Inspector’s Perspective On Preparing Your Home to Sell


Tips for Selling Your Home – Is Your Home Physically Fit?
To give your home a competitive edge when it’s time to sell, make sure it is in good physical condition. This not only makes your home more attractive and desirable, it also simplifies the negotiation process when the time comes for the buyer’s pre-purchase inspection. According to home inspection experts, approximately half the resale homes in the market today have at least one significant defect. Routine maintenance is the best way to prevent major, costly problems from developing in the first place. If you have been putting off those repairs, now is the time to make them.


A Home Seller’s Check List
Over the years, ASHI has identified a list of common problems that typically appear on buyer’s home inspection reports. Early correction of these problems can increase a home’s appeal and its selling price. It also sets the stage for a favorable home inspection report for the buyer, and thereby helps to expedite the sale. The following 6-point checklist can help you achieve these marketing goals.



After size, style, and location, a home buyer’s primary concern is the condition of the home’s basic structure and major mechanical systems. Most buyers do not want to invest a great deal of money correcting problems in such critical areas.

A pre-listing home inspection of the visible and accessible home components can reveal most of these problems, and include recommended repairs, if needed, on the following major items:

  • Roof structure and covering
  • Foundation, basement, and/or crawl space
  • Central heating and air conditioning systems
  • Electrical system
  • Plumbing system



A number of maintenance improvements are relatively easy and inexpensive to make, yet they can substantially improve a home’s appearance, efficiency, and comfort. A professional home inspector may make helpful maintenance suggestions, such as:

  • Trim trees and shrubs which touch or overhang the house
  • Apply new caulking and weather stripping as needed around windows and doors
  • Clean gutters of debris and leaves; repair or replace cracked or broken gutters, downspouts, and extensions to ensure proper drainage
  • Replace bathroom caulk or grouting where necessary to prevent seepage and improve appearance
  • Ventilate closed basements and crawl spaces, or install a dehumidifier, to prevent excessive moisture build-up
  • Regrade soil around the foundation, as needed to keep water away from the house
  • Replace dirty filters in the heating and air conditioning systems
  • Have the heating and air conditioning systems professionally serviced
  • Have chimneys professionally cleaned, and install chimney hoods or caps as needed



Fixing even minor items can go a long way toward improving that important first impression of our home. Here are some typical improvements which might be suggested by the home inspector’s findings:

  • Repair leaky faucets
  • Tighten loose doorknobs
  • Replace damaged screens
  • Replace broken panes of glass
  • Replace burned-out light bulbs
  • Secure loose railings
  • Repair and coat driveway
  • Patch holes or cracks in walls and ceilings, then repaint
  • Repair peeling wallpaper



Home inspectors also pay attention to items relating to protecting the home and its occupants from danger. They can alert you to important safety precautions which home buyers will appreciate, such as:

  • Installing smoke detectors on each level
  • Installing Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI’s) in “wet” areas, such as kitchen counters tops, bathrooms, and exterior outlets
  • Keeping flammable products away from heaters, water heaters, and fireplaces



An attractive, clean, and neat home will appeal to a buyer’s emotions. In addition to making repairs such as those listed above, remember to:

  • Keep the lawn mowed and the house neat
  • Clean the exterior walls and trim; repaint if necessary
  • Open windows shades and curtains to create a bright, inviting atmosphere
  • Keep the kitchen and bathrooms clean, since buyers scrutinize these areas



It’s a good idea to assemble in advance various house records that can be used to answer questions from buyers and home inspectors. In addition to an affordable sales price, they will also want to be sure that the neighborhood and house meet the needs of their family. If your on top of repairs you may want to put together a list of the more recent upgrades and information about your home i.e. new dishwasher, termite treatment, structural engineer evaluation along with utility bills more receipts for work completed and any pertinent warranties in a booklet


Easy To Do List to Shorten the Inspector’s Report


Quick & Easy To Do List . . .


  • Replace all dead light bulbs including attic light.
  • Any light fixtures or fans that the pull chains are missing, replace them.
  • Fans that wobble. Home Depot/Lowes has a $3 balancing kit and takes just a few minutes of your time.
  • Replace batteries in all battery operated smoke alarms that are not working.
  • Caulk (neatly) bathtubs where tile meets tub & vertical corners if needed.
  • Caulk fixture controls & spout to tile to prevent water from getting behind the wall.
  • Put all window screens in place.
  • Change air filters associated with heat & air systems as needed.
  • If you are using decorative ceramic logs in your fireplace, you should have an inexpensive clamp on the damper to keep it from closing fully
  • If you suspect or are aware of a dirty fireplace flue have it cleaned.
  • If the outside air conditioning fan coil is dirty (usually the side against the home) clean it. Some designs require a professional but many can be cleaned by using a vegetable brush by gently stroking the dirt away from the coils & then rinse off. Only do this when equipment is turned off at the disconnect (which is near the coil).
  • Built in vacuum system – empty the filter.
  • Cut tree limbs back from roof three to six feet from the home.
  • Clean the gutters.
  • Loose balcony or stair railings should be tightened.




A Realtor’s Perspective On Preparing Your Home To Sell



Homes that are properly staged almost always sell faster regardless of market conditions. If your home is on the market, be sure you follow these guidelines to keep your humble abode looking showroom perfect. Remember, beauty is in the eye of the buyer!


Cut The Clutter. This is one of the easiest ways to give your home a “ready to buy” feel. Start by removing anything that is wasting space: old magazines, random objects that don’t have a purpose, even your favorite family photographs should be kept to a minimum. Then, clean out closets, pick up anything on the floor, put away anything that isn’t immediately being used and if you have kids, organize their toys neatly in one spot; preferably in a closet. Your realtor might even suggest removing bulky furniture to give rooms a larger appearance.


Spic And Span. Now that you’ve removed any unnecessary objects, clean your home from top to bottom. Hire a maid if this task becomes too involved. Your home should sparkle like new after you’re done. By removing the clutter and cleaning your home, you demonstrate to potential buyers that you are tidy, meticulous, maintenance oriented, have taken care of the home (whether this is true or not).


Curb Appeal. You know the drill; first impressions are the most important. So when buyers first pull up to your home with their REALTOR®, they should see an inviting home with a great looking yard. Remove any random objects from your yard, mow the lawn on a regular basis, plant colorful flowers, and paint your front door if it has lost its luster. Be sure to keep the backyard looking nice as well. You want the potential buyer to picture themselves living in this house. They can’t do that if you’re stuff is lingering and looking cluttered.


Touch-Ups. Over the years, your home may have received a little wear and tear. It’s the mark of a lived-in home. Touch up molding and seams around the house with a fresh coat of paint. Reapply wallpaper if it looks like its starting to peel away from the walls (this happens in bathrooms frequently from the steam of the shower). Your may repaint a room to give it a fresh feel or update light fixtures throughout your home. Fan light combinations in bedrooms is popular.


Ready And Waiting. Often, buyers will show up with a REALTOR® at a moments notice. This means your home should appear showroom perfect as often as possible. Explain to your kids why they need to make an effort to keep the home as clean as possible. Avoid cooking harsh smelling foods if you think buyers might take a tour. Also, keep animals at bay so they don’t annoy visitors to the home, put them in their kennel(s) or take them to a neighbor’s or family member’s home if necessary.