Buyers can do a preliminary check of a home before putting in a bid, but nothing takes the place of a professional home inspection, according to an article in the Tri-County (Mich.) Times. In the article, staff reporter Vera Hogan wrote that making the home inspection a condition of the sale is a smart move.

“When choosing a home inspector or home inspection company, buyers should do a little homework. Ask for referrals from friends and family,” Hogan wrote in the article. “Real estate firms often have a concierge desk or table with the business cards of home inspectors that do work in the local area.”

Similar to other states, home inspectors in Michigan do not have to be licensed, so Hogan recommends buyers look for home inspectors who are members of the National Association of Home Inspectors.

Hogan’s husband, Mike, a former professional home inspector, said both buyers and sellers should be aware of what a home inspection entails.

“Home inspectors almost always work for buyers so it is important for sellers to remember a few things before the inspection appointment,” Mike Hogan said in the article.

He provided some key points for sellers to remember when preparing their home for sale:

• Keep the attic and basement accessible. The attic and basement are important areas to be inspected, and home inspectors need to get to them.

• Empty the bathtub. People often use a bathtub to store toys and laundry, Mike Hogan said in the article. Make sure all items are removed prior to the home inspector’s arrival. “Home inspectors need to fill each bathtub in the home as part of the plumbing inspection,” Vera Hogan wrote.

• Be prepared to hire a repairman. Sellers sometimes mistakenly believe the home inspector will repair any defects found during the inspection.

“We only point out that there is a problem, we don’t fix it,” Mike Hogan said in the article. “We don’t require them to fix it either. Whether it gets fixed or not and who pays for the repair is usually negotiated between the buyer and seller, with the help of their agent.”