Pre-listing home inspection?
Obtaining pre-listing inspections differentiate your home from the competition and may boost your home’s chances of selling by helping satisfy prospective buyers. There are some Pros and Cons you should think about as you decide whether to move forward with obtaining pre-listing inspections and figure out a plan around how to leverage the reports.
1. Pre-listing inspections won’t make the deal, but they can help optimize your chances of closing the deal.
Pro – Buyers are not going to buy a house they wouldn’t consider otherwise because it has reports, but if they are debating between your home and another property, a clean bill of house health, documentation that needed repairs have been completed, or even reports showing what needs doing can help push buyers off the fence.
Pro – Many homes fall out of escrow because of condition issues not discovered until the transaction is partially underway. Sometimes, advance inspection reports can surface issues, allow you to get repairs completed and thus avoid that issue.
Pro – Pre-listing inspections show issues too big for you to have repaired that will be deal-killers for almost any mortgage lender. In this case, you do yourself the favor of forgoing even bothering trying to get it past a mortgage lender and empower yourself to list it as a cash-only sale for a fixer-upper price.
Con – Some buyers like to physically be there on the day of the inspection. This help them understand the condition issues and may relieve some conflicts of buying your home.
2. Having pre-listing inspections may change your disclosure requirements.
Con – Once you obtain pre-listing inspections, you may have a legal duty to provide information about any defects turned up to prospective buyers.
Pro – That still might make sense, especially if the home is in great shape or you do elect to invest in necessary repairs. Just be aware that by obtaining the inspections you might heighten your own legal duties vis-à-vis making disclosures about the condition of the home.
3. Your prelisting inspection won’t replace the buyer’s inspections.
Con – To be clear, whatever inspection(s) you obtain won’t be the inspection — it will just be an inspection. You’ll want to expressly advise the buyer that the pre-listing inspections — and I would encourage you to consider a pest inspection, property inspection and a roof inspection — are for their information only. You don’t want the buyer to rely totally on it and forgo his own due diligence for liability reasons.
Pro – Your aim is to either verify the place is in good shape, clear the place of major repairs or brief them on why the property is being priced in that way and what they’ll need to do (or won’t need to do) later, assuming you can negotiate an as-is offer.
You want the buyer to still obtain his own inspections, so he can attend, ask questions, select the inspector and not fault you for anything that is missed. And you should work with your listing agent to require that the buyer sign your written advice to get his own inspections, as well as to make the property available to the buyer for just that purpose.