This month's Feature Article will remove some of the fear that arises when
    having a Home Inspection. I  provide you with 17 suggestions to help the
    Home Inspection run smoothly.
    For more information and help regarding your home please visit my

                      John M. Wickline
JW Home Inspections, Inc.
                         "When Experience Matters"                   
Newsletter   March, 2009

    Quick Tip
    Absentee Homeowner
    did you know that most
    Insurance Companies provide
    a discount on your Insurance
    if your home is
    monitored by Professionals?
    JW Home Inspections, Inc.
    provides affordable Absentee
    Homeowner Service. Why not
    let a professional Home
    Inspector monitor your home
    while you are away? Please
    visit my website for more

    Absent Homeowner Services

    Energy Tip:
    using the new CFL energy
    saving light bulbs can save
    money, however the next
    development in home lighting
    will save even more. Watch for
    new lighting using LED
    technology. This type of
    lighting uses "Light Emitting
    Diodes" (LED)
    to replace traditional filaments.
    They will last almost
    indefinitely. This technology is
    widely used in flashlights and
    other lighting. Watch your
    home stores in the very near
    future for home interior lighting
    using this technology.

    Latest News
    Local Home Inspectors
    Going out of Business
    The economic crunch and
    poor housing market have
    affected local Home
    Inspectors. Numerous local
    Home Inspectors have closed
    the doors on their business.
    JW Home Inspections, Inc. is
    still going strong and seeing
    more business. I have taken
    advantage of the slow times
    to increase my education and
    training in Home Inspection
    (in addition to required training
    on a yearly basis). This adds
    more value to the service I
    provide for you.
    "When Experience Matters"
    JW Home Inspections, Inc.

    How long do your smoke
    alarms last?
    Unfortunately, not as long as
    most people think. Experts
    suggest replacing your smoke
    alarms every 5 years. What are
    you waiting for?

    JW Home Inspections, Inc.
    "When Experience Matters"
             Since 1998

    Copyright 2009
    JW Home Inspections, Inc.
    10 Winding Trail Lane
    Hilton Head, SC  29926
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                      Feature Article

    Sellers: How to Survive your Home

    Simply following the steps provided in this
    article will help you survive having a Home
    Inspection. Your Home Inspection is just one
    more stressful event to add to a likely growing
    list of events unfolding in the process of
    selling your home. What with moving, getting
    the list of needed repairs done, achieving and
    maintaining that “curb appeal”, the last thing
    you need is some stranger tromping through
    your home, looking in all those dark corners.
    Well, take a deep breath, pick up that last
    dust bunny under the chair, sit down a
    moment and read further. I provide real
    solutions to at least make the Home
    Inspection part easier.

    1.  Please have a clean home.
    Inspectors are accustomed to dealing with
    “OPD” (Other Peoples Dirt), however it is
    always preferable to have a clean home to
    work in. Don’t worry about a little mess or
    disorganized clutter. Packing boxes and a little
    dirt are OK. We do not inspect for cleanliness,
    however we are human and do not particularly
    enjoy spending several hours (sometimes on
    hands and knees in bathrooms) inspecting a
    foul nest. Even though you are likely tired of
    keeping things spotless for open houses and
    potential buyers coming through, please don’t
    drop the ball on cleaning completely. If I
    encounter an extremely dirty home, I may be
    holding my breath until I can make an exit;
    however I am also looking harder for defects
    and deferred maintenance in such homes,
    and often find them.

    2. Windows and doors should all be
    operable and accessible.
    It is a great help to have all the windows and
    doors accessible so I can easily check the
    condition of the windows and doors and also
    the operation of them. If you have casement
    windows and have removed the cranks,
    please have them available at windows. Open
    all blinds and curtains for easier access, and if
    possible move furniture to allow for access.
    Any breakable or valuable items on window
    sills should be removed (Inspector will not
    move them or move furniture).

    3. Turn on all lights and ceiling fans.
    You may wish to turn all the lights and ceiling
    fans on in the home just before the Inspector
    arrives. It also helps if you know what all the
    electrical switches in the home do. The
    Inspector can spend untold time trying to
    determine what each switch operates. If the
    Inspector wishes to turn on all the lights and
    fans in your home, please do not follow behind
    him turning them off (yes I have had
    numerous homeowners do this). He has likely
    done this for the same reason that I do this.
    Having all the lights on is part of the test of
    the electrical system to ensure it is checked
    under a reasonable load. The Inspector will
    turn off the lights and fans when he is done.

    4. Make certain all lights and fans are
    functional. Have any remote controls for
    ceiling fans available.  If there are inoperable
    lights and they just need a bulb replaced, the
    Inspector will not know this and does not carry
    bulbs with him. Inoperable lights will be written
    up as a defect (why pay an electrician to
    check them?).

    5. Have all appliances ready for the
    Inspector to operate.
    Some Inspectors will check appliances, and
    some do not. Let the Inspector start the
    appliances such as the dishwasher and
    washing machine. Do not have clothes in the
    washing machine or clothes dryer (they will
    need to be removed by the Inspector).

