Imagine, you list your home in our market that has exceptionally low inventory. You get multiple offers on your home within the first few days of going “live” on the MLS and plan to sell “As-Is” leaving you with more funds in your pocket and an amazingly easy escrow process considering, your home is the only home for sale in your entire neighborhood, right? Wrong.
Imagine what happens when there is no pre-listing inspection on your home. You settle on the best offer and open escrow. The buyers contract calls for an inspection to be completed by professional – hired by the buyer – as customary for our area. The inspection company, which works for the buyer, will almost always find challenges with the house. There could be things that the buyer didn’t expect or even, anticipate no matter how nominal. In our market, the buyer can terminate the contract based on inspection findings or the buyer will inevitably, ask the seller to make repairs or provide a concession on price to cover suspected repairs. When presented with the buyer’s request, the seller may take the opposite position of not wanting to do any of the repairs. The buyer could accept the property in its “as is” condition or negotiate the repairs or a reduced price with the seller. Your other offers have moved on to another property and you are stuck between negotiating with the buyer or risking them cancelling leaving other prospective Buyers wondering why the previous party cancelled and ultimately asking “what’s wrong with your property”.
Any experienced agent can tell you that sometimes a mutually agreed negotiation is reached and other times, an impasse is met that cannot be resolved. The contract is terminated, and the house has to go back on the market but this time, a disclosure has to be made to all parties looking at the home which may deter showings. Taking a pro-active approach, by obtaining a pre-listing inspection, the seller can find out about things that will probably show up in a buyer’s inspection. Another option would be to disclose findings from your inspection and make a price adjustment, either way, the seller is in control and is taking a position of transparency with potential buyers.
Disclosing things that are not in working order can reduce liability in the future. Unless it’s a glaring flaw or you’re a trained professional, you probably can’t tell if your home needs repairs. The home inspection is one of the most critical pieces of the buying and selling process. It’s good to know what to look for before any inspection. If you’re buying, you’ll have a better idea of what the inspector is looking for and if he or she misses anything. If you’re selling, you can have an idea of what to fix before your home goes on the market. It will take away the chance of surprises. The pre-listing inspection by a professional combined with the seller disclosing it properly can reduce potential liability.
For the small investment in the pre-listing inspection, the benefits are well worth the expense. Most buyers will have one done anyway. Do it now — and make any needed repairs before you put the home on the market. The service will probably run about $300 to $500 and your real estate professional can recommend several good inspectors. Deal with any surprises before time becomes of the essence. You will save money and there will be fewer hurdles to get your home closed.
Here are a few things to look for: Are there visible cracks? Are your appliances all working well? Do you hear any unusual noises?
Want to know more – get the full list on our website. I’ve been through many, many home inspections in the area. I can help you understand this checklist and how to negotiate after the home inspection.