How sellers can save with a prelisting inspection
Originally published in Realtor Magazine 9/23/13
Source: FOX Business 9/18/13
Home inspections have the power to send all parties back to the negotiation table. As such, some sellers are taking the precautionary step of having an inspection done before listing the home for sale.
Some real estate professionals say that having a home inspection prior to listing can offer several benefits to the seller.
“The buyer has the upper hand when they have an inspection,” says Jessica Edwards, Coldwell Banker consumer specialist and real estate professional. “If you are willing to do it ahead of time, you give the control back to the seller.”
Sellers who have a home inspection upfront also can identify any major problems that could potentially derail a sale later on at the closing table. Any major repairs can be addressed beforehand. Doing repairs ahead of time might also be more cost-effective than having to pay a buyer's own licensed contractor do the work.
“If you have the items repaired or replaced ahead of time and it doesn’t come up with the buyer, it’s a non-issue,” says Edwards. Edwards says having a home inspection beforehand can also help sellers adjust their asking price if they aren’t willing to do certain repairs.
Leslie Piper, consumer housing specialist for realtor.com, suggests sellers consider a pest and roof inspection before listing.
“The costs of repairs or the replacement of a roof can vary and could be a big-ticket item a seller may want to be aware of before they choose the price they are hoping to get for their home,” Piper says. “Having these inspections can be beneficial for a successful home sale, and also beneficial for a seller’s future budgeting plans.”
In Seattle, the additional inspection I always recommend is a sewer scope. Many of Seattle's sewer lines are at an age of failure. Sewer problems can be very expensive - $5,000 - $35,000 - so missing that issue can cost a lot. Even new townhomes can use the old sewer line previous on the property. Doing a sewer scope before listing can eliminate surprised and allow more informed buyers to make an offer on their property.
Another advantage of doing a pre-inspection before listing is that you can require all offers not include an inspection contingency. Many buyers are frightened away from making an offer on a home they think will get multiple offers and won't accept an inspection contingency. They don't want make an uninformed offer, so that means they will have to spend $400-800 for their own inspection. So, many buyers just walk away without making an offer. By doing a pre-inspection, they can make an informed offer at no additional cost. You are essentially increasing your buyer pool and strengthening the offers you receive.