If you've ever sold a house you've no doubt been through this before. If you're getting ready to sell a house, you will have one of these before you close. Whether you've done it before or are new to this, a refresher course can keep you on schedule and may be able to prevent issues from arising.
Something as simple as cleaning your house prior to the inspection can yield surprising benefits. The first impression in this case is important. If the inspector, and the buyer who often accompanies the inspector, see that your home is clean, they usually make the assumption that the house is well maintained as well. Right or wrong, they may not look as closely for things to be wrong.
If you have any repairs that need to be made, try to get them done prior to the inspection. Keep the receipts as well. They show that you take care of repairs that need to be done. Again, anything that you can do to show that you perform needed maintenance and take care of your house provides the inspector with confidence that he doesn't have as much to worry about.
Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure the inspector has access to everything. If he can't get into key areas he will have to issue an incomplete review and make a return visit. This could delay your closing. Also make sure that you have all your pilot lights lit already. For liability reasons, the inspector won't be able to light them to check and this would again delay completion of your review.
If your house has been empty, you'll need to have the utilities turned back on. A major part of the inspection involves making sure that there are no plumbing leaks or electrical issues. Here again, if the inspector can't check these he won't be able to complete the inspection.
It is often best for the homeowner and any pets to plan to be away from the house for several hours. While it isn't necessarily required that you leave, it may make everyone more comfortable. The average inspection lasts around three hours.
The object from your perspective shouldn't be to lie and cover up issues with your house. You certainly don't have to offer up every little detail about your house, but if there's a bigger issue that they're going to find out about, it would probably be better if you are up front about it first. Being honest here gives the impression that you don't have anything else to hide. An inspector who feels that you are trying to pull one over on him will most likely get very picky in his inspection. Your goal is to have him complete the inspection as quickly as possible with as few issues as possible.