a pre-sale home inspection image

A pre-sale home inspection is a good idea, when selling your home.

Imagine this scenario: You find the perfect buyer for your home. The offer is clean. The buyer is making few demands, and the transaction begins humming along. Then, the home inspection results come in.  Negotiations start over,  and that formerly speedy progress toward closing comes to a screeching halt.

This isn’t a just a scenario,  but the reality of thousands of real estate transactions across the country, including those right here in our backyard. It does not have to be that way, however. Have the home inspected before you put it on the market, even if you have no intention of fixing the problems the inspector finds.

Why should you consider a pre-sale home inspection?

1. A pre-sale home inspection keeps the transaction moving along

The pre-home inspection gives you an idea of what needs to be repaired before putting the home on the market. Getting these fixes out of the way now will prevent delays later on.

If you cannot afford to make the needed repairs, the home inspection results can be used as a list of “items the seller will not be fixing.” As long as they are not required by the lender, the buyer can then accept the home as-is, walk away, or negotiate with you for a lower price. It is much better to have the walk-away happen before you remove the home from the market under the assumption that you have a deal.

Let’s face it: the buyer is most likely going to order a home inspection. The problems you will learn about during a pre-sale inspection are the same ones that will pop up weeks after you’ve accepted an offer and taken the home off the market. Without a pre-sale home sale inspection, you can only guess what might end up on the buyer’s inspection report.

Hand in hand with this gamble,  is the closing date and the sales price. Bickering over repairs or price will hold up the transaction,  and you may end up making concessions that will lower the offering price, just to get the transaction back on track. If your purchase of another home depends on the successful conclusion of the sale of this one, on time, you may be in big trouble.

2. A pre-sale home inspection keeps the buyer honest

Somewhere during the purchase process, many buyers begin to get cold feet. “It’s ok,” their agents tell them, “You can cancel the contract by refusing to remove the inspection contingency.” They are led to believe that the home inspection is their get-out-of-the-deal-free card,  and some buyers will use it as such.

Of course,  your pre-inspection report won’t replace the one that the buyer will most likely order, but it will help weed out those buyers who might possibly get cold feet, before an offer is accepted.

3. A pre-sale home inspection is a great marketing tool for the seller

Remember when you bought your home? The seller was most likely a complete stranger. Most of us are a bit wary of buying anything from strangers, especially something as large and expensive as a house. What if that seller had a recent home inspection report? If the report showed items in need of repair, the fact that the seller disclosed those items, would show good faith.  The seller would be letting a buyer know that they had nothing to hide.

Most competing properties will not have a pre-inspection report.  Few sellers will take on the expense of a home inspection, although the cost is not prohibitive.  As a seller, it becomes a way to stand out from the competition.

Whether to Disclose or Not Is No Longer an Issue

Once you receive the results of the inspection, any “warts” uncovered will need to be disclosed to any potential buyers. But, remember, these blemishes will most likely also appear on the buyer’s inspection report. Isn’t it better that you’ve informed them of the problems ahead of time, rather than they find out later on and hold up the transaction?

Things to Consider

As an experienced real estate marketer, I understand that in the sales cycle, the best time to get rid of possible objections is upfront, when the buyers are “hot,” so to speak – when they are at their most enthusiastic.

As the transaction progresses (especially right after the offer is accepted), buyers tend to question their decision to buy. The reality of a 30-year commitment sets in,

and they become concerned about ensuring that they are not getting cheated.

That is right about the time the home inspector releases his or her results. As the seller, it would be the wrong time for the buyer to learn that the sprinkler system needs repair,  or that the HVAC system is on life support.

When considering whether or not to order a pre-sale home inspection, keep in mind that it will not relieve  you of your responsibility to fix or replace lender-required items. If you cannot afford to make the repairs, you may end up taking less for the home than you had hoped, due to it being sold “as is”.

What you will do, is get rid of unwanted surprises, one of the main reasons residential real estate sales fail.

That is why getting a pre-sale home inspection is a good idea.

Other helpful resources:

16 Real Estate Questions You’ve Been  Too Afraid To Ask A Realtor by Lynn Pineda

Marketing Strategies Expert Realtors Use To Sell Your Home by Paul Sian