When selling your home, it is strongly advised to have an inspection before there is an exchange of property ownership. This is to ensure that the home is safe to live in and that buyers are protected from buying houses with problems that they are not aware of.
A standard home inspection usually takes between two and four hours depending on the size of the home and after the inspection the inspector will send the client a report with photographs of problem areas.
According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) a home inspection ‘is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation’.
Based on the home inspector’s report, the buyer may want to renegotiate the original sales price or the buyer may insist that certain action be taken by the seller to fix any problems that the inspector has listed, before the sale closes escrow.Here are some things that you as a seller can do to facilitate a smooth home inspection.
Besides being a good tip for staging your home, replacing all light bulbs inside and outside your house will make the home inspector’s job easier and it will alert you to any potential problems with your wiring. If a new bulb doesn’t work, test it in another fitting. If it works in the second fitting but not the first, there may be an electrical problem that will need to be fixed by a qualified electrician.
3. Look for leaks and water damage
A home inspector will check for leaks or signs of water damage, so it makes sense to get these issues repaired before the inspection. When looking for water damage, check for signs of warping, buckling or sagging on the walls, floors and ceilings and remember to check the outside of the house too.
4. Check for mold
Mold can be a recurring problem in bathrooms that are not well ventilated or in rooms on the shady side of the house. Mold can be a health hazard and not only could your home inspector refer you to a mold specialist but it may be off-putting to buyers too.
5. Get rid of pests
Here is a list of criterion that a general home inspector will review, according to the ASHI
- Heating system
- Central air conditioning system (temperature permitting)
- Interior plumbing
- Electrical systems
- Attic, including visible insulation
- Windows and doors
- Basement (if any)
- Structural components
If the home has a swimming pool or spa the home inspector will also check for leaks or damage and note the age of the system.
Home inspectors in California are not currently required to obtain a home inspector license, however they are regulated by a trade practice act. A good realtor should be able to recommend a trustworthy, qualified home inspector in your area.
Besides the standard home inspection buyers can request a number of other inspections such as a sewer line inspection by a licensed plumber, a chimney inspector, or soil technician.