Fine Tooth Home Inspections
Fine Tooth Home Inspections

Sellers Guide

What is a professional home inspection?
A professional home inspection is a primarily visual examination of the visible, safely accessible, and readily accessible components of the interior, exterior, structural, roof, electrical, heating, cooling and plumbing systems including their related components for conditions which currently adversely affect or have the potential to adversely affect the normally intended function or operation of those systems and their components. The information that is developed from the inspection is documented in a written report along with recommendations for appropriate actions to address the conditions noted in the report and this report is presented to the inspector’s customer.
What does an inspector do?
While each inspector will bring a unique point of view to an inspection, all professional home inspectors cover the same areas. They will inspect the exterior when it is safe to do so including walking the roof to inspect the roof covering materials and the other components above the roof line. They will examine the foundations, gutters, downspouts, chimneys, grading, drainage, balconies, decks, porches, patios, exterior wall claddings, walkways, driveways, and other exterior components.

They will inspect the plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling systems including the operation of plumbing fixtures and water heaters. Inspectors examine the interiors of electrical system main and sub distribution panels and the operation of heating and cooling equipment including, in some instances, removing of heating and cooling equipment access panels to permit closer examination of interior components.

They will inspect solid-fuel heating appliances such as woodstoves and fireplaces. Inspectors may enter under-building crawl spaces and attic spaces; open closets, cabinets and cupboards; and enter and inspect every room of the home including garages and the function of automatic garage door operators. A thorough professional home inspection of a typical home may take from two to four hours and it is customary for the buyer to accompany the inspector for part or all of the inspection.      

Will I receive a copy of the inspection report?
According to the Arizona Residential Resale Purchase Contract, both real estate agents and both brokers involved with the transaction are entitled to a copy of the report. If you would like to see the report please contact your agent. Please keep in mind the report belongs to the company that performed the inspection and the client whose name appears on it. The use by any other person is prohibited. This means that you can view the report and use it to make any necessary repairs, but you cannot use it for any other purposes including any other buyers.

Can my home “fail” the inspection?
Professional inspectors do not “rate” or “grade” homes against some ideal standard of condition and a home cannot “pass” or “fail” an inspection. The inspection report simply documents the conditions noted in the course of the inspection and provides recommendations for appropriate actions to address those conditions. Depending on what the inspector finds, the inspector’s recommendations may range from simply monitoring some conditions to addressing others as normal maintenance items to recommending immediate attention for some others. A professional home inspector is a disinterested third party and does not get involved in any negotiations between buyers and sellers and does not assign responsibility to either buyers or sellers regarding who is responsible for any recommended corrective measures.

Should I be present during the inspection?
While it may not always be practical, it is better for sellers and occupants to be away during the inspection and in most cases sellers or occupants are not present during the inspection. The inspection is the buyer’s time to become familiar with the home under the guidance of the inspector. Buyers typically feel more at ease when they are free to ask the inspector questions or to make comments and observations in an uninhibited atmosphere. If you need to leave special instructions for the inspector, they are best communicated through your agent or the inspector beforehand. A secondary option is to leave written instructions for the inspector. If you must be home during the inspection, keep in mind that the buyer is paying for the inspector’s time and expertise. Following along or chatting with the inspector or buyer consumes their time and it may make the buyer uncomfortable. It is always best to go about your normal daily routine and allow the inspector and the buyer to proceed through the house unaccompanied and uninterrupted throughout the entire inspection.

Should I prepare my home for an inspection?
Absolutely. When your home is properly prepared for an inspection, everyone benefits. It reduces the time required to conduct the inspection resulting in less inconvenience and fewer disruptions for you. It makes it easier for the inspector and shows consideration for the buyer’s time as well.

What should I do to prepare my home for an inspection?
Remove obstacles such as personal property that may block the inspector’s access to the following: -Electrical panels -Heating and cooling equipment -Water heaters -Fireplaces -Under-building crawl space access -Attic space access through closets or garage -Electrical outlets, especially ground fault interrupter type -Under-sink areas -Kitchen sinks -Dishwashers -Ranges and ovens -Basement access -Garage access
Remove locks, unlock doors and gates, or provide keys or other means of access so that the inspector can have access to yards, storage rooms, electrical panels, etc. Take measures to kennel, cage or otherwise remove pets that cannot be let out, that may harm the inspector or others present at the inspection, or that may be harmed by the inspection.

All space heating and water heating equipment should be operational. This means that standing pilot lights must be lit and gas valves for installed appliances must be open. All water, gas and electrical systems must be operational. If the inspector finds electrical circuit breakers in the off position, standing pilot lights unlit, or gas valves, water stops or main water supply valves shut off or other essential or major component controls disabled, the inspector will assume that they are malfunctioning or inoperable and the written report will state that operational status is presently indeterminable.

If the inspector operates a light switch for a permanently installed light fixture and the fixture has a burned out light bulb or no light bulb at all, the inspection report will state that the light was inoperable and will recommend further evaluation by a qualified electrician. To avoid this, replace burned out light bulbs or missing light bulbs in permanent light fixtures before the inspection.

Having clean eave gutters, properly extended downspouts, a roof that is in good repair, a clean furnace/air conditioning system filter, and intact cover plates on all electrical switches and receptacle outlets are among the things that reduce the number of conditions an inspector will have to report.
Although inspectors are not there to perform a “white glove” inspection, an environment that is neat and easy to maneuver in will present your home’s “best face” to the buyer and will make the entire inspection process easier for everyone.

What about after the inspection?

Your agent or representative will assist you in the process after the inspection. Remember, competent professional home inspectors provide their customers with unbiased and clear information. They put the conditions noted in the course of their inspections in perspective. This allows buyers to make calm and informed decisions about the information in the inspection report. Experience has shown that most buyers are not obsessive perfectionists. Unless there are significant conditions which require immediate modifications or corrective measures, they typically understand that your home is where people just like them live and they anticipate a reasonable amount of normal wear and tear and minor deferred maintenance.

What about an inspection prior to listing?
A pre-listing home inspection is an effective tool for a seller. The inspection report documents adverse conditions or potentially adverse conditions which may have been previously unknown to you. After your inspection you can make an informed decision regarding whether or not to take corrective measures or make improvements to the house prior to listing.

An inspection report and any documentation of repairs allows potential buyers get a more accurate understanding of the home and shows them you are up front and honest about the condition of your home.