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Getting a Home Inspection Before Listing

January 25, 2010
by Scott Levitt ·  

Q&A: Pre-listing Inspection?
Knowing the challenges before hand might be worth it.

Q: Should my prospective seller have a home inspection before putting their house on the market?

A: Yes, but you must educate your sellers on what actions to take after the inspection.

Knowing what you’re in for when it comes to selling a house is always better than getting a nasty surprise down the line. In the event the seller finds repairs that need to be made, they can be done in a reasonable time frame. It’s also useful in situations where you suspect the buyer’s home inspection reflects wildly inflated estimates for repairs. Also keep in mind that if you fail to disclose a problem found in the inspection, you could be in big trouble down the line.

With pre-listing inspections, you must educate your prospective clients as to the difference between maintenance repairs and home upgrades. Buyers have a reasonable expectation that the home has been properly maintained. Making necessary maintenance repairs doesn’t mean the seller can up the price on the listing. You can’t cover the cost of your new roof by pumping up the sale price. You might be able to use it as an effective marketing point over other listings in the area, but it’s not a fabulous kitchen renovation!

If your sellers do not want to make the repairs, explain that not making the repair can have a disproportionately negative impact on the sale price. For example, if your sellers want to dump a $1000 plumbing repair on prospective buyers, the buyers are not going to equate that to $1000 off the asking price. Instead, they’re going to think about the time, inconvenience, and the cost of the repair. A $1000 repair might translate to a $3000 hit to the asking price. Buyers will want to be well-paid to handle a seller’s headache.

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