Reuben's Home Inspection Blog


Preparing Your Home For The Inspection

Home inspections can be a major source of stress for sellers.  If you want to make the home inspection go better, the easiest and most obvious thing is to hire an inspector to go through the house before the buyers have it inspected.  This is a seller's inspection.  If you don't want to have this done, there are still a few simple things you can do to make the buyer's inspection go better.  This advice also applies to Truth-in-Housing Inspections.

Change the furnace filter.  This is the simplest no-brainer.  When I inspect a house and find a nasty furnace filter, I'll often recommend having the furnace and ductwork cleaned.  A dirty filter also shows a lack of maintenance and care for the home, and can make first-time home buyers nervous.

Dirty furnace filter

Fix electrical hazards.  This seems like an easy one, but it's a very common problem that sometimes has easy fixes. Any extension cords that are being used in lieu of permanent wiring should be removed, and outlets installed if necessary.  The two most common places are for garage door openers and water softeners.  Also, go through the home and look for missing cover plates - look at outlets, light switches, and junction boxes.  Here are the most common places to find missing cover plates:

  • The garage, especially at the outlet for the opener
  • The kitchen - behind the fridge, behind the stove, above the microwave, and under the kitchen sink.
  • In the laundry room
  • Unfinished basement areas

Unsafe electrical wiring 

Fix plumbing leaks.  This should be another no-brainer, but to be sure, go through the home and test all of the plumbing fixtures for leaks.  Repair or replace the laundry sink faucet if it leaks around the stem or the handles.  Fill up every sink with four inches of water, let it drain, and carefully examine the drain lines for any leaks. 

Leaking laundry sink

Test the garage door opener.  Place a 2x4 flat on the ground and let the overhead door close on it.  If the door goes back up, it's working the way it should.  If it doesn't, adjust the sensitivity settings on the opener so it auto-reverses when it hits the 2x4.  If you can't get this happen, replace the opener.  Warning: this test could cause damage to the opener, and some home inspectors won't do this test.

Defective garage door opener

Check the gutters and downspouts.  Clean the gutters, and repair any leaking joints.  Make sure all of the downspout extensions are properly connected, and make sure they drain well away from the house - six to ten feet is ideal.

Leaking gutter

Make everything accessible. If the attic access is in a closet, move whatever personal belongings you have that would prevent access to the attic.  If there is a crawl space, make sure that area is accessible as well.  If it looks like items have been stored to intentionally block access to an area, it raises red flags.  I'll try twice as hard to get at an area if it looks like someone tried to block access to it.

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections - Email - Minneapolis Home Inspections

RELATED POST: Sellers Inspections


Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections


Comment balloon 4 commentsReuben Saltzman • March 02 2009 06:29AM


Good post, and I agree with everything except testing the garage door. The average home owner really only cares if it goes up and down when they push the button. 

To me, to risk damaging a door is just not worth it. There are many garage door openers installed that were made prior to the reversing feature being added, let alone the sensors. Some of those light weight doors could be damaged if tested with a block of wood.

While we as inspectors may suggest to the buyer's of the house they upgrade to a modern opener, it isn't a requirement. 

Posted by Jack Feldmann (Clayton Inspection Service, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Jack - I agree with your comment about what the average home owner really cares about.  However... the reason I test the auto-reverse function is to keep a child from getting trapped under the door.  If it fails this test, I call it a safety hazard and I tell the buyers to repair or replace the opener.  Any opener made before the auto-reverse feature was added is an unsafe dinosaur that is well past the end of it's life expectancy.

Thanks for reading!

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 11 years ago

I wish folks would prepare their home for the inspection but I finally stopped as I was just wasting my time.   I'm lucky if I catch them home so I can ask them to move furniture or stuff in order to get to things.   By the way mam, would you mind taking that nasty wash cloth off the shower control so I can operate it?

Posted by Hank Spinnler, Atlanta Home Inspector (Harmony Home Inspection Services of GA) over 11 years ago

And replace all those burned out light bulbs. A bulb that isn't working could usually means that it's burned out, but it can also mean a bad light socket, a bad light switch, or wiring problems between the two. A light bulb that shines brightly when the switch is flicked creates fewer items in the home inspection report.

Posted by Jim Frimmer, Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist (HomeSmart Realty West) over 11 years ago