A home inspector is not there to judge you and the way you keep your house. Not many people are ultra neat freaks especially in areas of the home that are not often seen. However some homes are neater than others. When it does become an issue for the home inspector is when areas that should be inspected are difficult or impossible to access.
A home with clutter can be an obstacle course for everyone involved including the inspector. Sometimes this is just the way the home is kept. Other times the process of packing for an upcoming move creates the cluttered house. This clutter may prevent the inspector from performing the inspection.
Or the inspector may have no choice but to indicate in the inspection report that the inspection was limited due to the excess possessions blocking access and view. As the seller this could become an issue for you if the buyer pushes to have the home inspected again because of these inaccessible areas.
The American Society of Home Inspectors, Standards of Professional Practice, state that inspectors are not to report on components or systems which are not observed. This makes sense as an inspector should not report on something that he is not able to observe and examine.
The inspector is not required, not should the inspector be expected, to move personal items out of the way for the inspection. If there is furniture or plants blocking the door to a utility closet you will need to move those items.
Before the inspector arrives to perform the home inspection make sure that the water heater, electrical panels and other mechanical and electrical items are accessible. Also make sure that the attic can be accessed and that there is room for the inspector to move around in the attic.
In different homes the water heater is located in different places. This could include utility closets, basements or garages. Problems with the water heater can not be identified including fire hazards if the water heater is surrounded by clutter. In fact, clutter around a unit such as a water heater can be a fire hazard.
The inspector should check the electrical panel for proper installation and for any signs of overheating. This is not possible if the panel is hidden from view.
The best thing to do is walk though your home before the inspector arrives. Make sure all doors and passageways are can be used. Take a look in any areas with mechanical or electrical equipment and make sure that the inspector can get to these items and open any access doors. Move any stored items out of the way or place them somewhere else.
If the inspector is not able to perform the complete inspection the buyer has the right to ask for another inspection. This is an inconvenience for everyone including you the seller.
If you are living in the home it is only natural that you will have personal possessions throughout the home. You can make the home inspection process easier and quicker by doing your own walk though and making sure your home is ready for the inspection. Don’t let clutter ruin your home inspection and jeopardize the sale.