When you are selling your home, you should be prepared for the buyers to have your home inspected. All good inspectors will be looking for how your home had been maintained. Before you list your home, take a close look at these items and you will be better prepared and it may make the difference in a tight market. Make sure there is clear access to all components of the home including electrical panels, water heaters, heating/air conditioners, attics and crawlspaces.
Walk around your homes exterior
1) Roof - Clean roof GENTLY (NO pressure washers, they can ruin a roof!) Carefully using a leaf blower, clean all valleys or other areas. If you use too much force, you will loosen the grit from the roofing and the sun will cause the roofing to shrink and crack.
Clean gutters, repair any loose mounts or leaking joints.
Have professionally swept and/or repair chimney, check masonry, mortar, crowns, bricks/blocks, liners, flashings, rain covers. Check chimney siding, trim, paint, caulk, etc. Have the receipts available for buyers and inspectors.
2) Landscape - Is the soil/mulch touching the homes siding? We would like to see 6" clearance, any less then 3" is too close. Maintain a slope away from the home so water will naturally run off. Never allow water to puddle next to your home. Trim all trees and bushes from touching any of the structure.
3) Drainage - Check every downspout, splash block and drain. Assure that they all direct water away from the home and are not leaking or loose.
4) Repair any loose trim or siding. Caulk all holes, siding, trim, doors and windows. Paint and stain all exterior surfaces.
5) If the driveways are asphalt, they often would benefit from a sealer coat.
Inside the home
1) Heating/AC systems
Have all furnaces, boilers, etc cleaned/serviced and filters changed with receipts for the buyers/inspectors.
2) Safety Equipment
check all smoke detectors, CO detectors, fire extinguishers. Test all GFCIs (they are required within 6 feet of water, outside, in basements and garages.)
Here is a great tip. If you know you need GFCIs and you know how read instructions, then install them! Use care, and never work on live circuits. If an inspector sees a missing gfci, it is likely to cost you $75 or $100 for a "licensed and bonded professional" to install one. If you do it, and you do it correctly, it costs around $15 or less for the part.
3) Lighting and outlets
Repair any broken switches, outlets, covers, fixtures or bulbs.
Examine every door, lock, hinge, doorstop, casing, and trim. All doors and windows should close and lock easily, repair and adjust as necessary. Weather-stripping should be in good repair. Repair any broken glass, counter balance springs, trim, etc. If the screens are really poor, remove them!
Check all toilets, they must be tight and not move when you push them with your knee. The flooring around them should be clean and not have any leaks. Run every sink, and tub look for leaks, sink stoppers, leaking showerheads, enclosures or valves, and loose hardware.
Examine and repair any gaps or cracks in grout and caulk.
Attic - check insulation and ventilation. Assure that no bathroom or other fans exhaust in the attic.
Prepare your home
6) Clean and Paint
Put on your homes best face, clean all floors, carpets, repair any cracks and holes in the drywall and paint. Clean all clutter! Tastefully decorate - properly staged homes are much easier to sell!