    6. Remove your pets. Please be prepared
    to have your animals gone during the
    inspection. I like dogs, cats, lizards and most
    critters, but during an inspection they can be
    in the way or a nuisance (try doing an
    inspection with a dog barking every time you
    move). The Inspector also does not want to
    be responsible for having animals escape
    from the home and then retrieve them. The
    opposite side of this coin is a funny short
    story: I was inspecting a Villa that was
    situated next to a lagoon. I was outside and
    came in, leaving the sliding door open for just
    a moment, and when I turned around, a
    mother duck and her ducklings were proudly
    waddling in to the Villa (I quickly scooted them
    outside again). Later I had a good laugh and
    realized just how much they quacked me up.
    Seriously, I will try not to let any strays in your

    7. Inform the Inspector if you are to
    have visitors to the home.  Inform the
    Inspector of any expected visitors (if you will
    not be there) so he can allow them in and not
    have to worry about whether they should be
    there or not.  Also be prepared if the buyer
    (and other family members) should elect to
    attend the Inspection. Ask your Realtor or the
    buyer’s Realtor to attend if this occurs (the
    Inspector should not be responsible for

    8. Provide access to electrical panel.
    Please have access provided to your main
    electrical panel (fuse box or circuit breaker
    box). The Inspector has to remove the panel
    cover to check the interior components. It is
    not fun (or safe) to stand in a crowded area
    and work with electricity. A charred and
    smoking Inspector is not very fragrant either.

    9. Be punctual. If you are meeting the
    Inspector at the home, please be on time.
    Most of us invest an enormous amount of
    time for the money earned, and appreciate
    punctuality. If I am going to be late I will call.

    10. Please have all utilities on, including
    gas for fireplaces as necessary. Having
    pilot lights lit will help, since most Inspectors
    will not light pilot lights.

    11. Provide access to attics. Please make
    certain access is clear and unencumbered to
    all attic accesses.

    12. All doors should be accessible.
    Ensure all interior and exterior doors are
    accessible, and if there are any locked closets
    or utility type sheds, please provide keys as

    13. Should I stay or should I go?  
    This is a good question people often ask me.
    Usually I like to meet with the owners to ask a
    few questions. Once I have asked the various
    questions that help me do my job better, feel
    free to leave or stay. Most often it makes no
    difference to me. If you are comfortable with
    leaving someone in your home, (assuming you
    will be there) plan on an inspection lasting
    from 3 to 5 hours on average. Ask your Home
    Inspector how long it will take. Most Home
    Inspectors, (including myself) are licensed and

    14. Alert the Inspector to any safety
    concerns. If you know of any safety concerns
    in your home, please let the Inspector know.
    Items such as attic pull down stairs that have
    a tendency to fall on your head (yes this has
    happened-Ouch!) or perhaps shocking
    electrical fixtures or receptacles.

    15. Do not ask what defects the
    Inspector has found. Most Inspectors will
    politely tell you that the home purchaser (who
    is paying for the report) is the only person he
    can share that information with. However the
    Inspector should inform you of any known
    safety concerns that may impact you. Keep in
    mind that if the Inspector gave you the list of
    defects and you set about to repair them all,
    you may have repaired some items needlessly.
    That defective refrigerator or oven may be
    something the buyer does not care about
    anyway. He may have plans to replace it. For
    that reason, you may wish to wait until you
    have the requested list of repairs from the
    buyer, before repairing items.

    16. Have your own Inspection
    performed. Consider having your own
    inspection (Pre-listing Inspection) before you
    have a Home Inspection the buyer has
    arranged for. You get to choose the Home
    Inspector, and there are other benefits. A Pre-
    listing Inspection allows you to find out early
    what repairs might be needed, and to get the
    repairs done early. This usually is a cost
    savings, since you can take your time and
    shop for the best price for the repairs. Having
    the Pre-listing Inspection also eliminates a lot
    of anxiety and stress. It also allows for the
    home to be more realistically priced in some
    instances. For example, if you find out the
    home needs a new roof, but you do not want
    to invest in a new roof, it is likely you will want
    to adjust your price accordingly, or at least be
    prepared for a price reduction. On the plus
    side, if you get a fairly clean Home Inspection
    Report, you may wish to let your pricing reflect
    this (raise pricing perhaps). Most buyers will
    still have their own Inspector inspect your
    home. However it conveys a positive attitude
    to the buyer when you have your own
    Inspection. Presenting a list of the repaired
    items is also positive. Simply put, having a Pre-
    Listing Inspection can reduce anxiety, save
    money, and make for a smoother and quicker
    home sale.

    17. Treat your Home Inspector as a
    guest in your home. I do my best to leave
    each home as I found it, and treat the home
    and occupants with respect. I know that I am
    a guest you may not welcome with open arms.
    I also know you do not need any additional
    stress. Offering coffee, a soda, or water is a
    nice gesture and helps to set a nice tone.

    Simply performing some or all of the above
    steps will help you remove a lot of the stress
    associated with a Home Inspection. This
    article does not take into account fixing or
    repairing common defects, so you may also
    want to repair any known defects as you see
    fit.  Best wishes with your Home Inspection.

    John M. Wickline, President,
    JW Home Inspections, Inc.
                   Copyright 2009