Prepare for the home inspection.

ACCESSIBILITY is essential

  • The inspector won’t move personal belongings, furniture, and stored items, or clear vegetation from exterior walls.
  • As much as possible, trim trees and bushes 6″ – 12″ away from outside walls and the roof.
  • Garages can be cluttered. Moving stuff away from interior garage walls, the electrical panel, and major appliances will make sure these vital components are inspected.

UTILITIES need to be on

  • If the home is vacant, and it is safe to do so, turn on the main utilities and systems before the inspector arrives. This includes electricity and water, and if applicable, propane.
TIP: After the water has been on for several hours, go back to check for unexpected leaks.
  • Check the electrical panel—be sure the breakers are in the ON position and none are tripped.
  • In the event something was shut off due to safety or damage, the inspector does not switch on (energize) electrical breakers or open plumbing valves.
Wild Rivers Inspections advises you not turn on any device or fixture if you don’t know why it’s off or how to turn it on safely. If you’re not sure, consult with a qualified professional–especially when working with plumbing or electricity.

APPLIANCES should work

A water heater correctly strapped.
In this area, a water heater should be strapped to prevent it from falling during an earthquake or tsunami.
  • Use the remote to test the automatic garage door and make sure the automatic reverse works as intended.
  • Turn on the stove’s burners and the oven to see that they heat up.
TIP: Run the oven’s self-cleaning function. You’ll know the oven works and it will be clean!
  • Look for leaks, corrosion, and wet areas around the laundry connections.
Contact a licensed plumber if:
  • the water heater isn’t properly strapped (1 strap in the top third and 1 strap in the bottom third).
  • you’re not sure about the TPRV.
  • there are signs of corrosion or leaks.
Not being strapped, along with an improperly installed TPRV (temperature pressure relief valve) are two water heater issues commonly found during a home inspection.

EXTERIOR = curb appeal

Uneven steps to door with plants in the way.
Are the steps safe and stable?
  • Make sure gutters are clean, intact, and downspouts are connected.
  • Check deck, driveway, and walkways for tripping hazards, loose railings, and broken boards or steps.
  • TIP: If there are concerns about the deck, we recommend it be checked by a specialist.
  • Remove soil or mulch from contact with the home’s siding.
  • Trim trees, roots, and bushes away from the foundation, walls, and the roof.
Rain gutters full of plants, moss, and debris
Clean the gutter garden!

INTERIOR components

  • Make sure areas around doorways, windows, and closets are accessible.
  • Make sure doors and windows open and close smoothly and properly.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms; install new ones if needed.
  • Check that bathroom fans vent properly and work as intended.
  • Check doors to see that they open/close properly and the locks work.


Heating & Air Conditioning

  • Clean or replace system filters.
  • Sweep the fireplace and/or woodstove chimney.
  • Get the HVAC system serviced and provide potential buyers with its maintenance records.
A fire in a wood burning stove.
Clean the glass in the wood stove door.
Items in the garage that are blocking access to the electrical panel.
Leave 3-ft. of space around the service panel.


  • Have three feet of clear space around each electrical panel so the inspector can remove the covers.
  • Replace burned out or missing light bulbs for inside and outside lighting.
  • Replace broken and missing plug and switch plate covers.
  • Ensure GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) receptacles are functional and installed where needed.


  • Repair leaks and broken components such as loose faucet handles, inoperable sink stoppers, and vent fans.
  • Move belongings from under the bathroom and kitchen sinks so plumbing is not blocked.
TIP: place items in easy to move containers so they can be quickly removed on inspection day.
  • Ensure fixtures, such as toilets, tubs, showers, and sinks fill and drain properly.

OTHER AREAS: the basement, crawlspace, or attic

  • Move belongings that not only block access but the view beyond the opening.
  • Check the attic and crawlspace or basement for signs of pests and other animals. If there are signs of activity, have a professional pest control company do an inspection and treat any problems.
  • Make sure the crawlspace is accessible and remove wood and other debris from the area.
A wet crawlspace may be a sign of poor drainage around the home.
Access to an attic is blocked and can hinder a home inspection..
To access the attic, the inspector will need a place to put a ladder.

PETS are part of this too!

Adorable Collie wondering what is happening.
What's goin' on?
  • It’s important for us to know if there are pets in the home or yard.
  • Besides the chance of pets escaping, the inspector typically tests the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, which can be distressing to indoor pets.
Please be sure to secure pets or remove them from the premises.