Getting your home ready for a home inspection

Your home is usually your largest asset. A buyer’s agent will use an inspection report to re-negoicate the terms of the contract. With a little preparation you can avoid further negotiations (price reductions and repair credits) or “deal breakers”.

In most cases cosmetic issues and normal wear and tear usually don’t have to be fixed. That doesn’t mean the buyer won’t want a paint credit to cover a purple wall :).
That said, there are issues that come up that involve structural defects, building code violations, or safety issues. These are issues that can impair or make financing on your home conditional on repairs. As a seller you don’t have to complete any repairs or offer credits in lieu of repairs but keep in mind that it’s always better to negotiate. If your current buyer has a problem with it, you will most likely have issues with other future buyers. If your contract is cancelled and you have been given a copy of the inspection report, you must disclosure this inspection report to future buyers. 
Below you will find the most common items that come up during an inspection report. Keep in mind that every home is different and this is not an all encompassing list but it’s a great starting point. For more info on a home inspection
When preparing your home for sale keep in mind: Repair, Replace or Remove
  • Repair when ever possible. It will usually cost you less to repair in advance than it will after inspection.
  • Replace if it’s a necessary component of the home (such as roof shingles)
  • Remove if broken and not a necesary home’s component (example: a non functioning ceiling fan)
1. Plumbing
Major issues will include plumbing leaks under the foundation. This issue will require a plumber to find the leak with a camera then they have to dig a trench under the slab foundation to repair the leak. This is very costly and can be a deal breaker for most buyers. More info on slab leaks
Other issues include:
Leaks – If it’s leaking, fix it. This is usually a cheap fix that can be more costly after an inspection. Remember to address any water damaged caused by these leaks.
Water Pressure – A home inspector will check water pressure by turning on multiple faucets and flushing toilets at the same time.
Backed-up lines – does water flow well down the drains? A home inspector will fill up the sinks and bath tub and then release the water. Slow draining water in sinks and bathtubs usually means there is a clog somewhere. If the water is slow to drain, have the drain checked. There might be a backup
2. Electrical
Serious electrical issues on a home inspection report can include things like faulty wiring, old wiring, bad junction box connections, spliced wiring, and defective electrical panels. If you think there is an issue in these areas, it’s best to have an electrician check them out.
Electrical codes change constantly so you won’t be able to avoid all issues. Before listing your home check to see if all electrical outlets are working. Replace burned out light bulbs. Replace non-working light fixtures. Do you have GFCI outlets in wet areas?
We can not live without air conditioning in the Houston metro area. During a home inspection, the inspector will visually check the units and the furnace.  Common issues will be rusted pans, clogged drain lines, not enough walkway space to and around the units, dirty filters and temperature differential (Large gaps in temperature differential can signal a potentially major problem to the HVAC system).
I’d recommend to have your HVAC serviced before listing the home. Almost every inspector will request that the HVAC system be serviced. Might as well do it in advance.
4. Foundation
Most homes in the Houston metro area are on pier and beam or the slab (concrete) foundation. Most homes in our area will have foundation issues at some point. Most of the soil in Houston has a high content of clay, which is usually very sensitive to moisture fluctuations. Water will make the soil expand and drought will make the soil contract. The contraction and expansion in the soil under a home causes the house to settle, shift, crack and potentially move.
Concrete does not give much without breaking. Signs of potential foundation issues: sloping floors, difficulty opening and closing windows, doors not latching properly, separation of brick from the home, large sections of missing mortar from the brick, etc. If you are concerned, let’s chat about your options.
One thing you can address that shows up in every report is grading. The soil (mulch/rock) around your foundation should slope away from your foundation not towards. A slope away from the foundation will allow water to flow away from the foundation and not pool along the foundation. The concrete foundation should not be completely covered by soil, mulch or rock. More info
5. Roofing
A roof can be a major issue and could deter financing. Certain loans will require that the roof have a certain number of years life left in it. Redflags:
  • Evidence of prior leaks. The decking is the plywood layer of roofing to which the felt and shingles are attached.  You (and your inspector) can visually inspect the decking from the attic where the underside of the plywood will be exposed.  Large water spots, dark areas, and rotted plywood will be evidence of a prior leak.
  • Missing Shingles. The inspector should physically climb onto the roof and “walk it” to inspect its condition or they will position a ladder close to the roof to visually inspect the roof with binoculars.
  • Loose or missing nails on shingles
Other smaller red flags:
  • Caulking: Caulk every area that should be caulked. Around windows (inside and out), tubs, sinks, showers, counters and backsplashes.
  • Foggy windows. Double pane windows have a gas within the two panes. This gas with time will escape and cause condensation within the two panes. For more info
  • Sprinklers: Run your sprinkler system and adjust or repair any broken sprinkler head.
  • Wood rot in the exterior of your home. This problem is best to remedy before you put the home on the market. There are types of loans that will not permit financing until this is repaired.
  • Exhaust fans: In the past builders would vent the exhaust fans into the attic. New codes don’t allow this because in theory the exhaust fans could be pumping moisture into the attic.
  • Window: Missing screens, windows that will not open or close properly. The windows must open for safety.
  • Chimney: is it gas fireplace? does it work? Do you need a key to turn on the gas? Do you have the key?
  • Doorbells: Does it work?
  • Water heater: The T&P values on your water heater are recommended to be changed every 3 years. For more info on this
  • Appliances: The stove, dishwasher, microwave and range typically stay with the home unless it’s excluded. Do they work?
  • Pests: do you have pests? I would recommend you treat your home before putting it on the market. Check for termites. This can be a big expense to treat. For more info