Prelisting Home Inspection: A Good Idea

A Prelisting Inspection Benefits Both Seller and Buyer

Many sellers, in preparing their home for sale will take time to make repairs needed to maximize their home’s value, especially if they are not costly. For example, painting where needed, replacing a worn-out carpet, fixing a cracked window or correcting a leaky tap. Small improvements can go a long way to improving a home’s salability. Others seem to have their home in constant ready-to-sell mode as they stay on top of maintenance, decorating and replacement issues. Still, in selling a home, obtaining a prelisting inspection report is a great benefit to both seller and buyer.

Even the Seller Isn’t Always Aware

A pre-listing home inspection will not only show the seller any apparent items that need repair or replacement. It will also point out needed fixes and deficiencies the seller might not have been aware of. For example, a seller might not be aware that some caulking needs to be removed and reinstalled. Or the home may have aluminum wiring which has never been a problem but can become an insurance issue for the buyer. The possibility of arcing can cause a connection to heat up and increase the risk of fire.  A knowledgeable electrician can check and make necessary corrections to make the system safe, acceptable to an insurer, eliminating cause for concern. 

Good to Know Home’s Warts and Wrinkles Up Front

Having a prelisting home inspection report for buyers to review when they first see a home can create transparency most buyers appreciate. It’s always good to know the home’s warts and wrinkles up front. A seller can also display what items listed in the report were addressed, exhibiting receipts where necessary, and what items were not corrected. For example, the seller corrected a crack in the foundation and has a warranty transferrable to the buyer. Even seeing the non-fixes give the buyer a clear view of what he is buying. In our experience, the more the buyer knows about the home before making an offer, the more likely he or she will be pleased to go ahead with the transaction. As well the report will indicate what might have to be replaced over the next few years. For instance, it might say that the roof has a remaining life of 5 years. This allows the buyer to plan and budget for its replacement.

Buyers can Obtain Their Own Inspection

Of course buyers still have the option to obtain their own independent inspection. Yet as long as a prelisting inspection report is thorough and performed by a reputable inspector, buyers will tend to forego obtaining another. Some inspectors, after performing the initial inspection, will even re-inspect for the buyer at a reduced fee. Recently one quoted $150 saving the buyer about $300 or more. 

Buyer home inspections are typically a condition of the offer. Because they are discovered after acceptance of an offer, they can lead to a renegotiation of the price or cause the buyer to opt out of the deal. Often repairs noted in the report are minor and the buyer might even have seen some when he or she viewed the home. Yet seeing them in an inspection report can cause some buyers to overreact. Other than the discovery of hidden defects, some buyer reaction comes down to mere disappointment. A prelisting inspection can go a long way to avoiding this.  

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