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The Homesellers Guide to a Home Inspection Checklist In Wisconsin

Aerial view of the city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Are you looking to sell your home in Wisconsin? Before you decide to put your house on the real estate market, you must prepare it for sale. That means putting together a home inspection checklist.  

You can start working with a real estate agent, but a realtor will tell you the importance of cleaning up, decluttering, and preparing your home for sale before holding any showings. You can either wait until certified home inspectors find potential problems to fix once you have accepted a bid or complete repairs using your inspection process. 

Not everything needs to be fixed, but quite a few things will likely need repairs.

If your house has major problems like a broken HVAC system, you will want to repair it before putting the house on the market. To attract more home buyers, you will also benefit from completing renovations, as many buyers may see an old-fashioned kitchen or aging door frames as deal-breakers.

To find out how to best prepare your house before putting it on the real estate market, check out our tips below. Let’s get started!

Home Inspection Checklist

The best home inspection checklist needs to include:

  • Getting estimates on major home repairs
  • Completing the needed repairs
  • The DIY projects you can complete on your own
  • Everything you need to deep clean
  • All the paperwork that entails selling your place
  • The room remodels you can afford
  • Put in a new mailbox if it’s crooked to boost curb appeal
  • Declutter the house and organize the rooms
  • Complete necessary landscaping work
  • Hide your pets and remove all pet hair from the house
  • Make sure to remove all of your children’s toys and things while keeping your kids at grandma’s house
  • Depersonalize your home and remove all family photos and memorabilia

One of the most important parts of a home inspection checklist is to obtain estimates and decide on the contractor you want to repair the biggest problems. Do your roof shingles and gutters need work or do you need to install a new water heater or septic tank? Get the proper estimates and you can choose an affordable option to repair such issues.

Some homeowners may need to hire an electrician to repair the electrical system and electrical outlets or install a new electrical panel. 

Once your contractor completed the necessary repairs, you can start on a few of the smaller DIY home improvement projects. 

If your home is in a good condition, you can easily complete a few repairs yourself, such as installing new carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms. You will find that it’s not too hard to set up new faucets either, fix your garbage disposal, or put new air filters in your cooling system.

Below, we delve further into the house inspection checklist including what to prepare before the sale, what to clean and declutter, the repairs and renovations to make, and the documents you will need to sell your home.

Things To Prepare for Selling a House

The home buying process involves looking for any missing repairs or renovations in interior rooms before putting a bid on a new home. First-time home buyers may not pay attention to certain red flags, but experienced buyers will know whether you prepared your home for sale.

The first thing to do when preparing your home for sale is to make your front entryway more eye-catching and boost curb appeal. That may include repainting the garage door and fixing any broken hinges as well as caulking any cracks in the driveways and walkways. 

Large cracks in the walkways do not only look ugly, but they create a safety hazard. As such, fill in any cracks before you start home showings. Extensive sidewalk repairs can cost anywhere from $550 to $1,000 or more. You will need to spend at least $750 to repair a driveway.  

Also, you may need to paint the front door and add a few flower plants or bushes in the front yard. Mow your lawn if the grass got too tall. 

You will need to clean the dirt off your mailbox or replace it with a new one. Also, add a friendly welcome mat by the front door. You can also upgrade your light fixtures in the front hallway to make your space look brighter. Home sellers should also declutter and organize the basement, garage, and attic. 

Do you have any warranties on relatively new appliances or recently renovated rooms or repairs? Make sure to keep the receipts of all work done on the house and any warranties you’ve received from contractors. You can give these warranties to the new buyers and even use them as an incentive to get a higher bid.

Before putting your home on the market, open up the windows to let in the sunshine and improve the airflow. Since buyers often have an inspection contingency as part of their home purchase agreement, you may want to prepare your house ahead of the professional home inspection.

That may include repairing those broken handrails or fixing that water damage in your basement. Also, check for standing water in any rooms with water damage. Further, you will benefit from painting your kitchen, living room, bedrooms, and bathrooms. A fresh coat of paint makes a home much more attractive to buyers. 

Do you have pets or a large family living in your home? If so, the typical buyer may pick up on certain foul odors. Make sure to get rid of pet odors or other bad smells. If you have smokers in the house, open up the windows and add a few humidifiers to get rid of that smoky smell.

You may need to get a pre-appraisal completed before putting the home on the housing market. That information will give you a better idea of your home’s total value and what type of asking price to choose. 

Cleaning Before Selling a House

Before putting your home on the market, give it a good deep clean. Use a water hose with strong water pressure to deep clean the driveways and even the tiles in your bathroom or kitchen. You may need to rent a pressure washer with a strong water flow to wash down the walkways.

