Mortgages & Home Loans Real Estate Resources How to Prepare for a Home Inspection By Elizabeth Weintraub Elizabeth Weintraub Facebook Twitter Elizabeth Weintraub is a nationally recognized expert in real estate, titles, and escrow. She is a licensed Realtor and broker with more than 40 years of experience in titles and escrow. Her expertise has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, CBS Evening News, and HGTV's House Hunters. learn about our editorial policies Updated on November 16, 2021 Reviewed by Andy Smith Reviewed by Andy Smith Andy Smith is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), licensed realtor and educator with over 35 years of diverse financial management experience. He is an expert on personal finance, corporate finance and real estate and has assisted thousands of clients in meeting their financial goals over his career. learn about our financial review board Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: The Balance / Theresa Chiechi Some local governments require that sellers provide buyers with a detailed home inspection while giving the buyer the option to obtain their own inspection. In other parts of the country, the seller only provides disclosures, and the buyer pays for their own home inspection. Whether you're producing a seller's home inspection for the buyer or expecting the buyer's home inspector to show up on your doorstep, it's best to be thoroughly prepared. 01 of 10 Clean the House Sofie Delauw / Getty Images It sounds so simple, but homeowners often overlook this tactic. Home inspectors are people first and inspectors second. As people, they carry preconceived ideas about how well a home has been maintained. A clean home says that you care about the house. It's a good idea to make a good impression. Don't make the mistake of thinking inspectors can see past dirt and clutter, because they can't. 02 of 10 Be on Time Aluma Images / Photolibrary / Getty Images Have the house ready for inspection at 8:30 if an inspector makes an appointment with you for 9:00 a.m. Sometimes home inspectors are early. It's also common for inspectors to start on the exterior of the home, so leave the shades down or drapes drawn until you're dressed. More than one unprepared seller has been surprised by a stranger stomping around in the backyard. 03 of 10 Leave the Utilities Connected JGI / Jamie Grill / Blend Images / Getty Images The home inspector will turn on the stove, run the dishwasher, and test the furnace and air conditioning, so leave the utilities on if the house is vacant. It's impossible to check receptacles for grounding and reverse polarity if the power is turned off. Without utilities, the inspector will have to reschedule, which could delay the closing of your transaction. It could also trigger the removal of the buyer's home inspection contingency. Some inspectors will charge the buyer a reinspection fee to make a return trip, and this can cause ill will, too. 04 of 10 Leave Space Around the Furnace and Water Heaters Monty Rakusen / Cultura / Getty Images Remove boxes, bookcases, furniture, and anything else that's blocking access to your furnace, air conditioner, and water heater. The inspector will need three to four feet of working space to inspect these items. Inspectors generally won't move anything themselves, so they might suggest a specialist to the buyer if they don't have reasonable access. They'll let someone else deal with it. Buyers might then hire a specialist who will undoubtedly find more things wrong. Specialists have a lot more knowledge than general inspectors. 05 of 10 Keep the Pilot Lights Ignited BanksPhotos / E+ / Getty Images Many home inspectors will also refuse to light pilot lights because they don't carry enough insurance to be covered for that type of liability or risk. Important items such as the water heater, gas stove, or furnace won't be inspected if your pilot lights aren't lit, and the buyer could delay closing until those inspections are completed. Again, the inspector will probably charge extra to make a return trip. 06 of 10 Provide Access to the Attic and Garage Westend61 / Getty Images The inspector must get into your basement and/or attic as well, so keep a path cleared. Check for water in the basement. Move all boxes and stored items away from the walls by at least two feet. Vacuum spider webs. Look in the attic for possible rodent droppings, and secure any valuables. 07 of 10 Leave Keys for Outbuildings and Electrical Boxes Laara Cerman / Leigh Righton / Photolibrary / Getty Images Leave the remote controls for your garage door opener or a key if the garage is unattached to the house. Unlock the covers for your sprinkler system and electrical box. Leave a key for exterior building access. You can label these keys and leave them on a kitchen table. 08 of 10 Clear Away Brush From Exterior Inspection Points Mint Images / Getty Images Nobody expects you to shovel a tunnel around your home if snow drifts are blocking the foundation, but do provide a path around the house. Cut down dead tree branches and clear brush from the foundation in the summer months, and move trash cans away to provide easy access. 09 of 10 Provide Repair Documents DNY59 / Getty Images Make available all invoices and documents regarding remodeling projects or new items you've installed, such as a roof or furnace. Find the paperwork if you've upgraded the electrical system from ungrounded to grounded, installed a new dishwasher, or repaired a leaky faucet. It will give the buyer peace of mind to know those items were reinspected. 10 of 10 Prepare to Be Away for at Least Three Hours Katsuya Nishiyama / EyeEm / Getty Images Buyers will often accompany the home inspector, and buyers feel uncomfortable asking questions if the owner is present. Try to schedule a time for the inspection when you can be out of the house, and take your children with you. Crate your pets if you can't remove them from the premises. Many inspections can take up to three hours to complete. Walk around your property to get a view of the areas the inspector will be looking closely at: wiring, plumbing, drainage, gutters, and foundation. You don't have to be an expert, and you're not trying to pinpoint problems before the inspector does. Just make sure the areas are easily accessible, clean, and well maintained. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. "The Duty to Warn: A Home Inspector's and Home Seller's Guide to Immediate Hazards." American Society of Home Inspectors. "8 Things Every Home Inspection Checklist Should Include." RE/MAX. "Preparing Your Home For An Inspection." Watkins Realty & Associates. "Home Inspection Tips For Sellers." American Society of Home Inspectors. "The Quick Home Inspection Checklist: What To Look For When Buying A Home."