Investors have enough to worry about without having to wonder if their property will pass inspection. Anyone familiar with the nature of real estate investing knows the amount of work that goes into flipping a home for profits. It just so happens that the inspection process is a necessity and therefore must be addressed. However, there are several steps that can be taken to prepare your home for inspection and reduce the occurrence of any discrepancies that may occur further down the road. A proactive approach to your home inspection can make the closing process much easier and prevent you from potentially losing a deal.
There are several steps that can be taken to make the home inspection process a lot easier. According to John Fryer, owner of Fryer Consulting, a home inspection company in Oakland, CA, “Whatever is wrong with your house will be found out anyway… If you disclose [problems] in advance and provide potential buyers with an inspector’s report, it can go a long way to diffuse anxiety and help the transaction go through.”
The following is a comprehensive list of the steps you can take before you hire a home inspector:
As perhaps the simplest step towards passing a home inspection, owners are advised to remove clutter. Basic cleaning will allow inspectors to view areas with little intrusion. This includes the space under your sinks and anywhere else an inspector may need to venture. With odds and ends out of the picture, it is much easier to conduct an inspection.
“It’s frustrating not to have good access to electric panels, so move your boxes or your clothes or other belongings out of the way so the inspector can get to it,” says Fryer. “We also need access to your heating and cooling system, any place with mechanical equipment, so move anything that blocks that access.”
Empty Your Appliances
Tip two is rather simple, yet often overlooked. Be sure to empty any appliances that may need to be turned on prior to an inspection. This includes the washing machine, dryer, dishwasher or stove. Not only is it polite to the respective inspector, but also removing any debris from these machines makes the process flow much smoother. No inspector wants to deal with a smoke alarm when they test the oven.
Provide Attic Access
If your home has an attic, and many of them do, be sure there is easy access granted. This can be as simple as providing a ladder for the inspector. “If you want to be your home inspector’s new best friend, set up a ladder to the attic,” says Brian Koepf, founder of Gatekeeper Inspections in Leesburg, Virginia. Without access to the attic, inspectors will take longer to do their job. This may also require you to remove any obstacles in the way of the attic entrance. You do not want an inspector to have to move something you could have done yourself.
It is a good idea to leave the premises before the inspectors arrive. In fact, many exports suggest leaving an hour before their scheduled time, as inspectors tend to arrive early to prepare for their task. With owners out of the picture, investors will be more proficient.
“It’s best for the sellers not to be present because the buyers and the inspector will be more comfortable and can speak with more candor,” says Fryer. “It’s best not to have dogs around, especially if they’re aggressive.”
Unlock All Doors
We advise unlocking every door prior to the arrival of an inspector. Seeing as how the investor needs to view every area of your property, it only makes sense to prep each area for their inspection. Fryer recommends unlocking any gates and doors to a garage, shed or crawl space.
Disclose Known Flaws
While it may go against every instinct you have, disclosing your home’s flaws is imperative. Fryer says sellers should disclose any issues they’re aware of in their home, such as a leak or an air conditioner that only works intermittently.
“Don’t imagine that people will react strongly to a flaw in your home. It’s better to disclose everything upfront so you avoid surprising the buyers. They react more negatively if you’ve kept something secret.”
While it would be better to have everything fixed prior to the inspection, those items that require your attention should be disclosed. At the very least, leave a note for your inspector acknowledging your willingness to have them fixed in the near future.
Documentation of Maintenance
Provided that you recently had something repaired, it is important that you maintain documentation of said repairs. We advise owners to create a separate folder for these documents, as it will provide the inspector with easy access to what has been done. This includes insurance claims from damage that was done in the past. The same documentation should be kept for inspections that reveal no problems. If an engineer recently inspected your property and failed to notice any flaws, make your inspector aware. This information is relevant to their current inspection and should ultimately help them.
Check Light Bulbs
As simple as it sounds, make sure your light bulbs are working. Inspectors have to report everything. While it may seem insignificant, a light bulb that is not on may indicate more serious problems. Perhaps it is a wiring problem. It is better to avoid this by making sure all of your lights work accordingly.
Limit The Inspector’s Work
This does not mean you are doing their job for them. It simply means do anything you can to make their job easier. Every tip in this article falls under this category. Remove anything that may get in their way to facilitate a smoother inspection. A neat and accessible home can result in a more favorable impression for the inspector, which could help your home sell a lot faster.