Did you know that you can call us to ask a home inspection related question EVEN if we are not the home inspector that inspected the home you are buying or selling? So feel free to reach out to Jerry to get his opinion on any home related question you may have. With over 35 years of home building and inspecting experience he really has the knowledge to help explain things, or direct you to the right person. We look forward to helping you!
In honor of Halloween, Sonoran Property Inspections is sharing these three SCARY mistakes to avoid when buying a house. If we can help you with your inspection needs in the Prescott area (and even the north part of the Phoenix area) just give us a call! We promise that your experience with us will NOT be a scary one.
Scary Mistake #1: Thinking you can’t afford it.
Many people who thought that buying the home they wanted was simply out of their reach are now enjoying a new lifestyle in their very own homes.
Buying a home is the smartest financial decision you will ever make. In fact, most homeowners would be broke at retirement if it wasn’t for one saving grace — the equity in their homes. Furthermore, tax allowances favor home ownership. Real estate values have always risen steadily. Of course, there are peaks and valleys, but the long-term trend is a consistent increase. This means that every month when you make a mortgage payment, the amount that you owe on the home goes down and the value typically increases. This “owe less, worth more” situation is called equity build-up and is the reason you can’t afford not to buy.
Even if you have little money for a down payment or credit problems, chances are that you can still buy that new home. It just comes down to knowing the right strategies, and working with the right people. See below.
Scary Mistake #2: Not hiring a buyer’s agent to represent you.
Buying property is a complex and stressful task. In fact, it is often the biggest, single investment you will make in your lifetime. At the same time, real estate transactions have become increasingly complicated. New technology, laws, procedures, and competition from other buyers require buyer agents to perform at an ever-increasing level of competence and professionalism. In addition, making the wrong decisions can end up costing you thousands of dollars. It doesn’t have to be this way!
Work with a buyer’s agent who has a keen understanding of the real estate business and the local market. A buyer’s agent has a fiduciary duty to you. That means that he or she is loyal only to you and is obligated to look out for your best interests. A buyer’s agent can help you find the best home, the best lender, and the best home inspector in your area. Trying to buy a home without an agent or a qualified inspector is, well… unthinkable.
Scary Mistake #3: Getting a cheap inspection.
Buying a home is probably the most expensive purchase you will ever make. This is no time to shop for a cheap inspection. The cost of a home inspection is small relative to the value of the home being inspected. The additional cost of hiring a certified inspector is almost insignificant by comparison. As a home buyer, you have recently been crunching the numbers, negotiating offers, adding up closing costs, shopping for mortgages, and trying to get the best deals. Don’t stop now! Don’t let your real estate agent, a “patty-cake” inspector, or anyone else talk you into skimping here.
I am a certified InterNachi inspector! InterNACHI front-ends its membership requirements. InterNACHI turns down more than half the inspectors who want to join because they can’t fulfill the membership requirements.
InterNACHI-certified inspectors perform the best inspections, by far. InterNACHI-certified inspectors earn their fees many times over. They do more, they deserve more and — yes — they generally charge a little more. Do yourself a favor…and pay a little more for the quality inspection you deserve. We are here to help you.
Although mold is beyond the scope of my home inspection, during our home inspections mold questions sometimes come up.
This blog will focus on mold in attics. The hope is that this can provide some useful tools for explaining this complex subject.
If mold is found in a building, it needs to be addressed. There is an ongoing debate in the home inspection industry regarding mold testing and the effects of mold on our health. I wish to avoid that debate here, but simply state that there is only one way to control mold in buildings, and that is to keep them dry. Dry buildings do not have mold problems. Wet buildings have mold problems. If you have mold in a structure, I would suggest that you direct all available resources to diagnosing and correcting the water issue first.
Why Is This More of an Issue in Prescott and not Phoenix?
Building standards and practices are regional and regional environmental factors have an enormous impact on building design and performance. Put simply, if you live in a hot arid climate, you are unlikely to find this problem. This is a problem frequently associated with regions of the country that get cold in the winter.
Why Do I Get Mold in My Attic?
The reason attics are prone to mold-growth in some parts of the country is that in winter or during summer monsoons, the roof sheathing can get wet from condensation. Roof sheathing is vulnerable to condensation because warm, interior air can migrate into the attic where it will drop its moisture on the first cold thing it hits, which is the roof sheathing. This can lead to frost on nail heads, one of the leading causes of a condensation problem. The nails are even colder than the roof sheathing, so often the first place to reach dew point.
