Most homebuyers opt to get a home inspection before they finalize purchasing a house so they can avoid any hidden surprises after the deal closes. Home inspections can cost anywhere from $200 to $400 or more depending on the size of the home, and buyers are the ones that foot the bill in order to minimize their risk. Depending on the results of the home inspection, buyers either ask for a reduced price, have the opportunity to walk away from the deal completely, or request that the issues be resolved before they sign on the dotted line. If you're a seller, you can potentially buy yourself an advantage if you decide to get a pre-listing home inspection.
A pre-listing home inspection is exactly what it sounds like; an inspection that is done before a home is listed for sale. If you're selling your home, it's a safe assumption that potential buyers will choose to get a home inspection before they finalize their purchase. Before you list your home you can decide to put up your own money for a home inspection to get a heads up on any potential issues that could be going on with your property. Still not sure if a pre-listing home inspection is right for you? Check out these pros and cons to help you make a more informed decision:
Although you are not required to get a home inspection before you list your house for sale, you may find that doing so gives you an edge in several ways.
- It gives you the opportunity to fix issues before you list the property so that you present a better product.
- It gives you a bonus feature for your listing when you can tell buyers that you have a copy of a recent inspection report. This lets buyers know that they won’t have to foot the bill for an inspection.
- It gives you peace of mind before you list your property, as opposed to stressing out about what an inspection report might uncover when a sale is on the line.
- It can reduce the likelihood of back and forth negotiations if you know about issues ahead of time and can tackle them before you list the property. You might choose to make repairs, adjust the list price with the help of your agent, or some combination of the two.
Like anything in life, even the most beneficial things have a few downsides. The important thing is to know what they are so you can see if the pros outweigh the cons in your particular situation. If you decide to get a pre-listing home inspection, there are a few critical points that you need to keep in mind.
- If your pre-listing inspection turns up some negative information, you could now be obligated by law to disclose those problems to potential buyers. Although this could be perceived as a negative, there’s another way to look at it. The majority of buyers end up getting a home inspection, so one way or the other those issues are likely to come out; with a pre-listing inspection, at least you have the opportunity to resolve problems before buyers have to deal with them.
- As the seller, when you get a pre-listing inspection, you are responsible for the cost. Make sure you budget accordingly in your selling expenses for not only the cost of the inspection but of any repairs that may need to be addressed as a result.
A pre-listing home inspection works pretty much like a regular inspection that a buyer gets before they purchase a home. The only real difference is that you, as the seller, are paying for the inspection.
Your first step is to find a licensed inspector through the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and set up an appointment for them to come to your home. When the inspector arrives at your home it's best for you to stay with him during the walk-through so that he can point out any issues and discuss them with you in person.
The inspector will examine several areas of your home including the HVAC system, foundation, roof, walls, ceilings, floors, visible insulation, interior plumbing, electrical systems, structural components, windows, and doors. After a few hours, the inspector will complete his examination of the property and provide you with a detailed written report that outlines everything he discovered during his inspection. Depending on what the results are, you can decide if you want to fix the issues before you list the property, or you can discuss any possible price adjustments with your agent. Whatever you decide, remember that you will have to share a copy of the report with any potential buyer, but you can also use the fact that you got a pre-listing inspection as a draw for buyers.
If you’re still uncertain about whether you should get a home inspection before you list your property, discuss the option with your agent. A professional real estate agent is a great resource and can be a sounding board for whether or not a pre-listing inspection is right for you and your property. In most cases, you will find that getting your home inspected before you list is a powerful asset to achieving a successful sale.