Preparing Your Home for Inspection: The Ultimate Checklist

Picture this, you've taken the time to clean, organize, and get your place in 'showcase' ready condition. Your Calgary Real Estate REP Agent has given you advice on how to stage properly, you're approved with our mortgage partner to get a bigger home, and your home is ready to hit the market and to get sold!

Visit the Calgary Home Inspector website to view a sample Home Inspection report. 

You sit back, keep the home ready for showings, and let us get your home in front of as many qualified buyers as possible. You start planning your move, go out and see a few homes on your list, and next thing you know, you have an offer to purchase your home! The buyers have only one condition, a satisfactory home inspection. You think to yourself "We've lived here for many years without issue, our house is in great condition, this is a done deal" Just a few hours after the inspection comes in, you get a message saying that the potential buyers have found quite a few problems that the home inspector found during their inspection, and they'd like to see all of these fixed, or they're walking away, or possibly asking for thousands off the purchase price. Unfortunately, this does happen in the industry and during a real estate transaction, luckily, it's easily avoidable!

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There are two options to avoid this this scenario, the first being that you hire a home inspector before the sale of your home, have them go through your property, and produce a pre-listing home inspection to identify and possible address any issues. The second option is to utilize our checklist (and blog details below) to perform this inspection yourself. While we always recommend a professional home inspector when purchasing a home, not all home owners need to hire one in preparation of selling their home. Many issues that come up in a home inspection may be a big deal to buyers, but can often be minor repairs that a seller can perform and fix, the compound effect of having many small issues can translate to a 'problem house' to buyers that may not be fully informed. 

Why Preparing for a Home Inspection is Crucial

A home inspection can often be the deciding factor for potential buyers. It's an in-depth assessment of your property's current state, highlighting both its strengths and areas needing attention. While many homeowners believe their homes are in top condition, a professional inspector might pinpoint issues that were previously overlooked. By adequately preparing for this evaluation, you can address minor problems beforehand, potentially saving money and ensuring a smoother transaction.

Calgary home inspection checklists

Below is a list of OVER 20 items that you should check in both the exterior and interior before your home is ready to be inspected and sold. 

1. Siding & Trim - Holes in the siding? Damage? Missing pieces? These are issues that are consistently flagged in home inspections. Take notice when replacing and fixing siding, make sure it's matched accurately to the current siding.

2. Paint -  Exterior paint can leave a lasting impression in both good and bad ways! Depending on your home size, and layout, a quick paint job can provide comfort to buyers. If you're noticing bubbling paint, chips, cracks, we'd definitely recommend remedying this and keeping it off the home inspection list.

3. Roof - At the top of the list for many, a roof that's in poor condition can be a major deal breaker for some buyers. If your roof is in disrepair and needs to be replaced, it's advised you price your home accordingly and mention this in negotiations before you come to an agreement. However, if it's just minor issues or repairs, we recommend having a professional jumping in and obtaining an estimate, if this becomes an issue you know the cost and can negotiate proactively.

4. Gutters - Seen by many as more of a chore or to-do item for routine maintenance of your home, dirty/clogged gutters can sometimes be forgotten and unattended. In a home inspection though they'll be flagged, and buyers may perceive that your home in general isn't maintained properly, a quick cleaning removes this doubt / stress. 

5. Garage Door - For those who use their garages daily, this might be a quick scratch off your list, as you know it works properly day to day, but if you're not actively using your garage, make sure you test it out, ensure both the open/close function properly, the safety sensors work, and that your remotes are operating properly. A home inspector will test the functionality of garage doors and it's a simple check box to tick off and avoid coming up on the list. 

6. Drainage - The drainage, or lack thereof on a property comes up quite frequently, pooling water can be a major flag on an inspection, any run off or rain water should be directed away from the house, through proper landscaping and downspout setup. This can become of particular importance for the interior portion of the home inspection, our inspectors utilize moisture detection and thermal imaging, if water is being funneled into a home, it could be capturing that moisture and if it makes the home inspection list, you could have some seriously put off buyers. 

7. Windows - Broken, damaged, or non functional windows are a major eye sore and concern for buyers, they should be fixed before listing a home. A more minor issue is foggy windows, these are windows that have multiple panels, which are sealed with gas, once the seal goes, you may find the windows fogging up, you could consider keeping this off your home inspection list by having them repaired. 

8. Fences -  Are there missing boards, a leaning fence, or unfinished/unpainted sections? Generally speaking, if your fence is already constructed, the maintenance and repairs to bring it up to par is pretty easy and will be a quick fix on the list of exterior touch ups. 

9. Decks - From loose railings, to rotted out pieces, your deck may need some maintenance and repairs. Give your deck a thorough inspection, look for minor touch ups including bulging / raised nails, pieces that need to be secured better, and replacing sections that have rotted or become damaged. 

10. Caulking - One of the biggest barriers to preventing extreme weather from penetrating into your home, proper caulking and seals are vital to keeping moisture out and home inspectors away. The good news? Caulking is definitely one of the easier Exterior DIY fixes! Don't cheap out on the caulking you use, and make sure it works for the surface types you'll be covering. 

11. Insulation and Ventilation - While not always immediately visible, poor insulation can have long-term impacts on a home's heating and cooling efficiency. A thorough home inspection should include checking the insulation in the attic, crawl spaces, and exterior walls. Proper ventilation prevents moisture build-up, which can lead to mold or structural damage over time.

