Pre-Listing Inspections can be one of the Most Important Things To Do
During the early days of preparing a home for sale, though, the focus is on the condition of the home itself, including critical items like the roof, foundation, wiring, plumbing and more.
Inspections Provide Information Sellers Need
Understanding home condition starts with gathering full information – the good and the bad. That’s why I always recommend home sellers invest in pre-listing property inspections. There is no better insurance you can buy to reduce potentially costly surprises and alleviate unnecessary transaction stress.
Depending on the property, these might include sewer lateral, chimney, pool, roof, and/or pest inspections, in addition to the more general property inspection. These are the same quality inspections (and trusted inspectors!) we recommend for clients buying homes. The only difference is that the home sellers pay for these inspections and then include the inspection reports in the home’s disclosure package given to prospective homebuyers.
Here are the top five reasons why home sellers should invest in these inspections:
- Pre-listing inspections help avoid potentially costly surprises throughout the sales process.
The inspection reports provide valuable information needed to prioritize pre-listing home repair budget decisions, inform pricing strategies, and negotiate with buyers about any property condition concerns. Surprises, on the other hand, are stressful and almost always costly, both in terms of money and time.
Fact: Avoiding repair surprises is a good thing for all homeowners, even those of us with no intention of selling. That’s why I recommend all homeowners periodically order inspections to confirm they’re maintaining their home in good condition.
- Pre-listing inspections help build a buyer’s trust in the seller.
Trust starts with a good first impression. Pre-listing inspections underscore that the home seller is a proactive homeowner who cares about the home and has maintained it. In addition, sharing inspection reports from the outset sets up the expectation that the seller is communicating honestly with the buyer.
- Inspection reports encourage “cleaner” offers with reduced contingencies.
When a property comes on the market, qualified homebuyers know they will likely have to compete aggressively. For the best properties in the most popular neighborhoods, buyers sometimes need to make quick decisions and limit contingencies to be competitive. One of the goals of pre-listing inspections is to help homebuyers feel comfortable about reducing or eliminating physical inspection contingencies. Writing non-contingent offers is rare, though, without defendable inspection reports, proof that important concerns have been addressed and/or estimates for significant changes left to the buyer’s discretion.
- Pre-listing inspections help prepare home sellers to negotiate.
Even with pre-listing inspection reports, some buyers will opt to require their own inspections. In that situation, having pre-listing inspect reports in hand helps alleviate seller stress because we already know what the other inspector will likely find, and have already investigated related costs.
- Pre-listing inspections calm buyer nerves during escrow.
The best time to tell a buyer about property concerns is upfront, when buyers are most interested in the home and likely competing with others to purchase it. Pre-listing inspections allow time for the sellers to understand the condition of their property and how it impacts buyer interest, and also seek informed bids for any needed work. By contrast, when a buyer inspects during escrow they usually don’t have time to obtain bids for any significant work that needs to be completed so buyers almost always estimate related costs high. For example, most houses have electrical items that surface during an inspection. These items may seem huge during escrow because electrical issues are typically health and safety related. However, when we have the ability to bring out a great electrician ahead of time, he can provide a subsequent (true) bid which typically is less than we might otherwise estimate and provides explanations that calm a buyer’s nerves.
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