Why is Warm Air Migrating into My Attic from My House?
Houses are like chimneys. Cold air infiltrates down low and hot air escapes out the top; this is often referred to as the stack effect. A sheetrock ceiling with paint is called, in building science terms, a vapor diffusion retarder. This means your ceiling retards or slows the vapor moving through it. In most houses, the vapor diffusion retarder has lots of breaches and openings where interior air can easily pass into the attic—think can lights, fans, plumbing and electric chases and attic access hatches.
Can Adding More Roof-Cavity Ventilation Prevent This Seasonal Condensation Problem?
Maybe. Adding more roof cavity ventilation may help but it could also make the problem WORSE. The best way I have heard roof cavity ventilation described is that it is like your backup parachute; you should not really need it if your house is dry. If the main parachute fails and your house starts to get too wet, you sure do want to have a backup.
So, if your attic is nearing dew point, the flow of exterior air can help keep the wood sheathing dry. However, if you add too much ventilation, you can create a negative air pressure in the attic and exacerbate the stack effect and pull MORE interior air from the house up into the attic. In some cases, adding more roof cavity ventilation can worsen the situation, especially if the holes in the vapor diffusion retarder (the ceiling) have not been systematically sealed first.
Is Mold in the Attic Likely to Affect the Indoor Air Quality in the House?
Not necessarily. Logically, mold in the attic is not likely an indoor air quality issue due to the stack effect. Mold in a crawl space below your house could contribute mold spores to interior air, which is no guarantee of a health hazard, but simply a statement of fact: we breathe the air that is below our house. But most of the air in your attic is going up and out the upper roof cavity venting and not into your house. There could be exceptions such as a leaky cold air return in an attic that pulls attic air into the house.
Is Mold in My Attic Likely to Affect My Enjoyment of My House?
No. Unless you have a significant problem, the mold and seasonal condensation in your attic could go undetected for years. The one area of concern would be the indoor relative humidity inside the house. Because this seasonal condensation problem in your attic can be related to high relative humidity inside the house, there is a chance you have a more problematic moisture problem inside that you would need to diagnose and repair. A simple example would be water accumulation in the crawl space below your house. You might start to see signs of this inside like condensation on window frames and toilet tanks.
Could Mold in My Attic Impact the Resale Value of My House?
Yes, mold can impact resale value. This is the best reason to have attic mold problems treated professionally. Because condensation is a seasonal problem related to dew point, relative humidity and occupant behavior, it is difficult for an inspector to determine if an attic condensation problem is active or not. In addition, when homebuyers see mold on roof decking, they can’t un-see it. If they are unfortunate enough to watch any form of reality TV, they probably think it will kill them and, in my experience, there is not much I can do to convince them otherwise.
As I see it, mold remediation companies create value by putting their name on a seasonal problem when it arises during a real estate transaction, so you want to choose a reputable company that has been in the business for a while and will stand behind their work.
A good company will diagnose the water problem first and foremost. They will look inside the home for issues that could cause high relative humidity and then shift their focus to the air barriers that separate the house from the attic. They will also evaluate fan terminations and roof cavity ventilation in the attic to try and prevent further condensation. Finally, they will remove or encapsulate any existing mold on the framing. Once the framing is cleaned or painted, it provides a fresh surface for monitoring to see if the condition returns.
Can People in the House Contribute to Attic Mold Problems?
Yes. We call this occupant behavior. Remember that people are constantly dumping moisture into a house by breathing, cooking, bathing… and even with hobbies such as aquariums and indoor plants. The objective in winter months is to keep indoor relative humidity around 50–55%. You can often accomplish this by using bath and kitchen fans to exhaust moist air to the exterior. In especially cold climates, or with high-efficiency construction, houses may be equipped with heat recovery ventilators; these facilitate air changes in the house without losing too much heat in the process. Small, modern houses with lots of people living in them are prone to high relative humidity and mold problems. This is especially true of houses that have electric resistance heat such as baseboard heaters.
How Do I Know If I Have an Active Condensation Problem in My Attic?
Attic condensation problems are seasonal and can vary depending on occupant behavior, so they can be difficult to understand, especially during a real estate transaction. The best time to check your attic for condensation is in the winter, first thing in the morning, when you see frost on the grass outside. These are the mornings I frequently find condensation in the attic.
How Can I Fix This Problem?
