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15 Things Home Inspectors Wish You Knew

Home inspections are a huge part of buying and selling a home. Remember, if you have an inspection before purchasing a house, the issues are the seller's, but if not, the buyer is responsible. As a seller, you may want to tackle obvious problems prior to the inspection. These tips from home inspectors will help you navigate the process.

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Check Your Water Heater

James Porter of Access Home Inspections notes that there should be a drain line connected to the TPR valve on your water heater. “If the water heater overheats, the valve will open and drain the water, otherwise the water heater can blow up,” notes Porter. “The drain tube should be visible within six inches of the floor.”

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Check for Water Near Your Foundation

According to Porter, six-foot downspout extensions are recommended to move water away from the foundation. No matter if you have a slab, basement or crawl space, water near your foundation is bad news for you and your home.

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Keep Your Gutters Clean

Even if you aren’t prepping your house to sell, gutter cleanliness is something you should be concerned about. Your gutters control the flow of water from your roof and protect not only your foundation, roof, insulation and walls, but also your lawn. Damage from gutters that aren’t properly functioning can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to repair.

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Safety-Proof Your Range

According to Porter, using range anti-tip brackets is crucial to preventing your range from tipping over if weight is put on the door. These brackets have been required from appliance manufacturers since 1991, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have one!

Have other range issues? Check out this guide to learn how to fix them.

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Double Check Your Dishwasher

“Although new dishwashers come from the manufacturer with the drain looped up at the side of the dishwasher, every installation manual still requires this high loop underneath the sink,” explains Porter. “Your dishwasher drain tube should go up above the bottom of the sink and down into the drain or garbage disposal.”

Check out these repair tips if your dishwasher isn’t getting the dishes clean.

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Cover Your Electrical Wires, Outlets and Switch Boxes

According to Porter, “Any electrical wiring that is not a factory-installed cord less than seven feet long should either be inside a wall or encased in conduit.”

This is the same for outlets and switch boxes. They have to be covered. It doesn’t just look better, it’s required.

Have an oversized electrical box outlet? You can fix that!

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Watch Out for Condensation

Whether on your chimney, your ceiling, around an air vent or on windows, this is likely the sign of a larger issue. Try to determine the reason for the excess moisture and remedy it, or call in a professional to diagnose and solve the problem.

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Look for Leaks

In general, it’s a good habit to regularly check your plumbing for leaks. Staying on top of plumbing issues can save you time and money when it comes time for a home inspection. It’s a good idea to do your own walk through before your inspector comes so that you’re not surprised by any repairs that are needed.

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Check Stair Handrails

According to Porter, a handrail is required if you have more than four steps — indoors and outside. Make sure handrails that are already in place are securely fastened.

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Check Your Dryer Vent

This is good practice even if you aren’t prepping for a home inspection because there are about 7,000 fires caused by dryers every year in the U.S. Check for tears and obstructions, and make sure everything is up to code. That’s one of the reasons why you should upgrade your dryer vent.

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Make Sure Wood is Stored Properly

Although this is something you might not think of, Porter notes that wood for a fireplace or wood-burning stove must be stored a minimum of three feet from your home. “Your firewood can attract wood-destroying insects such as termites and carpenter ants,” he says.

Check out these 9 myths about ants you need to stop believing!

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The Once-Over

This may seem obvious, but there are things a home inspector will check that you may not have actually used in a long time. “Check all of your windows, doors, the garage door sensor lights, etc.,” says Porter. Remember, your buyer will expect everything in the home to work!

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A Home Inspection is Not the Same as an Appraisal

The job of the home inspector is to check on the safety of the home and identify potential issues, not decide its market value. Here’s what you need to watch with a home appraisal.

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Home Inspectors Can’t Offer Advice on Buying the Home

You can’t ask a home inspector if they’d buy the house you’re looking at. But a home inspector can pinpoint the six signs your house is in trouble.

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Home Inspectors Aren’t Brought in to Help Negotiate the Price

The home inspector is there to report on the condition of the house, not to help the buyer with negotiations. Make sure you don’t do any of these 35 things if you’re trying to sell a house.

Julia K. Porter
Dr. Julia Porter has worked in Higher Education since 2008, following a career as a High School teacher in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a PhD in Global Leadership from Indiana Tech, an MA in English Literature from Brooklyn College, and a BS in English Education from Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI). She lives in Indiana with her husband, daughter, and rambunctious Australian Shepherd.