Ask the Home Inspector | Spring 2015

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To save time and avoid delays in the transaction process, sellers should identify and provide clear access to all electric panels, attics, and crawl space access points. Here is a list that may be helpful for you in preparing your client for an inspection.

Many of these items can be done at little or no cost and are part of a regular maintenance program for any home. When a home seller is aware of the things they can do to prepare their home for an inspection, it’s certain to help make it a smooth experience for all involved.

Bruce Klassen

Bruce Klassen has been the Owner/Inspector of WIN Home Inspection of Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands for over 18 years. He provides home and commercial building inspections for buyers and sellers, and specialized inspections, including infrared thermal imaging and structural pest inspections. He can be reached 360-321-4303 or via email at

Sellers’ Preparation Checklist

Download a PDF version of the Seller's Preparation Checklist

House Exterior

  • Remove soil or mulch from contact with siding. Six or more inches of clearance is best.
  • Clean out dirty gutters and any debris from the roof.
  • Check to make sure all water from downspouts, sump pump, condensation and basement entry drains is diverted away from the house.
  • Trim trees, roots, and bushes back from the foundation, roof, siding and chimney.
  • Paint weathered exterior wood and caulk around the trim, chimney, windows and doors.
  • Repair any failing mortar in brick or block.
  • Remove wood and/or firewood from any contact with the house.
  • Caulk all exterior wall penetrations.

Basement, Crawl Spaces and Attics

  • Check to ensure that the crawl space is dry and install a proper vapor barrier if necessary.
  • Remove paints, solvents, gas, wood and similar materials from crawl space, basement, attic and porch.
  • Update attic ventilation if none is present.
  • If windows are at or below grade, install window wells and covers.

Doors and Windows

  • Ensure that all doors and windows are in proper operating condition, including repairing or replacing any cracked windowpanes.

House Interior

  • Clean or replace heating and cooling filters, clean dirty air returns and plenum.
  • Test all smoke detectors to ensure that they are working.
  • Have the chimney, fireplace or wood stove serviced and provide the buyer with a copy of the cleaning record.
  • Replace any burned out light bulbs.
  • Have clear access to attic, crawl space, heating system, garage and other areas that will need to be inspected.
  • If the house is vacant, make sure all utilities are turned on. This includes water, electricity, furnace, A/C and the water heater.
  • Ensure ready access to all rooms and crawl spaces. Clear all furniture, boxes, clothes, toys and other personal items that may block access to the furnace, water heater and electrical panel.

Kitchen and Bathrooms

  • Ensure that all plumbing fixtures such as the toilet, tub, shower, and sinks are in proper working condition. Fix any leaks and caulk around fixtures if necessary.
  • Ensure GFCI receptacles are functional.
  • Check bath vents to see if they are properly vented and in working condition.
  • Clear out areas under sinks so they can be inspected.

Sellers’ Inspection Preparation Checklist provided by WIN Home Inspection. Also available in the Washington REALTOR® iOS/Android app and download the Spring 2015 edition of RE Magazine.

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