By now you should understand both why an attic may be getting wet and how to deal with a mold problem: stop the water!
Whether you live in the Phoenix area, or in Prescott, it is important to know how to winterize your home. Winterization is the process of preparing a home for the harsh conditions of winter. It is usually performed in the fall before snow and excessive cold have arrived. Winterization protects against damage due to bursting water pipes, and from heat loss due to openings in the building envelope. One additional service that I provide as a home inspector is to watch over your vacation homes during your extended absence, and can work with you to make sure the home is winterized. But for those doing it themselves, here are some guidelines.
Water damage caused by bursting pipes during cold weather can be devastating. A ruptured pipe will release water and not stop until someone shuts off the water. If no one is home to do this, an enormous quantity of water can flood a house and cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. Even during very small ruptures or ruptures that are stopped quickly, water leakage can result in mold and property damage. Broken water pipes can be costly to repair.
- All exposed water pipes in cold areas, such as attics, garages, and crawlspaces, should be insulated. Foam or fiberglass insulation can be purchased at most hardware stores. Insulation should cover the entirety of a pipe.
- Plastic is more tolerant of cold expansion than copper or steel. Houses in colder climates might benefit from the exclusive use of approved plastic plumbing.
- Water supply for exterior pipes should be shut off from inside the house and then drained.
- Sprinkler systems are particularly vulnerable to cracking due to cold-weather expansion. In addition to turning them, it helps to purge the system of any remaining water with compressed air.
- Homeowners should be aware that much of the plumbing system travels through areas that are significantly colder than the rest of the house. Because it is impossible to monitor the temperature of every portion of the plumbing system, indoor air temperature should be kept high enough throughout the winter to keep pipes in any unheated places from freezing.
Leaks in the Building Envelope
- Windows that leak will allow cold air into the home. Feeling for drafts with a hand or watching for horizontal smoke from an incense stick are a few easy ways to inspect for leaks. They can be repaired with tape or caulk.
- On a breezy day, a homeowner can walk through the house and find far more leaks than they knew existed. Leaks are most likely in areas where a seam exists between two or more building materials.
- Because hot air rises into the attic, a disproportionately larger amount of heat is lost there than in other parts of the house. Like a winter hat that keeps a head warm, adequate attic insulation will prevent warm indoor air from escaping. Attic insulation should be 12 inches thick in cold climates.
- Storm doors and windows should be installed to insulate the house and protect against bad weather.
- Test the furnace by raising the temperature on the thermostat. If it does not respond to the adjustment quickly it might be broken.
- Replace the air filter if it’s dirty.
- If the furnace is equipped with an oil or propane tank, the tank should be full.
- Use a hose to remove leaves and other debris from the outdoor condensing unit, if the home is equipped with one. Protect the unit with a breathable waterproof cover to prevent rusting and freezing of its components.
- Remove and store window air conditioners when they are no longer needed. Cold air can damage their components and enter the house through openings between the air conditioner and the windowpane.
- Ceiling fans can be reversed in order to warm air trapped beneath the ceiling to recirculate. A fan has been reversed if it spins clockwise.
- The chimney should be inspected for nesting animals trying to escape the cold. Squirrels and raccoons have been known to enter chimneys for this reason.
- The damper should open and close with ease. Smoke should rise up the chimney when the damper is open. If it doesn’t, this means that there is an obstruction in the chimney that must be cleared before the fireplace can be used.
- A chimney-cleaning service professional should clean the chimney if it has not been cleaned for several years.
- The damper should be closed when the fireplace is not in use. An open damper might not be as obvious to the homeowner as an open window, but it can allow a significant amount of warm air to escape.
- Glass doors can be installed in fireplaces and wood stoves to provide an extra layer of insulation.
- If debris is left in gutters, it can get wet and freeze, permitting the formation of ice dams that prevent water from draining. This added weight has the potential to cause damage to gutters. Also, trapped water in the gutter can enter the house and lead to the growth of mold. For these reasons, leaves, pine needles, and all other debris must be cleared from gutters. This can be done by hand or with a hose.
- Missing shingles should be replaced.
- Patio furniture should be covered.
- If there is a deck, it might need an extra coat of sealer.
If you are leaving for extended periods of time and want us to check on the home during your absence, we are happy to help. As always, let us know if you have any questions about how to care for your home.
Since it is the first thing a buyer sees, the entryway is an important space within a home. It sets the stage for the whole tour of the home. Buyers will form opinions on a home within seconds of opening that front door. Here are some ways to improve your entry.
