Preparing for a home inspection doesn't have to just be a job for the homeowner. A listing agent can help take some of that pressure off the homeowner by helping to get the home ready for its inspection.
Your job as the realtor in the home inspection process is to help alleviate conflict and negotiations. A home inspection plays a big part in placing a value on your client’s home; issues that surface during the inspection will most likely be used against the seller/homeowner by the proposing buyer as leverage, your main job is to stop your client from falling into the trap of taking a lower price for their home. You should provide guidance to your client to help them understand how to confront inspection-discovered issues and what things they should thoroughly be prepared for before the inspection to avoid devaluing problems.
Allowing the inspector to have access to all areas of your client’s home is very important. The attic, basement, garage, and crawlspaces should all be easily accessible for the home inspector. Any mechanical appliances in the home like the electric panel, water heater, and furnace should also have a clear path leading to them. A part of the home inspection will be to check the interior and exterior walls in the home for cracks, because of this furniture should be moved away from the walls to create a path for the inspectors—this also applied to closet spaces—and bushes or other plants should be trimmed back away from the home.
Known defects must be disclosed to a potential buyer—unless they have been satisfactorily corrected. If there are major defects and the seller has the means, having the repairs done before the inspection can provide the buyer with less negotiating room and help them from being “scared off” from the purchase. If the homeowner has ever done any of their own electrical work on the house, this should be checked out by a professional to make sure it was completed up to code before the home inspection. GFI outlets in the kitchen and bathrooms are included in this as well. This holds true for any major upgrades and replacements as a home inspector will look to verify parts of the home are up to code requirements and safe to live in.
Any signs of a leaky faucet, running toilet or slowed drain should also be fixed prior to the home inspection. Any rotting exterior wood found - even if it isn't harming the structure of the home should also be handled. Signs of prior major damage should be addressed to prevent the inspector from assuming the worst. Common signs of damage are stains on the ceiling. To an inspector, a ceiling stain could show potential water damage (and potential mold infestation) and may be noted on the inspection as a potential concern. Water damage in a home is a major value depletory and any sign of a ceiling stain must be handled before the home inspection. The more you fix, replace, or upgrade, the more your home will be satisfactory—not just to a home inspector, but to potential buyers.
As a buyer agent, you could be asked by your client to attend the home inspection. This is not a bad idea because as an agent you could be more aware of any mishaps that may be pointed out by the home inspector. Attending home inspections also provides you with more experience and knowledge of what to look out for when future clients have questions about the inspection process. Things like common issues, specific issues that are prone to certain areas, and different neighborhood issues could all become common knowledge to you. Although, there are pros and cons to attending the inspection and these should be weighed out based on the home and preference of you and the client before you attend the home inspection.