The Essential Baker’s Dozen for a Smoother Home Inspection Process

For some time now I have wanted to put together a long list of all the things that a seller should consider doing to get their home ready for the home inspection.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized my list was starting to look more like my 120,000 item report template, than a “to-do” list for a seller to get ready for the inspection.

And then I got to thinking–if sellers actually did all those things then I wouldn’t have a job!  Well, I don’t “really” believe that–based on what I know about how things get fixed–it might actually amount to more job security.

Anyway, I decided I would stick to the basics.

unclefesterHere is my list of just a Dozen Essential Things that the seller should do in order for the inspector to do the job they were hired to do.  With these things done, the inspector will be able to figure out all the rest.

1.Make sure the water is on (I get thirsty and my buyer likes to know if the toilets work).

2.Make sure the electricity is on (now that is a bright idea.)

3.Make sure the gas is turned on (this includes propane in propane tanks and oil in the oil tanks–it is good to have gas now and then.)

4.Make sure there is clear access to all electrical panels (if there is a mirror covering it, please remove it so I don’t have to worry about breaking it–it is easy enough as it is to have bad luck, and I own enough mirrors broken or otherwise).

5.Make sure there is clear access to all crawl spaces (this means unlocked too).

6.Make sure there is clear access to all attics (this means NOT painted shut and it means closets emptied–unless you want rat doo and insulation on your wedding dress and Armani suit–and make sure there is nothing I can hit my head on).

7.Make sure keys are left available to any locked spaces (that means the combinations to locks if necessary).

8.Seller should leave a phone number so that they can be reached if additional information is needed (this is way better than them actually being there).

9.Turn off all computersthey may be on circuits that need to be tested (the data you lose could be your own).

10.Take the pets to cousin Vinnie’sor if that is not possible at least make sure they are safe and won’t limit the inspection in any way (I have never bitten a dog–or crushed a cat under the garage door–yet).dozen2

11.Drive the Porsche to workand leave the Datsun in the driveway–if either one is in the garage I won’t be able to inspect the overhead door (I hate door openers that fail under testing).

12.Be prepared to stay away from home for 3 to 5 hours (but be aware that the inspection will take as long as it takes and remember–that you would not anyone following you around if you were a buyer).

Lets make it a “Bakers Dozen.”

13. Clear access to furnace and all appliances.


By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle


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  1. bill siegel says

    Number 14: disclose anything that is broken or not working properly. I recently had to ask a seller where the switch was t the sprinkler (it was hidden). She was not there so the realtor called her. She did not bother to tell us that the sprinkler valve was split. The realtor had left the door open. When we turned it on water sprayed into the house all over her couch and wood floors.

    • Charles Buell says

      Bill, while that would be nice–that is supposed to be covered by the disclosure statement—but that is typically a meaningless document in many ways. I don’t test sprinkler systems 🙂

  2. Charles, I could not agree more. Can’t even tell you how many times I have that happen. I don’t mind moving a few things but you know the rule, you break it…you buy it! Great post, always enjoy reading them.

  3. Great list Charles, thanks for he info. Hope you don’t mind if I share it with my connections. I always look forward to your articles and thoughts. Highlight of my inbox every time I see your name. Thank you so much for your help and knowledge.

  4. Great list Charles, thanks for putting it together. Is it alright if I share it with my connections? I always look forward to your articles and posts. It’s the highlight of my inbox.
    Thanks for all of your advice and knowledge. Cheers.

  5. Nice wish list Bill, reminds me of something children would write to Santa about. Chance of the seller actually seeing it and responding is about the same as well. I usually find that the sellers who would respond to this list already have because they had a real Realtor already explain these items to them. It’s the ones who have used a RINO (not a Republican though not much difference). The very worst are REO’s and no need to make a list for them, there’s a reason why they are REO’s.

  6. Norman Emery says

    Why would a car in the garage (1 or 2 car) limit your inspection of door?

    • Charles Buell says

      Norman, testing protocols put stresses on the door that could result in collapse of an improperly installed door. Therefor, it is recommended as part of those protocols to NOT test reversing mechanism on doors with vehicles that might then be damaged if a problem arises. I use some judgement about this, but if it a Porche or and antique Model-T, it is just not worth the risk—even if that risk is small.


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