Seller’s Checklist


...what if they find something wrong?


Over the years, professional home inspectors have identified a list of problems that typically

appear on purchasers’ home inspection reports. Early correction of these problems can increase a

home’s appeal, and it’s selling price. Correction also sets the stage for a favorable home inspection

report should the purchaser request one, and thereby helps to streamline your sale. The following

checklist can help you achieve your marketing goals.


Using the checklist as a guide to examine your house will enable you to see your house the way

a prospective purchaser or a professional home inspector might.


o Is your home physically fit? To give your home a competitive edge when it’s time to sell,

make sure it is in good physical condition. This not only makes your house more attractive

and desirable, it also simplifies or eliminates the negotiation process when the time comes

for the buyer’s pre-purchase inspection.


o According to home inspection experts everywhere, approximately half of the resale homes

on the market today have at least one significant defect. Routine maintenance is the best

way to prevent major costly problems from developing in the first place. So, if you’ve been

putting off repairs, now is the time to catch up, as quick as you can!


o To identify which components are most in need of repair, many sellers now enlist

professional home inspectors before putting up the ’For Sale’ sign.


What is a home inspection?

A professional home inspection is an objective, in-depth visual examination of a home’s structure

and operating systems, and should result in a detailed report describing the condition of the home.

The main intent of a home inspection is to educate the client as to the physical condition of the


No house is perfect, and a home inspection is not intended to identify every little blemish or

minute surface imperfection. The conscientious home inspector tries to discover if there are

major defects in a home that the client, and perhaps no one else, is aware of, and should

also point out the positive aspects of a house. A good or better than average report can be

a good marketing tool for the client and their agents.


Print this list and check it twice:


Check the major systems.

After size, style and location, the home buyer.s primary concern is the condition of the basic structure and

major mechanical and electrical systems. Most buyers do not want to invest a great deal of money

correcting problems in such critical areas. A thorough investigation of the following major systems should

be made in order to determine if they are serviceable:


                 Roof structure and covering

                 Foundation, basement, and/or crawl space

                 Central heating and air conditioning systems

                 Electrical system

                 Plumbing system


Make maintenance improvements.

The maintenance improvements listed below are relatively easy and inexpensive to make, yet they can

substantially improve a home’s appearance, efficiency and comfort.


                 Trim trees and shrubs, which touch or overhang the house.

                 Apply new caulking and weather stripping as needed around windows and doors.

                 Clean gutters of debris and leaves, repair or replace cracked or broken gutters, downspouts and

             extensions to ensure proper drainage

                 Replace bathroom caulk or grout where necessary to prevent seepage and improve appearance.

                 Ventilate closed basements and crawl spaces, or install a dehumidifier to prevent excessive.

                 Re-grade soil around the house to prevent ponding of water next to the foundation

                 Replace dirty filters in the heating and ventilating systems

                 Have the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems professionally serviced

                 Have chimneys professionally cleaned & inspected, and install chimney hoods and caps as required.


Pay attention to details.

Fixing even minor items can go a long way toward improving that important first impression of your

home. Listed below are some improvements that you should consider:


                 Repair leaky faucets;

                 Tighten loose door knobs;

                 Replace damaged screens;

                 Replace broken panes of glass - cloudy sealed-pane units can often be replaced inexpensively, and

             will drastically improve the appearance of a window or patio door;

                 Replace burned-out light bulbs, and wherever possible, replace broken light fixtures;

                 Secure loose railings;

                 Patch small holes in walls and ceilings and repaint;

                 Repair or replace faded or peeling wallpaper; and

                 Repair and coat the driveway.


Take safety precautions.

Pay attention to items that protect the home and its occupants from danger. The following are important

safety precaution which home buyers will appreciate, are relatively easy to implement, cost effective, and

they’ll create a great impression!


                 Installing good quality smoke detectors in all bedrooms and in each hallway;

                 Installing a good quality carbon-monoxide detector;

                 Ensure adequate outdoor lighting, especially in suburban and rural locales;

                 ’GFCI’ outlets outdoors and in wet locations such as bath, kitchen & laundry areas;

                 Keep the stairwells tidy and free of debris and obstructions, and leave plenty of clearance around

             the garage door, electrical panel and furnace;

                 Keep flammables and combustibles away from the furnace and other utility areas;

                 If you have direct entry from the garage to the interior of the home, consider installing a selfclosing

             hinges or other form of auto-closure device on the door; and

                 If you do not have photo sensors on your garage door opener, check the ’down’ tension on garage

             door, to ensure that the door reverses without an excessive amount of pressure (typically 10 lbs

             will suffice).


Make cosmetic improvements.

An attractive, clean and tidy appearance will enhance your home’s appeal. In addition to making any

necessary repairs, remember to:


             • Keep the lawn mowed and the house ’picked-up’;

                 Clean the exterior walls & trim, and wash the windows squeaky clean;

                 Open the shades and curtains to create a bright, inviting atmosphere; and

                 Pay particular attention to the cleanliness and comfort of the kitchen and bathrooms as these

             rooms are what most prospective buyers base their decision on.


Prepare for the buyer’s inspection.

More and more purchasers are requesting pre-purchase inspections. It’s a good idea to assemble in

advance, the various house records that can be used to answer questions from the purchaser and their



You should try to have on hand:


                 Appliance receipts, service records and warranties;

                 Information on the age of major components such as the roof coverings, furnace, air-conditioner,


                 Major component warranties (e.g. roofing, siding, windows, carpeting furnace and other

             appliances); and

                 Heating, water and electric bills from at least the past 12 months (Remember, you can obtain this

             information from your local service providers).


How did your house make out?

Hopefully, this home seller’s checklist has helped you gain the expertise knowledge of your home’s overall

condition… from a buyer’s perspective. Now, you are prepared to make the necessary repairs or

improvements that will increase your home’s marketability. And remember, you ARE marketing your

house… you probably wouldn’t try to sell your car without making it clean and ready for sale. It just makes

good sense! Of course, even if your house is already in optimum condition, a professional home

inspection can also be a good marketing tool. Just leave a copy of the report on the kitchen table for

agents and purchasers to read.