So you listed your home, and you’re fortunate to receive an offer and go under contract. Congrats! The next step is to prepare for your home inspection.
Typically in Denver the buyer of your home will hire a local inspector who will scour the interior and exterior of your home and identify as many issues and defects as possible. Mechanical and electrical systems, roof, foundation, sewer scopes (see the picture below) and more – your buyer’s inspector will analyze your home from top to bottom. Inspectors have a 1,600 item checklist, according to the National Association of Home Inspectors.
So how to prepare for a home inspection if you’re a seller? There’s an abundance of home inspection advice out there. Check out these Scoop articles by Amy Atkinson, a realtor here at Focus Real Estate, and Charlie Glahe, a local Denver inspector who works quite a bit in Central Park:
What to expect when you’re inspecting (Amy Atkinson)
How to prepare your home for inspection (Charlie Glahe)
Outside of Amy’s and Charlie’s advice, have three unusual tips I often tell our home sellers here at Focus. We list homes for sale in Denver for a 1.5% listing fee, and part of our services includes helping clients through every step of the sales process, including inspections.
So without further ado, here are my three unusual tips!
Prepare like you’re going to the prom
The standard inspection advice is to de-clutter your home and make sure it’s accessible for the inspector. I’d recommend treating the inspector like he or she is an extension of the buyer – and treat your inspection like it’s just as important as your most important showing. Do everything you’d do for a showing – clean, clean, clean. De-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter. Lights on, furniture perfectly in place, grass mowed. Put your best foot forward!
While inspectors have a job to do, they’re human as well. I review inspection reports and chat with inspectors every week. With inspectors I’m friendly with you’d be surprised how quickly the conversation moves from issues with a home to the overall more subjective quality and features of a home.
Your buyer’s inspector might find the same issues with your home regardless, but the tone and overall feel of your inspection might go in a more positive direction if your house sparkles from a systems perspective – and a cosmetic perspective. In short, prepare like you’re going to the big dance!
Vacuum more than you think
This one is simple. Don’t just vacuum your carpets and floors. Go ahead and have your air returns and bathroom exhaust vacuumed out if possible before the inspector shows up.
Some inspectors will mention in their report if either the returns or exhaust are extremely dirty. This might not be a “true” inspection item that needs a contractor to remedy, but in this day and age of COVID-19 and everyone’s understandable sensitivity to cleanliness, the cleaner your house is the better, even during your inspection.
Also, it’s not uncommon for a buyer to request a professional exit clean before moving into your home. These deep cleans can cost anywhere from $250 – $600+ depending on the size and location of your home in Denver. If your home is already sparkling – including the returns and exhaust – you might be able to do only a “broom clean” cleaning job when you move out.
Check every light, every light bulb!
Many home inspection advice articles talk about checking your home systems, from plumbing to electrical, in advance. As part of that pre-inspection, be sure to check all your lights and light bulbs – including any staging lights you, your realtor, or your stager have put in your home.
As part of our 1.5% listing fee here at Focus, we coordinate a staging consultation with a professional stager for our clients. We’ve sold dozens of homes in Central Park and elsewhere in Denver and you’d be surprised how many homes are fully or partially staged. Anecdotally I’d say 60%+ of the homes we list are staged in some way, and in our experience those homes tend to “pop” more in listing photos and perform better on the market. As part of the staging and listing process it’s not uncommon to add lights into a home, and naturally a lot of those lights remain on constantly during showings.
When an inspector comes across a light that’s not working, he or she isn’t always sure what’s wrong. Electrical issue? Bad light? Bad light bulb? Don’t invite more scrutiny when there’s no issue. Light bulbs are easy to replace and mean one less issue to worry about.
So there you have it! Three of my slightly unusual home inspection tips.