Avoid Surprises When Selling: Here’s What to Do Before Your House Inspection

You’ve accepted an offer on your home, but suddenly your dreams of a smooth transaction are shattered by a home inspection report. The buyers are requesting over a dozen repairs and say they will walk if the issues aren’t addressed.

Even in a seller’s market, the thought of starting all over again is less than appealing. Besides, the next buyers may ask for the same repairs. You can market your home “as is,” but may be leaving some money on the table.

There’s a better solution. Prior to putting your home on the market, do some inspecting—and repairing—of your own. That way, you can address all the obvious issues before the professional shows up.

Here is a checklist of items to focus on:


HVAC. If it’s been awhile since you’ve had the system inspected, consider doing so. Be sure all filters have been changed, even if it isn’t time to do so.

Electrical. Spend a few bucks on an outlet tester from a local home supply store. Be sure all outlets are working. Switch and outlet covers should be free of cracks. Be sure the electrical box is ready accessible.

Tub Surrounds/Showers. Repair any issues with grout or caulking. Inspectors often flag cracks in these areas.

Plumbing. Check that sinks are draining properly by filling them partway, then releasing the stopper. Slow drains may benefit from having the P-trap under the sink cleaned out.

Bathrooms. Be sure toilets are flushing properly. Leaking sounds can typically be solved by replacing the flapper valve, an easy and inexpensive fix. Be sure all toilets are securely mounted and can’t be moved side to side.

Detectors. Replace the batteries if your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are not hardwired. Test to be sure each is operable.

Stairways. Be sure the baluster system is secure. Repair any loose parts.

Lighting and Fans. Be sure all overhead lights and fans are operable, changing bulbs as necessary.

Kitchen. In addition to checking the plumbing, be sure all appliances that will convey are in good working condition. This includes the vent, vent light and garbage disposal.

Windows. Be sure all windows can be opened, locked and unlocked easily. Glides and tracks can be cleaned if windows stick. If the problem persists, try using a clear silicone spray, available at your local home supply store.

Walls and Ceilings. Check for any cracks or moisture stains and make repairs as needed.


Windows, doors and caulking. Damaged or cracked windows or screens need to be repaired. Windows with foggy glass likely have broken seals, something the inspector will note. Look for cracked or missing caulking around windows and doors, replacing as necessary.

Drainage. Be sure the ground slopes away from the home on all sides. If not, some shovel work could be necessary.

Gutters. Cleaning out gutters is an easy chore and helps to project a well-maintained home overall.

Air conditioner. Be sure the outside of your air conditioner unit is free of any debris or overgrowth.

Paint, siding and trim. Phoenix weather can be very hard on exterior paint. Touch up cracked and peeling paint. Secure any loose siding and replace any broken pieces.

Decks and fences. Look for loose boards and nails. Apply stain or paint as needed.

Garage door. Check that it is operating correctly, replace any damaged panels.

Roof. This is one of those big ticket items. It’s advisable to take care of any loose tiles or other issues prior to listing your home. The same goes if your home’s roof is in need of major repair or replacement.

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