Make the front door a focal point.
The door is the first thing visitors focus on at any home’s entryway, so make it special. Paint it a bold color or add gorgeous greenery via a seasonal wreath. You can complement the home’s style and make a statement within a reasonable budget.
Invest in stylish but functional furniture.
Create a welcoming vignette of furniture that beckons guests to the door. Design a space for dropping keys and handbags, and a place to sit and remove shoes. Think elegant console tables with drawers (that hide the clutter), woven baskets, and an antique rug. You can take these new goodies with you when you move too!
Add art to the space.
Artwork in an entryway can make a big impact. Hang a beautiful piece of artwork or photography on the wall opposite the door. Choose carefully: You don’t want to put off buyers with something overly quirky. A mirror is a great choice and will help the entryway appear larger.
Illuminate the entryway with bold lighting.
The right lighting will give a welcoming feel to the entry, while being highly functional. Add a stylish lamp to the console table, or if the home has high ceilings or a two-story stairwell, go for a beautiful chandelier or pendant light in a timeless style.
These are great tips even if you are NOT selling the home! So make that entry something special, and enjoy it while you are living there too.
The home inspection is an important step during the buying process, but for some reason, it is a step that can give some buyers—and even some seasoned real estate professionals—an awful fright! So, in honor of Halloween, here are my 5 Ways to Make the Home Inspection Less Spooky! For Prescott area and Phoenix metro area inspections, we are here to help.
- Home inspections are just plain scary.
The truth is, we aren’t scary people and we are here to educate, not get you shaking in your boots. What makes home inspections scary for some is actually past experiences, disappointments or just plain nerves. The good news is that picking the right inspector makes all the difference. Relax – everything will be okay.
- Maybe this house is more work than I thought.
The home inspection is often the first time you will look at the house more “analytically” instead of “emotionally.” It can be difficult if you are not prepared for the step-by-step evaluation of the house. But if you are prepared for the slight change of perspective that the home inspection may bring, the process becomes less scary.
- The house is not perfect anymore.
Ok, but rest assured, there is no such thing as a perfect house. Prepare for the fact that some defects may be found in the house, but keep in mind that every house—even a new house—has some. We will help you distinguish between big problems and small ones. Ask questions after the inspection. Think about your concerns and needs prior to that day and make sure you get the answers you require.
- The house is great, but the report still mentions a lot about required maintenance.
Buying a home is similar to buying a pre-owned car. One must always expect maintenance and some unexpected repairs. No inspection can completely eliminate all risks, and all homes require maintenance, repair, and care. It is important to be comfortable with this concept prior to the inspection experience—especially those who have never owned a home before.
- For what they are asking for this house, it should have been flawless!
Unfortunately, home price and home condition do not go hand-in-hand. Price has much more to do with location and the market conditions than anything else. After all, even million-dollar homes have defects. So no matter what the purchase price, avoid falling into the trap of expecting a flawless house.
Don’t you hate it when you are in the shower and someone else in the house flushes a toilet and you get burned by hot water? I do test water temperature when I do a home inspection, but sometimes these fluctuations don’t show up until later. So let’s talk a little about anti-scald valves. Anti-scald valves, also known as tempering valves and mixing valves, mix cold water in with outgoing hot water so that the hot water that leaves a fixture is not hot enough to scald a person.
Facts and Figures
- Scalds account for 20% of all burns.
- More than 2,000 American children are scalded each year, mostly in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Scalding and other types of burns require costly and expensive hospital stays, often involving skin grafts and plastic surgery.
- Scalding may lead to additional injuries, such as falls and heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
- Water that is 160º F can cause scalding in 0.5 seconds.
Unwanted temperature fluctuations are an annoyance and a safety hazard. When a toilet is flushed, for instance, cold water flows into the toilet’s tank and lowers the pressure in the cold-water pipes. If someone is taking a shower, they will suddenly feel the water become hotter as less cold water is available to the shower valve. By the same principle, the shower water will become colder when someone in the house uses the hot-water faucet. This condition is exacerbated by plumbing that’s clogged, narrow, or installed in showers equipped with low-flow or multiple showerheads. A sudden burst of hot water can cause serious burns, particularly in young children, who have thinner skin than adults. Also, a startling thermal shock – hot or cold – may cause a person to fall in the shower as he or she scrambles on the slippery surface to adjust the water temperature. The elderly and physically challenged are at particular risk.
