The Why behind Home Inspections

Jan 31, 2023 | Real Estate Tips and Tricks

Selling your home? Congratulations! This is an exciting and busy time. It is likely that the buyer of your home will want to have a property inspection conducted. A home inspection is a non-invasive examination of the condition of your home and its major system. Investing just a little bit of time and energy before the buyer’s inspection can make a huge difference in the outcome of your transaction. If an inspector is unable to access certain parts of your home it can raise doubts for the buyer and/or cost you money to have the inspector return to the property. Grab this list and check things off as you go so that your home is completely ready for any inspections.

  • Inspectors require all utilities to be on to properly evaluate the state of your home.
  • Plan for your pets. Ensure you have a plan to keep your fur babies and the inspector safe. This may include removing pets from the home or using crates.
  • Tackle the ‘honey-do’ list. You may have made repairs before listing your home for sale, but if anything was missed now is the time to tackle those items. This may include things like doors/locks that stick, slow draining sinks or tubs, loose railings, clogged gutters, overhanging trees, leaky faucets/toilets, etc.
  • Remove any locks from electrical boxes or gates. If any portion of your property requires a key to access or operate, ensure that you either leave the key for the inspector or remove the lock for the inspection. If you are leaving keys for the inspector, leave a note that specifies what each key is for. If you have a fireplace with a key, leave that out as well.
  • Make any remotes or special instructions available. If you have remotes for fans, lights, window coverings, water features, etc. leave them out for the inspector with clear instructions on how to operate them.
  • Ensure the electrical box is clearly labeled. You may know that the third switch from the bottom is for the master bathroom, but the inspector and new homeowners won’t. Consider freshening up any unclear or worn-out labels.
  • Remove obstructions. The inspector will require access to all areas of your home including the attic, water heater, HVAC systems, windows, and doors. Ensure that none of these areas are obstructed with boxes or personal items. The inspector will also check the exterior of your home. Consider trimming back any vegetation so that they can view the perimeter easily.
  • Replace burned out lightbulbs. If a lightbulb is burned out the inspector may not be able to easily determine if there is an issue with the fixture. Pop in a fresh bulb so that there is no doubt!
  • Change your filters. If you have filters that are due to be changed, plan to put fresh ones in before the inspector arrives.
  • Replace smoke detector batteries. If your smoke detector is chirping, replace the battery. If the smoke detector is outdated, consider replacing it.
  • Empty dishwasher or put soap in it. Most inspectors will run your dishwasher. You may choose to empty it before they arrive or put soap in it so that you return to clean dishes.
  • Keep it clean! The buyers will likely come to the property during the inspection. Ensure your home is in the same or better condition than when they last viewed it.

Ensuring that a home inspection is completed on your home before you put that sign out on the front yard can also save you thousands of dollars. One example I give is when I was representing a buyer on a property that had a septic system. We knew going into the first preview the home was overpriced. In real estate what gauges if a home is overpriced are days on market, condition, location and price…If a house is in a desirable location and condition is good but the home has been sitting on the market for 30+ days with no offers then price is 9 out of 10 times a factor. I ran comparables and I knew the house would not appraise more than $300,000. As I suggested, my buyer had a home inspection along with a Septic Inspection…the home inspection had some minor issues and we only called out major defects. The buyer was willing to fix those issues, however when we did the septic inspection the hydraulic load test failed and the septic field was too close to the house. The septic wasn’t failing however it could fail in time…I negotiated a $25,000 escrow concession. Overall with this particular transaction, I saved my buyer $75,000…and my buyer was ecstatic, but…

Someone lost and the seller was the one that lost. As a listing agent too…I would have instructed my seller to have a pre-home inspection. This would allow the seller to fix all major defects along with minor items leaving the seller transparent and with a written report from a home inspector. This also allows the seller to fix and repair or give a buyer credit upfront. As far as the septic, the seller could have called their Septic service company and ensured that the Septic was in working condition or not in working condition. This would make the seller transparent again allowing them to give a credit or fixing the issue. Yes it would have still cost them money, but saved them money and allowed the seller more control over what needed to be fixed.

As listing agents in today’s market, buyer’s aren’t waiving inspections and offering.

$50,000 over asking price. This is a “NORMAL” Market. This is when both seller and buyer will negotiate more and meet in the middle and make it beneficial for both sides. It is crucial when listing your home to maximize your profit and get the most money for your home. As a listing agent, I will do a coming soon for up to 21 days and this will allow my seller’s time to prepare their homes. Painting, new hardware, lighting, landscaping, curb appeal, cleaning, flooring, pressure washing, organizing, and more can be beneficial, but also conducting a home inspection, appraisal and even adding a home warranty can optimize your listing and be advantageous to the seller as well as the buyer. Transparency will make the flow of the process streamline and smooth, along with possibly getting multiple offers and more money over asking price.

About Susan Mattern


Susan is a dedicated real estate agent who has been helping people buy and sell homes since 2015. Susan’s passion for her work shines through in every transaction, as she ensures each client’s needs are met with care while adhering strictly to budget considerations–and no one can say enough good things about how smoothly transactions have gone by when they’ve had the pleasure of working alongside this professional! You’ll find yourself feeling like you’re taken care of in all aspects of your own personal journey because Susan will be there throughout from beginning to end; guiding you along every step towards success (even if it’s something small).