A home inspection can take as long as three hours. With busy schedules to keep and reports to prepare, home inspectors try their hardest to be on time. Often, inspectors are early. A good rule of thumb is to be ready half an hour before the appointment time. Remember as well that inspectors often think little of starting early around the outside of the property, without your knowing they are even there.
Leave keys to all locked utility boxes and doors. Inaccessible systems are cause for incomplete inspections and delays. Arrange a place for the inspector to find the keys, or provide them ahead of time.
Keep utilities connected
If the property is unoccupied, be sure all utilities — electricity, gas, oil, water–are connected and filled enough for appliances to run. The home inspector will need to test heating and cooling systems, plumbing, appliances, faucets, electrical systems and more. Without utilities, required testing cannot be done. The result is an incomplete inspection. Incomplete inspections will delay the release of the home inspection contingency clause, which, in turn, will delay closing.
Keep pilot lights lit
For liability reasons, home inspectors will not light pilot lights on stoves, furnaces and water heaters. When pilot lights are not lit, inspections are rendered incomplete. Delays ensue.
Clear workspace around systems
Home inspectors need adequate room to access appliances, electrical panels and heating and cooling units. Remove boxes, stored items and debris from these areas; at least three feet of workspace is recommended.
Provide access to additional spaces
Attics, garages, sheds, basements and crawlspaces need to be accessible to the home inspector. Clear away any blockages and make sure doors can be opened (unlock if necessary). This includes accessing inspection hatches for bathtubs, water meters and shutoff valves.
Remove appliance contents.
Dishwashers and washing machines are subject to the home inspection and will be run. Even if an appliance is not included in the sale, inspectors will run your machine to ensure that the plumbing, venting and electrical supplies are in working order.
Clear exterior clutter and debris
Foundations, outside electrical outlets and faucets are a few of the items inspectors will want to see outside. Remove trash cans, trim branches and brush, dispose of dead limbs and clear an accessible path around the home, especially in winter. Again, the inspection will be easier, but the appearance of your house will improve as well.
Collect receipts for repairs
Leave receipts and repair invoices for anything you have had fixed in the home. This shows proof of upkeep and answers to many questions an inspector may have.
If possible, take your pets with you or have them boarded elsewhere for the day. At the very least, secure animals in crates, kennels or leads far away from any area where the inspector will be. Avoid an incomplete inspection, pet loss or liability resulting from nervous pets.
Plan to leave for at least three hours. This includes children and other home occupants. Inspectors are often accompanied by buyers, and both will want uninhibited, free access to ask questions and explore the home.