Get home inspected before marketing
Real Estate Adviser,
Should you have your own home inspected before putting it on
the market for sale?
-- Sandra W.
There are many compelling reasons to do so. Traditionally, inspections
have been paid for by buyers as part of the due diligence in accessing
a property. But a seller inspection, also known as a prelisting
inspection, is always a prudent practice.
That is particularly true in the buyer's market that
prevails today in many regions of the country.
Such an inspection takes some of the fear and distrust
out of the equation for the buyer and helps establish you as a conscientious
seller. And the aboveboard image you'll project doing this just
might give you the edge over other competing sellers. What's more,
if there are problems you are not aware of, it's better to find
out earlier rather than later. That way, you can shop around for
the best price to remedy the problem, rather than accept the price
tag an inspector, the buyer or a closing agent might attach to it.
The earlier you get the inspection the better -- well
before you put your house on the market -- because it may reveal
underlying flaws and problems -- i.e., "defects" -- that
must be addressed to make the place more palatable for a buyer.
It may also keep you from wasting money making minor
repairs to an area that in the end requires larger-scale work, should
a more significant underlying problem be discovered. Make sure you
leave yourself at least a month or so after the inspection to perform
Ideally, your inspector will be comfortable with you
following him or her around during the inspection to allow you to
observe and ask any questions about your home's condition and how
to address any flaws. This way, the written report the inspector
produces when the process is completed will make more sense to you
and you'll find it easier to point out the needed repairs to contractors.
In some cases, buyers would rather accept a cash credit
on the purchase price and perform their own repairs, particularly
if they involve areas they would prefer to establish their own tastes
in wallpaper, built-ins and paint-color schemes. If you have already
conferred with a listing agent, ask her which repairs buyers typically
want to handle themselves.
Of course, a prelisting inspection will not necessarily
replace the need for buyers to have their own inspections performed,
even when you produce a copy of your own inspection for the buyers
as part of disclosure. Nor will it guarantee that a buyer's own
inspector won't find other defects that will have to be addressed.
But it does signal your willingness to make things right and should
promote better-faith negotiations and a faster and smoother sale.
To ask a question of the Real Estate Adviser, go
to the "Ask
the Experts" page, and select "buying, selling a home"
as the topic.