Getting your home inspected before you list it for sale can streamline the sales process and help you avoid any unexpected surprises. What most sellers don’t realize is the home inspection is the place where more sales fall apart than any other. A pre-listing home inspection will allow you to get a clear picture about the state of your house – including any problems that may derail a sale. You will have a chance to address major issues, and the information you gain from the inspection will be useful in pricing your home. Getting your own pre-sale inspection can be an important part of preparing for a buyers home inspection. By getting most or all of the problems taken care of you increase the chances of having a smooth and pleasant transaction.
Why You Should Get A Pre-Listing Home Inspection
Home inspections are generally performed on behalf of a buyer so that the party purchasing the home knows the true condition of the house. As a seller, you are not required to get an inspection. But there are several reasons why you should consider a pre-listing inspection, including:
- Reduce the stress of selling your home.
By getting an inspection before listing, you can help eliminate a lot of stress surrounding the sale. It is normal to worry that your home may have some hidden problems that you are not aware of. With an inspection, you will know if any such problems exist and have the opportunity to address them. You are also able to work on your own schedule with a pre-listing inspection as well. There is not a rush to get it done, because you only have to list when you want to list. With an inspection after the listing, you will have to meet the requirements of the sales agreement. This means making sure all of the issues are taken care of before the closing takes place. The home inspection will be one less reason why your sale could possibly fall through.
- Help with pricing your home correctly.
The price you set for your home is one of the most important parts of the sales process. Priced too high, you will keep buyers away. Priced too low and you will make less money than you could have. But how do you price something when you do not know what it consists of, or what state it is in? With a home inspection, you will have a much better understanding of any negative aspects of the house, and can price accordingly. You may also be able to price the home slightly higher if you discover that there really is nothing wrong.
- Speed up the sales process.
A buyer that knows you have already had the home inspected is going to feel a lot more comfortable making an offer. No one wants to buy a house that has a bunch of hidden issues. With the inspection in hand, you can demonstrate that the home is in great shape and worth the price you have set. And if there are issues, you can be upfront about them and make it clear that the reasonable price of the home reflects the knowledge of those issues. One of the top home selling tips that real estate agents often recommend to their clients is to make sure repairs are made to major items in the home. It makes perfect sense because what buyer wants to deal with the problems of someone else when they don’t have to? By addressing all the issues you can market your home to a buyer as being problem free to the best of your knowledge.
- Allow you to make repairs.
The inspection may uncover some problem areas that your real estate agent suggests you deal with before listing the house. You can have the work done and have the home re-inspected before you list it so that buyers know that everything is in good condition. Without a pre-listing inspection, you will not discover problems until the final inspection before money exchanges hands, which can throw a big wrench in your sale. Besides the general home inspection where the structure and mechanical items are checked it can also be important to get a handle of some of the other major issues that can be discovered in a home inspection like mold and radon either in the air or the water. Removing radon in water can be quite expensive but more importantly can cause a buyer to back out of a sale.
- Avoid the need for renegotiation.
If the buyer’s inspection discovers any serious issues with your home, then the buyer may walk away. This is especially true in Florida where most offers are on “As-is” contracts that let the buyer walk away for any reason within the first 15 days after the contract is signed. It can be upsetting to see the deal you were relying on fall apart, and trying to save the deal can lead to renegotiation with you on the losing end. Getting a pre-listing inspection can help you avoid such a situation.
- Help improve buyer confidence.
Buyers are in a difficult position, so it is normal for them to retain a healthy amount of suspicion when considering a home purchase. For most people buying a home is the most money they will ever spend on a single item. A buyer will need to calculate what he or she can afford for the purchase price, as well as how much money will be required to live in the home and keep it in good repair in the future. If the buyer has any thoughts that the home might have hidden problems, the offer he or she makes will reflect that. A pre-listing home inspection can help eliminate much of the doubt about the home. Knowing that the home has already been examined and that there are no problems allows the buyer to make a confident offer.
- You make your agent’s job much easier.
When you hire a real estate professional, you are hiring someone who will handle all the pricing and negotiations for your home. Working with a Real Estate agent will definitely save you a lot of hassle, but it is important to be aware of the challenges your agent faces in getting the job done. Even with considerable experience and a great reputation, the agent still has to price the home correctly, find the right buyer and ensure that you get a good price for your home.
With a pre-listing inspection, you make all of these tasks easier for you and the agent, which allows him or her to get you better results. When the agent knows the detailed condition of the property, it’s easier to compare it to other homes that have sold in the area, which leads to a more accurate price. The inspection also makes it easier for the agent to find buyers, because buyers are attracted to homes that have already been inspected and have very few problems. Additionally, when it comes to negotiations, there are no unknowns. The price doesn’t need to be lowered very much, if at all, because it reflects the actual condition of the property.
Keep in mind that even though you have done a pre-sale inspection, the buyer will more than likely want to have their own inspection as well. You should insist on your listing agent attending the home inspection to not only understand what the buyers home inspector says but to make sure the buyer does not exaggerate any of the issues. Buyers are notorious for using a home inspection as a point of renegotiation. Often times buyers will try to negotiate for things that are non issues. The example I always use is the home inspector saying there is 3-5 years left of the roof and the buyer saying a new roof is needed. Having your agent there to hear exactly what is said is important. You are paying your agent a lot of money – make sure they earn it!
Are There Any Disadvantages to a Pre-sale Home Inspection?
The only real disadvantage to a pre-sale home inspection for a seller is disclosure issues. In some states sellers are required to disclose any known defects with their home. If you are short on money to make major repairs to your home, doing a pre-sale home inspection potentially could put you at a disadvantage if you are required to discloses all of its defects. It would be important to find out the disclosure laws in your state from either your agent or a real estate attorney. If you have the funds to make repairs then it will be a non issue.
Make Your Sale Easier With A Pre-Listing Home Inspection
There is no requirement that you get a pre-listing home inspection, but there are certainly a lot of advantages to doing so. Every home sale involves stress and uncertainty, but you can limit the negative aspects of the process by gathering all the accurate information you can about your home before you list it. With a seller’s inspection, you avoid surprises and make your sale a whole lot easier.
About the author: Oscar is a practicing, Florida attorney, Realtor, and Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator. He began working in real estate as a Realtor in 1994 and later went on to become a real estate attorney in 2002. From 2002-2005 Oscar was the sales director for Ballast Point homes LLC. During his tenure with Ballast Point Homes, he managed a sales team that produced over 55 million dollars in condominium and townhome sales. With over twenty years of experience, Oscar represents buyers, sellers, business owners, other Realtors, and Brokers with professional, personalized service. In addition to residential sales, as an attorney, Oscar has written and negotiated many commercial and residential contracts and leases. He currently represents several local businesses including two restaurant chains.
A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, he received a B.A. from the University of Florida and a J.D. from Stetson University’s College of Law. Oscar is US Army veteran and former Judge Advocate. He is a certified VA attorney representative and an active member of VARep, an organization of real estate professionals dedicated to representing and education veterans. Oscar focuses his passion for real estate on providing exceptional client services. Connect with him on Google+.
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