Here Are 13 Steps To A Smooth Home InspectionYou’re in the final stretch of the home-selling process and the home inspection is not the time when you want things to go wrong. Here, Bill Root of Roots Home Inspection in Union County, NJ gives us the 13 steps to a smooth home inspection:

1. Provide access to the property to be inspected. All doors should be unlocked or the key/garage door openers should be readily available. I can’t tell you how many times we had limited access to areas of the house because of locked and inaccessible areas that were not opened at the time of inspection

2. Be there on time. Everyone has a schedule to adhere to and disrupting timing does not make the process go smoothly. If the seller is required to provide access to property, be there and have the house ready on time. If the seller will not be there and the realtor is using a lock box to enter, timing is still important. The inspectors, contractors and buyers have schedules to keep. Tardiness can create stress on all involved!

3. Check that the gas, water, and electric utilities are on. This is a special concern in vacant or multifamily residences. Frequently, inspections are canceled and deals fall apart because sellers do not have the utilities turned on.

4. Check that all pilot lights are lit, hot water tanks and heating systems are operational, the appliances are connected, and that all water valves are on. Home inspectors cannot light these or turn on valves.

5. Remove pots and pans and cooking equipment from the stove or oven. Remove dishes and clutter from kitchen countertops and sinks. Same in the bathrooms. Remove clothes from washer and dryer. We have been on many inspections where these common sense items have not been taken care of.

6. Pet pitfalls. Barking or/and jumping dogs make it difficult for the home inspector to do his job. Buyers have all different opinions and fears when it has to do with animals. It’s best to remove the pet or at least secure him during the home-inspection process. Buyers, realtors and home inspectors do not enjoy stepping in animal waste in the yard.

7. Disarm the alarm system. Appearances by police and/or fire company are disruptive during inspections. We want to focus on the inspection.The added excitement of the alarm going off and needing to be reset puts everyone on edge and it’s not productive.

8. Provide access to hatches and crawl spaces. We can’t inspect it if we can’t get to it. Sometimes access to an attic or crawlspace is through a hatch in a closet ceiling or floor. Make sure this hatch is accessible and that it is not sealed prior to inspection. Clear out the contents if necessary to facilitate access. We can’t remove nails or seals or move around storage. We come with a ladder but we need to be able to get to the hatch.

9. Provide related documentation. It is helpful to provide the inspector with paperwork from recent repairs and/or replacements. This includes but is not limited to major items such as roofing, foundation, heating systems, basement waterproofing, electrical and plumbing. Other documents such as seller’s disclosure, previous inspection reports and engineering reports should also be provided. NOTE: Once the house is purchased all of these receipts and reports should be transferred to the buyer to be stored in his/her records.

10. More on access. (Heating systems, air-conditioning condenser, hot water heaters). We need to be up close and personal with all of these units. If there is clutter or stored items, remove them prior to inspection. Seller needs to clear access so we can complete a thorough inspection.

11. Don’t run water during the inspection. Running a dishwasher, washing machine, showering, car washing, and/or lawn watering are all disruptive to the inspectors testing procedures.

12. Clean up the house. This is the buyer’s time to get a real good look at the house and a smelly, dirty house is a turn-off. Sellers should strive to keep buyers’ impressions of the property positive. Replace all burned-out lightbulbs so there is proper illumination.

13. Control children. During the home inspection the full attention of the inspector and buyer is required. Children should not be at the inspection.

Allison Ziefert is Maplewood, NJ based realtor and the #1 individual real estate agent at Keller Williams Mid-Town Direct in Maplewood, NJ. A local market expert, Allison specializes Maplewood, NJ real estate and homes and South Orange, NJ real estate and homes as well as Millburn/Short Hills, NJ, West Orange, NJ and surrounding towns. Allison’s success as a Maplewood/S. Orange realtor is driven by earning great testimonials from sellers and buyers of homes her marketplace. You can read her testimonials at