Home Inspection Checklist
Home inspections can be stressful whether you are the buyer or the seller. This home inspection checklist is intended to help Texas sellers get ready for a home inspection by taking care of things that commonly show up on inspection reports, but do not have to. Sellers can either do the home inspection checklist items themselves or hire someone to take care of the items for them. Please note: I do not recommend contractors. Home Inspectors are neutral 3rd parties who “call it like it is.” Our job is to come in and find everything within the scope of the inspection standards that might be a concern for the client. We strive to be fair to the seller while fulfilling our duty to inform the client who hired us. Sellers can hire a home inspector to inspect their home before they put it on the market. If you are in the Houston / Galveston region you can schedule with me here. This is a good idea as it will help with your disclosure responsibilities and you can review the list with your Realtor to see which items should get priority when preparing the house for sale.
Why Use a Home Inspection Checklist?
Selling your home means making the home look as good as possible. When you have simple things that anyone could fix wrong, the buyer inevitably is going to wonder what else they might not be able to see, what else you might have ignored. These doubts can be toxic to getting to the closing table and having the sold sign go up.
For example, the image to the right is a food waste disposer. Sometimes called a garbage disposer. Hint: Only your plumber wishes you would put trash down this. It’s missing the rubber flap. The flap keeps food debris from splashing back out. Easy enough. The flap is available from Amazon for under $15. It takes a few minutes to put in. It literally snaps in place. It’s rubber, they wear out and need to be replaced. The only real question is why would someone list a house without fixing this?
Home Inspection Checklist - Easy Things You Can Fix
1. Burned Out Light Bulbs
Nothing says you don’t care about a house like a burned out light bulb. Light bulbs are cheap. Replace the missing and burned out bulbs. Inspectors do not troubleshoot, so they will simply take a photo and report that it was missing or not lit and should be investigated by an electrician.
2. Leaking Sinks
Fix Sink leaks and clean up anything that might have started growing under there. Testing for mold, mildew, and fungi takes a special license that most home inspectors do not have. So we are not going to tell you what it is. That might be worse though, because the client is certainly going to decide what they *think* it is. But if you clean up the water and clean up whatever is growing, it won’t show up in the report.
3. Dirty Air Filters
Change the air filter! The cheap one is just fine. We do not comment on whether you bought a $2 air filter or a $25 one. The system is designed to work with the one you can almost see through. Everything else is just better at clogging with dirt and choking the system. We will absolutely comment if the filter is full of dirt.
4. Missing Air Filters
The only thing worse than a dirty air filter is a missing air filter. It screams you do not care about the house, or the expensive HVAC system. We’ll recommend installing a filter after an HVAC pro comes out to clean the system and restore it’s potential.
5. Seal Exterior Gaps
On the outside make sure you seal gaps around windows, pipes, wires, and electrical panels. Use a quality caulk, sealant, or flashing.
6. Seal Holes in Eaves
Rats, mice, possums, bats and insects just love it when you leave the door open for them. Close these off. Most buyers are going to be turned off by shoddy workmanship and neglect on a property. That lowers the price you can get for the house in most cases.
7. Seal Nails on the Roof
You might need someone to do this for you if you can’t safely access the roof. It’s very common for me to find exposed fasteners that need sealant up on the roof. This is a maintenance item that should be checked every 2 years.
8. Put Nails in the Attic Ladder if they are missing
For some reason, it’s really common to either use screws (wrong) or not put any nails in the required location on attic ladders. It should have 16D nails which are about 3 inches long and 1/8 in diameter. A box of them is a few dollars at a hardware store.
9. Replace missing or broken wall plates
Wall plates come in three price points. Cheap ones that break if you look at them sideways, mid-priced ones that are flexible, and expensive ones that are flexible and 1/8″ oversize on all sides. Use the last two and avoid the first ones.
10. Replace and tighten loose attic ladder fasteners
Attic ladders have nuts that tend to work loose and vanish. They aren’t anything special, unless they are missing. Check to see if they are loose and tighten them up. If they are missing, go get some more. These are under a few dollars and easy to get at a hardware store.
11. Label circuit breakers
Nobody likes a guessing game and that is especially true when it comes to finding a circuit breaker. A Sharpie type marker can be used to quickly and neatly label the circuit breakers in the panel. Use an outlet tester and lights/appliances to figure out which breakers do what. Labels should be descriptive and specific. So Upstairs bedrooms is okay if that is what the circuit does. Outlets/lights 5 times is not. Try to be accurate. It’s just good karma.
12. Get Rid of Fiberglass Insulation on Attic Steps
Adding insulation to the steps makes them less safe. It changes the clearance for your toes. So take it down, bag it up and get rid of it. It’s also like putting up a sign for the inspector that says “my attic is hot.”
While you are at it, vacuum up any loose material that falls out of the attic steps such as insulation or mouse/rat droppings.
13. Replace missing globes on closet or other lights
Closet lights are mostly unloved and unappreciated. It’s common to not put the globe back up or to break it when putting things in the closet. If it’s missing, you can get a replacement for around $10 at the hardware store.
Upgrade Opportunity: Have an electrician upgrade the light to LED and never mess with it again.
14. Disable or remove garage door locks when you have an opener
When you have a garage door opener it’s important to remove or disable the garage door lock. This prevents damage to the opener and the door if the opener is engaged while the door is locked.
Disabling the lock is as easy as putting a bolt through the hole that is in most handles. Just make sure you can’t lock the door after you install a bolt and nut.
If you remove it, bag the bolts and the opener in case you ever want to put it back in.
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