Anti-scald valves mitigate this danger by maintaining water temperature at a safe level, even as pressures fluctuate in water supply lines. They look similar to ordinary shower and tub valves and are equipped with a special diaphragm or piston mechanism that immediately balances the pressure of the hot- and cold-water inputs, limiting one or the other to keep the temperature within a range of several degrees. As a side effect, the use of an anti-scald valve increases the amount of available hot water, as it is drawn more slowly from the water heater. Inspectors and homeowners may want to check with the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) to see if these safety measures are required in new construction in their area.
Installation of anti-scald valves is typically simple and inexpensive. Most models are installed in the hot-water line and require a cold-water feed. They also require a swing check valve on the cold-water feed line to prevent hot water from entering the cold-water system. They may be installed at the water heater to safeguard the plumbing for the whole building, or only at specific fixtures.
The actual temperature of the water that comes out of the fixture may be somewhat different than the target temperature set on the anti-scald valve. Such irregularities may be due to long, uninsulated plumbing lines or defects in the valve itself. Users may fine-tune the valve with a rotating mechanism that will allow the water to become hotter or colder, depending on which way it’s turned. Homeowners may contact an InterNACHI inspector (like me) or a qualified plumber if they have further questions or concerns.
In summary, anti-scald valves are used to reduce water temperature fluctuations that may otherwise inconvenience or harm unsuspecting building occupants.
We recently attended a Prescott Area Association of Realtors membership brunch where the topic was Realtor safety. While this blog article is not about home inspections, or home maintenance tips, it is an important topic for all agents. Too many times an agent is vulnerable to crimes just by virtue of the job. So we want to share some of the tips we learned, and remind everyone in this industry to stay safe out there.
- Have a ‘second meeting only’ policy. Meet clients in the office or another public location before agreeing to a private showing. This gives you (and other colleagues) the opportunity to vet them. You should also ask for a form of identification so you can confirm that they are who they claim to be.
- Make sure someone always knows your location. Before leaving for a showing, provide a colleague, friend or spouse with the address of the property where you’re going, along with the name and personal information of the client you’re meeting. Utilize location finding devices such as “Find my iPhone” so someone can easily track the location of your phone if necessary.
- Be mindful of what you wear. While you always want to put your best foot forward with a client, you also don’t want to appear attractive to criminals by wearing expensive jewelry or watches. It’s best to leave the Rolex at home. Keep this in mind when taking photos for marketing materials, as well.
- Program emergency numbers as ‘favorites.’ While you might have familiar numbers memorized, such as those to your office, emergency contact or colleague, program them into your phones as a “favorite” so they can be easily accessed in an emergency situation.
- Let the client take the lead. You may be inclined to lead clients through the property, but it’s safer to follow them so you always have them in your full view. Avoid going into the basement of a property and always be mindful of exit locations.
- Keep control of keys to the property at all times. Be sure to know exactly where property keys are located all times. Leaving keys outside of the home in locations such as under the doormat, above the door or behind a bush can expose you to the possibility of someone copying the key without your knowledge. Use a secure, electronic lockbox system so you can better control keys and access to a property.
- Follow your instinct. Most agents who have been victims of crime said they felt something was off but didn’t do anything. If something feels out of place, don’t hesitate to stop a showing or open house and leave immediately.
One of the major components of a home is the HVAC system. Having an HVAC inspection done prior to buying a home will help identify a possible failure prior to purchase.
Have you ever woken up in the middle of a winter night, shivering under the blankets and able to see your breath? Or have you ever watched the thermostat creep into the upper 80s during a record-setting heat wave, realizing you haven’t heard the air conditioner kick on? If so, your heating or cooling system was on the fritz—and (of course), it happened at the worst possible time. Components like fan motors, run capacitors, contactors, coils, compressors, low/high pressure switches and time delay programs are all wear and tear items subject to fail at any time.
These systems not only fail when you need them the most, but also during the hardest time of the year to get a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) contractor to come by for repairs. Naturally, technicians are at their busiest when these systems are busiest. So, unless you have a relative in the business, the best way to ensure your heating and cooling systems keep working is to maintain them properly.
To guard against a future breakdown, have a professional perform periodic maintenance on the systems before the peak seasons begin. Have the heating system serviced in late summer or early fall, and keep in mind that priority scheduling for repeat customers may begin mid-summer. For a central air-conditioning system, arrange to have a pro check it out in the early spring, after temperatures have reached 65° F, depending on when it starts getting hot in your region.
