By Tim Wojnar
Before I get started, I must confess, I am biased. As an inspector, why would I not want people to have more inspections done? But even with that in mind, I felt compelled to write this post because inspectors can help sellers as much as buyers when it comes to real estate transactions. So if you are thinking about listing your property now or in the near future, here are some reasons to have your current home inspected before listing.
1) You Will Give Your Potential Buyer's What They Want
When it comes to real estate transactions, money is often not the most significant factor when it comes to whether or not someone buys a home. More decisions are based on emotions and feelings than the end dollar amount (if it is within their price range). So when you list, why not offer potential buyers what they want and other houses aren't offering…..A Sense of Comfort.
If you were interested in a property and saw it had a pre-listing inspection and also had repairs done to rectify the larger issues, how would you feel? Would you feel a lot better about making an offer? Would you feel like offering more for the home than if it didn't have a pre-inspection? The studies say "yes," most people would. Having a pre-listing inspection can add thousands to what you sell your property for.
2) Save Money on Repairs and Credits
Inevitably if you have a pre-listing inspection, you will have items that may need repair. I believe this is one of the main reasons home sellers don't have an inspection done. But what also is inevitable is that when the buyer has the inspection done, they will have to ask for repairs or a seller's credit.
The real estate transaction timeline provides very little time for repairs to be done, so most sellers settle for paying credits to a buyer. Additionally, if you do agree to do a repair, you most likely have about a week to hire a contractor and get it fixed, not allowing you to shop for the best deal. Taking care of repairs on a pre-listing inspection can save you $ 100's if not more at the negotiation table. Equally, having paperwork from licensed contractors ready for potential buyers will only increase a buyer's confidence, as we discussed in Reason 1.
3) It Creates Leverage over the Buyer during Negotiations
The most significant leverage any buyer has over a seller during a real estate transaction is after the inspection when the attorney review negotiations occur. This is where they ask for their list of repairs or credits based on inspection items. If you hire a good home inspection company for the pre-listing inspection, there should be no surprises during negotiations. The buyer should have no grounds for asking for repairs or credits from you as everything was disclosed. The buyer may even decide to waive the inspection.
Every so often, you will get a request back based on another inspector's report. However, this is another advantage. I had a client who had a pre-inspection call me after their buyer's inspector called out a potential fire hazard on their report. Upon reviewing my report, I found that the inspector did not explain the issue right to the buyers and overblew an easy repair. That gave my client the ability to go back and say no to the repair request saving them several hundreds of dollars.
4) Getting Expert Advice on What to Fix
If you are thinking of having any repairs done before listing your home, having an inspector give his opinion on what is truly important can end up saving you a lot of money. I had a client who was thinking about replacing their roof for $15,000 because it was older, but when I inspected the roof, it was still in good shape. Inspectors spend a lot of time with buyers and know what makes them nervous and what they will most likely want fixed. Use that knowledge to your advantage and save money on not doing frivolous repairs.
5) Save Money by Closing Faster
As the saying goes, time is money. By having a pre-listing inspection, you are streamlining the closing process by disclosing everything about your property. As stated in Reason 3, you are taking the leverage away from the buyer which should speed up the rest of the closing steps. Sometimes closing a week or two earlier can save a lot of money and headaches, especially if you are also buying at the same time as you are selling your property.