1) Check all smoke detectors for operation, batteries, covers, and service life. The standard life of a smoke detector is 10 years. Also, look for both the ionic and/or photoelectric operation of the smoke detectors. If your smoke detectors are not combination detectors, you may be insufficiently protected from a fire. If your smoke detectors are yellow that is a sign of an aged detector… replace it!
2) Check all lightbulbs for operation. Home inspectors will often not take the time to see if the bulb is the issue… they will simply write up the defect and suggest an inspection by an electrician… the prospective buyer sees another expense.
3) Make sure all air filters are new or clean. Dirty and clogged air filters reduce the efficiency of your HVAC systems. If you do not have at least a 14 degree (F) differential between your air supplies and returns, the home inspector WILL write up a defect and call for an inspection by a HVAC technician. A dirty filter can contribute to this.
4) Put all screens in operable windows. Missing screens are likely to be out by amateur or novice inspectors and amounts to another expense in your prospective buyer’s eyes, however most experienced home inspectors will not go looking for screens in windows.
5) Make sure all accesses to crawlspaces, attics, utilities, and appliances are clear. The last thing you want is for a buyer to have to call for a re-inspection because a home inspector could not access critical areas and utilities such as electric panels, water heaters, and all heating and cooling components.
6) Make sure all utilities are on as well as all breakers in your panels (especially to water heaters.) Also, make sure all appliances are plugged in. Re-inspections can be expensive, and home inspectors will NOT turn on breakers for fear of their being a serious reason they were off (plus insurance likely won’t cover damage caused by turning on breakers.) Let your prospective home buyer get a FULL inspection the first time to help streamline the sales process and reduce stress.
7) Make sure the batteries in your electronic thermostats are good.