12. Doors and Windows  - Just as with windows mentioned in the exterior checklist, interior doors and windows should be fully functional. This includes checking for drafts, broken latches, or misaligned doors that don't close properly.

13. Flooring -While you mentioned loose or missing flooring, it's also essential to check for squeaky floorboards, uneven sections, or damaged tiles that might need replacement or repair.

14. Basement and Crawl Spaces These areas can be a hotspot for dampness, mold, or even foundation issues. Inspectors should look for any signs of water damage, adequate ventilation, and ensure that the foundation walls and floors show no cracks or instability.

15. Walls and Ceilings - Check for any signs of water stains, cracks, or sagging, which could indicate potential structural or water damage.

16. Fireplaces - If the home has a fireplace, its structural integrity, ventilation, and overall condition should be inspected. This includes checking for creosote buildup in chimneys which can be a fire hazard.

17. Carbon Monoxide: In addition to safety alarms for carbon monoxide, make sure that there aren't any potential sources of CO buildup in the house. This includes ensuring proper ventilation for furnaces and water heaters.

18. Water Heater: Ensure that the water heater is functioning correctly, isn't leaking, and meets the necessary safety standards. Its age and maintenance history can also be of interest to potential buyers.

19. Lead Paint: For homes built before 1978, checking for the presence of lead-based paint can be crucial. While it might not be a concern for newer homes, older property buyers would want to be assured that either there is no lead paint or it's been remediated.

20. Radon: It's becoming more common for homeowners and buyers to be concerned about radon levels in a home. Consider doing a radon test, especially if your area is known for higher radon levels.


Interior Home Inspection Items 

1. Shower & Tubs - Cracked grout, tiles, leaking faucets, water stains, no caulking, all make the list of concerns on a home inspection list - Many of these are easy DIY fixes that will bring your buyers home inspection list of flagged items down to a minimal amount in the bathrooms. 

2. Toilets -  Running toilets, leaking toilets, and wobbling are all common issues that are flagged in a home inspection, if your toilet has seen better days, it's one of the more inexpensive fixes that can bring some life back into your bathroom and disrupt any 

3. Plumbing - Home inspectors will fill your tubs and sinks to evaluate how well they drain, they'll also check on the overflow drains to ensure they're functioning, keeping a keen eye for any visible leaks. If your plumbing has any leaks, struggles to drain, or are constantly dripping, it might be worth investing a little time into checking your P-Traps, replacing seals, and cleaning out drains with a snake or plunger. 

4. Electrical - Many Calgary home inspectors will flag particular items in a home that may have been up to code during build, but are presently not to code. For example, you may have an outlet near your sink in the kitchen that is just your standard outlet, to be code to current standards, you would need to have a GFCI outlet installed. While this, and many other fixes may not kill a deal, the 'compound' effect can have buyers falling less in love with the home and deal they've made. We recommend investing $10-$15 into an outlet tester, this will allow you to check and verify all outlets, replace any that aren't functioning, and 

5. Lighting - Burnt out bulbs could be one of the overall quickest fixes for your lighting setup, some home inspectors will flag lights that have bulbs burnt out, check all lights and ensure they're functioning.

6. Safety Alarms - If your home isn't equipped with safety alarms (Carbon Monoxide and Smoke) this should be a major priority on your list. High risk areas (kitchens, living rooms) should also be equipped and according to today's current code, all bedrooms should be equipped with safety alarms. 

7. Stairs - Check the stability and sturdiness of your stairs, a major cause for safety concerns, stairs should be stable and sturdy. 

8. Appliances - Starting with your washer and dryer, most home inspectors will run the appliances at the beginning of the home inspection to ensure proper function and execution, one of our home inspectors even brings along a towel to ensure the drying function actually performs as desired. In the kitchen, your fridge, hood fan, dishwasher, stove, and microwave will also be evaluated as well. Our home inspectors will utilize their heat detector (FLIR) to measure and ensure your burners and ovens are properly turning on and heating. 

9. HVAC - Starting with a simple check of your furnaces filter, home inspectors will run and test your heating and cooling systems. The dates and ages will be checked to determine remaining life or your systems. Thermostats will be tested, as well as fire and fuel burning heat sources. Duct work should be in good shape, no holes, and vents throughout the house should be clean of debris/items, and functioning. 

10. Pests -  Home inspectors will spot and pests in a home, especially rodents, if your home has a pest infestation, we recommend hiring a pest control company to come in and remove rid your home of these pests. A buyer spotting this during or after a showing can be a major cause for concern. 

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Want more Calgary Home Inspection Information? 

Read our latest blog at the Calgary Real Estate News Site where we provide a full Calgary home inspection guide on over 60 items of things that your home inspector will review. 

Some other quick Calgary Home Inspection tips to check off the repair checklist. 

Are the walkways and driveways in good condition? 

Is the electrical panel in good condition, are there overloaded lines/breakers?

Older homes with draining issues could benefit from a sewer scope to ensure the line to the cities drain is in good condition. 

Mold or mildew should have a plan to be remediated. 

Loose or missing flooring will be flagged. 

Ask if your home inspector utilizes a drone, our Calgary home inspection partners will often manually inspect a roof, but for those with major steeps, or poor accessibility, a drone is a perfect way to get a great understanding and visual confirmation of the condition and age of the roof. 

Moisture detectors will be used in wet rooms (bathrooms for example) measuring different spots throughout to ensure they aren't absorbing unwanted moisture. 

Posted by Cody Tritter on
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