Five other things to do before a home inspection
If the court orders a home inspection as part of a child custody case, it goes without saying that you should tidy up your home and remove any dangerous conditions. Here are some “advanced” techniques for preparing for a home inspection that might help you gain an edge in your custody case.
- Obtain a copy of the checklist of questionnaire used by the home inspector. If a representative of a state social service agency or children’s services department will be making the inspection, chances are the representative uses as standard check-off form or questionnaire which she completes as she walks through your home. These forms are not necessarily confidential, and you should ask for permission to review one in advance.
- Be sure that your front and back yard and all decks and porches are in good shape. If possible and appropriate, have your yard fenced (or be sure that all fences are in good repair). This reflects a concern for safety and privacy.
- Smooth out all relationships with the neighbors. Nothing is worse than a busybody neighbor who offers her own comments about you or your children to the inspector or social worker who will be inspecting your house. (Some inspectors choose to interview neighbors on their own).
- Make sure the house reflects appropriate toys, books, and other technology for the children. The kids should not have access to adult videos or reading materials. Toys and games should be neatly stored, and should be age-appropriate for the children.
- Calmly rehearse what you will say when asked about your home, your living and sleeping arrangements, your decor, and any particular issues in the case. Look for articulate, polite and logical responses to any interview questions posed by the home inspector. Avoid jokes, vulgarities, off-color statements or argumentative positions. Strive to present yourself as well-balanced, responsible, helpful and in control (Avoid nervous speaking habits, such as talking too fast, fidgeting, ill-timed laughter, etc.).
By applying these five steps, in addition to the previous steps we’ve discussed in regard to home inspections, you should maximize your chances of looking could in the inspector’s report.