Use a bucket of hot water, soap, and other cleaning agents to remove stains from carpets and furniture. Carpet cleaning agents are important along with mopping those wooden floors. Keep the bathtub free of grime and ensure the sinks and toilets are spotless, too.  

Part of the cleaning process also includes decluttering the house. You can discard certain items by donating them to Goodwill or another charity. Some charities or town recycling centers can pick up large items like furniture that you do not need. Best of all, you can deduct a number of your donations from your taxes.

Remove things from the kitchen counters and donate old books and trinkets from your bookcases. Next, organize all the closets and storage containers. Remove extra towels and bedsheets. 

Line everything up neatly and put your clothes away carefully in the closets.

If your home is truly a disaster and there’s too much of a mess for you to clean by yourself, you may want to hire a maid service. The things to clean up include windows on both sides, tubs, showers, sinks, bathroom mirrors, and kitchen faucets. If you find any cracks, you may need to caulk the tubs and sinks. as well. 

Keep the house clean before a showing by vacuuming regularly, dusting the desks and tabletops, waxing the floors, and keeping toilets and sinks spotless. Remove any wet towels from the bathrooms before a showing as well. 

Do you have pets? Remove litter from litterboxes and any pet odors before the house is on the market. Do not forget to air out the house to keep it smelling fresh and odorless. Ensure the bathroom exhaust fan is working well to remove stale air. 

Repairs To Be Made Before Selling a House

A homeowner making repairs to his house before selling

Before you start on any repairs yourself, you may want to get a pre-listing inspection from a professional home inspector. That way, you will not need to wait for the buyer to have a substantial list of repairs from a home inspection and struggle to fix everything before closing day. You can check the American Society of Home Inspectors to find a good inspector for your property.

Check the home inspection report to determine which repairs need completion and where to price your home once it’s on the market. A pre-listing inspection will determine if your house has asbestos, broken air conditioning systems, and electrical problems. A professional inspector can also check for termites. 

An electrician can help fix issues with fuses, the service panel, or electrical splices. An HVAC specialist can look through the ductwork to fix your air conditioner. A contractor may need to look through a crawlspace to fix an HVAC system

Essentially, you will need to hire professionals for the most complex repairs. Other than the biggest issues, you can try completing some DIY home improvement projects. In the kitchens and bathrooms, fix any plumbing and electrical problems. However, you do not need an expert to fix more minor issues like loose hinges on kitchen cabinets or stuck drawers.

Also, you should repair any nail holes or dents in drywall and repaint walls in the living room, kitchen, and bedrooms. Replace any torn and stained carpeting along with cracked floor tiles. If your water heater is not working at all, you may need to hire a contractor to install a new water heater.

In terms of the exterior, make sure the garage door is working well and ensure the doorknob on the front door functions well. The roof may also need repairs if it is missing any shingles or tiles. You may want to hire a landscaper to improve the look of your yard. These are the basic repairs you should complete before putting your home on the market.

Renovations To Consider

What type of renovations should you partake in before listing your home on the housing market? You should seriously consider making even a minor bathroom remodel. That will boost your home sale price significantly. Some of the possible updates you can make are below.

  • Add a new vanity mirror
  • Caulk the tub to fill any cracks
  • Add a new shower head and put in a new faucet
  • Install new floor or wall tiles

You can also improve the energy efficiency of your home by adding insulation and replacing old appliances. Refinish hardwood floors to increase home value as well. If you have an unfinished basement, take part in a basement renovation. Make sure to get building permits for any major remodeling projects.

Documents To Have for Selling a House

The documents you will need when selling a house include:

  • Warranties and records of house appliances
  • Records of upgrades and renovations
  • Home appraisal documents
  • Mortgage loan forms
  • Your deed or a copy of the deed from the county
  • Property insurance documents
  • The original title report
  • HOA documents
  • The listing agreement with your real estate agent
  • A comparative marketing analysis


With the right home inspection checklist, you can ensure your house and outdoor property is ready for putting on the housing market. You may think there are plenty of things to repair and renovate before the sale, but are there things you should not fix when selling a house?

You will see that some cosmetic repairs are not all that necessary. You can even sell your house in its as-is condition to real estate investors or cash home buyers who act as house flippers. 

Also, are you selling a house without a realtor? Are you looking to list your home as For Sale By Owner (FSBO)? If so, cash home buyers in Wisconsin can buy your property quickly without needing realtors, home inspections, or mortgage loan approvals. 

So, if you want to sell a house fast in Oshkosh or another Wisconsin area, contact us today!

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