’s in a closet or behind a piece of drywall the cover needs to be removed so nothing is damaged upon removal. For that reason the inspector may or may not do it (typically not supposed to though I’ve made the exception if I think I can do it without damaging anything).
Please clean the clothes around the laundry room. I get it everyone lets the laundry area take the hit for the mess in the house, but unfortunately that is one room that really can't be inaccessible during the inspection. The inspector will check the vent, plumbing fixtures, etc. and cannot have a bunch of dirty clothes blocking the area.
Turn it ON. Power, water and all appliances should be turned on! I cannot stress this enough, I’ve come across so many houses that did not have the water turned on and it is a huge liability for the inspector to turn it on. If there is a leak in the line and water damage occurs the inspection firm is liable and most licensing organizations prohibit the act regardless. Funny enough the same holds true with the shut off valves below toilets and sinks so make sure those are on too.
Power may not seem like as large of an issue but when power is off turning it on could create a fire hazard and the inspector may not feel comfortable powering it up. Bottom line it’s his or her safety and reputation on the line so it’s not your call as the buyer and that can be very frustrating.
Make sure the appliances are all turned on and running. Some houses have kill switches for certain appliances which can cause them to not respond and the inspector may not see the switch in which case the inspector will note it as not functioning. Inspectors are trained in building science not locating hidden switches, each house is different and only the home owner will know those details.
In a nutshell that’s it. There’s other little things we run across that aren't so common but in reality this covers the basics and the common issues. Bottom line up front is prepare your house as if you are having a dinner party. Keep it clean and tidy and ensure everything is function and the pets are put away.
I am a United States Army Veteran with over 10 years construction experience prior to my service. After my time in the military I enrolled in InterNACHI's rigorous course work to become a certified member and prepare for the National Home Inspectors Exam. I continue to push inspection courses and education, attaining and exceeding the required continuing education courses