How to Prepare for a Home Inspection

Posted by Van Purser on Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 at 4:09pm.

I am frequently asked by homeowners for suggestions on how to maintain their home or what they need to do as preparation to sell their home. I always recommend a pre-listing inspection because you don’t end up having to renegotiate the price after the buyer has an inspection done. However, in these tough economic times people’s budgets are tight so here is a checklist of some things to look at.

  • Clean the gutters and remove debris from the roof. Example: pine straw collecting in the valleys, small tree limbs.
  • Remove tree limbs overhanging the roof and or limbs with direct contact to the roof shingles.
  • Remove grade or pine straw/mulch from contact with siding. Provide a minimum 6” clearance between the ground and sill plate to prevent water and bug penetration.
  • Trim bushes and trees back from side walls of the home. Provide a minimum 12-18 inches air space.
  • The slope of the ground should be away from the foundation of the home. Water drainage should be directed out and away from the foundation. Examples: downspouts, condensate drains.
  • Paint all weathered exterior siding and trim. Seal (caulk) all open joints to prevent water penetration. Seal around through the wall fittings.
  • Unprofessional handyman type electrical wiring improvements need to be evaluated and repaired by a licensed electrician.
  • Recommend installation of gfci receptacles where needed: Kitchen, Garage, Exterior, Baths, Basement. Check existing gfci outlets for proper operation.
  • Install missing receptacle and switch plate covers.
  • Check the ac filter – clean or replace as needed. Make sure it’s the proper size.
  • Recommend HVAC servicing if it has not been done on a regular schedule.
  • Check the condition of the fireplace and flue-recommend cleaning if any carbon buildup noted. Badly cracked insert panels in the firebox will need to be replaced.
  • Check operation of all windows and doors. Stuck windows need attention.
  • Check operation of interior doors, make sure they hold in the jamb when closed.
  • Replace burned out light bulbs.
  • Check operation of all plumbing fixtures-repair all deficiencies by a licensed plumber. Example: toilets that run continuously.
  • Caulk all tub/shower fixtures to prevent water penetration. Check that toilets are secured to the floor.
  • Check attic for roof leaks and for proper ventilation. Check the operation of power ventilators if present.
  • Check basements and crawl spaces for water penetration around the perimeter.
  • Crawl spaces should be dry with a plastic vapor barrier installed on the ground.
  • Remove any wood or construction debris from crawl space or around the exterior of home. Stacked firewood should be off the ground and away from home.
  • Remove paints and solvents being stored near gas appliances.
  • Repair or replace all rotten exterior siding and trim.
  • Don’t do quick cheap repairs, this sends up a red flag to an inspector and he or she will look harder for conditions that need attention. We ask the question? What are they trying to hide?
  • Septic tank needs to be serviced and pumped if it has not been done in the last 3-5 years.
  • Provide clear access to attics, crawl spaces, electrical panels, heat systems, water heaters, etc. Areas that need to be inspected.
  • If house is vacant make sure utilities are left on.
  • Be aware of the installation of products that have a history of failure. Examples include but not limited to: EIFS (synthetic stucco), Aluminum wiring, Polybutylene plumbing, FPE electrical panels, Composite siding ( LP )
  • Crawl spaces should be checked for mold and fungus.

Age of hvac system, water heater, and appliances should be noted. Inspectors have an obligation to the client to inform them when a system is at or near the end of its normal useful life.

Steve Sheffield is a full time home inspector with certifications through ASHI, American Society of Home Inspectors, and the IRC, International Residential Building Code. He has completed over 1500 inspections since starting Hometown Inspection Services, LLC eight years ago. Prior to starting Hometown Inspection he was in the lumber / construction supply business for over 30 years. He can be reached at:

Van Purser and his wife Jeanne are a licensed Real Estate Brokers in Georgia.  Since1984 they successfully purchased and renovated over 400 homes.  Their expertise is in representing Buyers or Sellers as an advocate; which means always ensuring their best interest.  Additionally, they represented hundreds of clients over the years as an Associate Broker with Metro Brokers, RE/Max and now with his own firm.  He and his wife, Jeanne, have been married since 1977.   Van or Jeanne can be reached at 770-623-3313, or by email at or

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