February 18, 2020

Sellers… Are You Ready For That Home Inspection?

Your Orlando / Central Florida home is under contract. Now you get to wait (and possibly worry) until the home inspection and appraisal are complete.
Are you ready for that home inspection?  If you’re like most homeowners, the answer could be “No.”
Even if your home is sparkling clean, it may not offer access to everything the home inspector needs to see. Since home inspectors do NOT move furnishings or go in search of access, that could result in an inspection report with items listed as “not tested” or “unable to access/not inspected.”
Then what? The buyers could disappear, or you could be asked to pay for a second inspection since you did not provide sufficient access. Neither is an attractive option.
The common trouble spot is access to the attic and crawl space. Attic access may be hidden in a closet or located in a garage above a storage space where access is impossible until stored items are moved.
The crawl space access might be beneath stairs or under the carpet. It could even be under a dresser or a washing machine. It could also be outside the house, via a door in the foundation.
If the inspector doesn’t know where to find these access spots, or if they are blocked by furniture, boxes, etc. they won’t be inspected. And, as you might assume, attics and crawl spaces can be the source of problems ranging from mold, to termites, to water damage, to structural problems. The inspector needs to see them.
So be sure to let the inspector know where to find access, then remove all obstacles to getting there.
Access is just the beginning. If the crawl space or attic is crammed full of stored items, the inspector still might not be able to do a complete job, so be sure to remove excess “stuff” before the inspection.
Next, move any furniture or obstruction away from radiators, heating elements, heating vents, air conditioning vents, water heaters, breaker boxes, electrical panels, and electrical outlets. (Yes, he or she will test each outlet.) Replace all burned-out light bulbs so the inspector can see that those fixtures are in working order.
Now get to work on the kitchen and bathrooms. You might want to bring in some sturdy boxes, for this, because you need to remove everything from under the sinks and the top of toilet tank lids.
Empty the fireplace of everything but faux gas logs. Empty the dishwasher. If the kitchen range and/or the washer and dryer are staying, empty them as well.
Trim shrubbery and other plants away from hose bibs, dryer vents, the air conditioner, and outdoor lighting and electrical outlets.
Move all vehicles out of the garage.
Have all keys and codes available so the inspector will have easy access to the entire house – inside and out.
Before you leave your Orlando / Central Florida home for the inspection:

  • Turn off your computer. The inspector may be turning the power on and off, and that could cause data loss or damage.
  • Put your pets in the car with you, or in kennel cages.

If you’ve already moved out:
Be sure that the utilities are turned on and pilot lights are burning.
If your appliances use propane or fuel oil, be sure there is enough in the tanks to keep things running during the inspection.
A bonus for you: Since you’ll be moving soon, look at the things you’ve moved for the inspection with an eye toward putting them in storage or packing them in boxes for the move right now. You’ll be one small step ahead when it comes time for the move.

Cathy Starkweather