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Prepare Your House For a Professional Look-See authorPrepare Your House For a Professional Look-See
by Bill Garwood of Edifice Inspections, Inc.

If you are in the process of selling a home, the chances are that sooner or later you will have the home inspected by a professional home inspector. Here is a checklist of 10 ways to make life easier — and hopefully leave a good impression for the home inspector.

• If the house is vacant make sure that all the utilities (gas, electrical power and water) are on. In most cases, this is a requirement of the real estate contract.

• If you have a dog or dogs, they should be removed from the house during the inspection. It may seem funny to you, but some people are afraid of even the friendliest dog.

• Make sure that all furniture or stored personal items are not in front of electrical panel boxes, furnaces and water heaters. The inspector needs to get close to these appliances both to operate them and to read label plates that contain manufacturing dates and sizes.

• Remove any obstructions in front of attic or crawl space accesses. This is especially true if you have any clothes hanging in a closet that accesses the attic. Failure to do this often results in insulation falling on your clothes. Lawn mowers and other tools should be removed if they block access to a crawl space under the house. Crawl spaces are by nature unpleasant to inspect; the easier the access, the better.

• If keys are required for entry into crawl spaces, sheds or storage rooms, the keys should be left in an obvious location for the inspector.

• If you have had work or maintenance done on the house, copies of building permits, warranties or receipts will be helpful to the inspector. This information keeps the inspector from making assumptions based on incomplete information.

• Remove any stored items from bathtubs (yes, believe it or not, it happens). The inspector will need to fill the tub with water and operate the shower.

• If you have a security system, leave it off for the inspection. Nothing is more time-consuming and distracting than an alarm going off.

• If the clothes washer and dryer are included in the sale, remove all your clothing from them. The inspector will need to test them for the buyer.

• Finally, leave the house for the inspection. The buyer frequently goes with the inspector on the inspection, and the presence of the seller may restrict open conversation between the buyer and inspector. If you must be at home, make arrangements for all children to be away. As cute as they are, children almost always make an inspection more difficult.

Bill Garwood is an ASHI certified home inspector and holds the "Residential Combination Inspector" and "Rehabilitation Inspector" certifications from the International Code Council (ICC). Prior to becoming a home inspector Bill owned and operated a residential construction company for 15 years. The combination gives him 30 years of experience with residential and light commercial buildings. In addition to home inspections, for the past 11 years Bill and his partners have operated a school training home inspectors and teaching building code to inspectors and builders. Bill’s company Edifice Inspections, Inc. conducts home inspections in the North Georgia area. Visit his company website at, send him an E-mail, or call his office at
(770) 594-2222 for more information.

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