A typical maintenance call will involve tightening electrical connections, checking the condition of hoses and belts, lubricating all moving parts, and making sure the controls work properly.
For cooling components, the contractor will clean the evaporator coils that remove the heat from the air in your home, as well as the condenser coils that release the collected heat to the outside air. Your tech will also check the fan components, make sure the refrigerant level in the system is correct, inspect ductwork and gas lines, and check for leaks.
For heating systems, technicians typically check fuel connections, change the filters, and inspect the system’s combustion and heat exchangers.
What You Can Do
Here are a few maintenance tasks you can perform yourself:
- For ongoing maintenance, change the filters every three months for a forced-air system that includes both heating and cooling. If the systems are separate, change the filters every three months during the heating or cooling season. The type of filter to use and directions for changing it can be found in the manual that comes with installation. Instructions may also come with the filter, or on a label affixed to the HVAC unit. You an also ask an HVAC contractor for advice, or visit the manufacturer’s website to see if information is available online.
- Check around the house to make sure all heating and cooling vents, baseboard heaters, and radiators are not blocked by furniture. If they are blocked, the system has to work harder to provide you with the comfort you want, placing a strain on the system.
- Air-conditioning systems often have an outdoor component that houses the compressor and condenser. This part of the system dumps hot air from your house to the outside as part of the cooling cycle. Remove leaves and other debris off of the top of the unit, and maintain a clearance of 2 to 3 feet around it.
Repair vs. Replace
If your HVAC system does break down, you will be faced with the decision of whether to repair or replace it. Repairs are less expensive, but there are a number of reasons to consider replacing the entire unit.
- The system is eight to 15 years old. While a properly maintained system can last longer than 15 years, some older equipment is not as efficient as those available today. And with the average household spending almost half its energy budget on heating and cooling costs, it makes sense to install an energy-efficient system. For example, the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating measures how much fuel a furnace or boiler converts to heat and how much is wasted. It is not unusual to find old furnaces with an AFUE below 70%, which means that over 30% of the fuel is wasted. High-efficiency furnaces available today can achieve AFUE ratings above 98%. That could mean a reduction in heating bills of 20 to 30%. Likewise, the seasonal energy-efficiency ratio (SEER) can be as low as 8 to 10 SEER in older units, while newer units often boast up to 25 SEER, translating to a reduction of up to 50% of cooling costs.
- The system needs to be repaired frequently. Even if the repairs are minor, having an HVAC contractor on speed dial does not bode well for the future. If you are faced with a major repair—such as a compressor for an air conditioner, or a blower motor for a furnace—and you have had to pay for a similar repair recently, it is time to replace the unit.
- Energy bills keep going up and the house is too hot or too cold. There could be a number of reasons for this, such as leaky ducts, or a lack of insulation and weather sealing in the walls and ceiling. However, it could also mean that the current system is not the right size for the house. A properly sized system would solve that problem quickly.
When faced with a large repair, discuss your options with a qualified HVAC contractor. If you choose a replacement, make sure you hire a reputable, licensed and insured contractor associated with a company you can trust, and confirm that you have a sufficient warranty to insure you against installation and mechanical errors. And after the repair or replacement, keep it well maintained.
Ten Tips to Speed Up Your Home Inspection
- Confirm that that the water, electrical and gas services are turned on (including pilot lights).
- Make sure your pets won’t hinder your home inspection. Ideally, they should be removed from the premises or secured outside. Tell your agent about any pets at home.
- Replace burned-out light bulbs to avoid a “light is inoperable” report that may suggest an electrical problem.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace dead batteries.
- Clean or replace dirty HVAC air filters. They should fit securely.
- Remove stored items, debris and wood from the foundation. These may be cited as “conducive conditions” for termites.
- Remove items blocking access to HVAC equipment, electrical service panels, the water heater, attic and crawlspace.
- Unlock any locked areas that your home inspector must access, such as the attic door or hatch, the electrical service panel, the door to the basement, and any exterior gates.
- Trim tree limbs so that they’re at least 10 feet away from the roof. Trim any shrubs that are too close to the house and can hides pests or hold moisture against the exterior.
- Repair or replace any broken or missing items, such as doorknobs, locks or latches, windowpanes or screens, gutters or downspouts, or chimney caps.
Checking these areas before your home inspection is an investment in selling your property. Your real estate agent will thank you!