Prep to Sell Your Home – Part 2

Part 2:  The Pre-List Home Inspection – Why should I have one?

Home Inspections – we have all heard of them by now.  There was a time in the not-so-distant past when home inspections were unheard of or very rare, but they are now standard operating procedure in the process of buying a home.  But what about getting one in the process of selling a home?  In nearly all cases, this Realtor would consider it a good and prudent item to make part of the home selling process, and here are some reasons why:

1) Your house isn’t perfect.  Really?  Yes, that is correct.  In our day-to-day existence, we are not necessarily closely examining or paying attention to every little thing – we often live with much of it and just consider it a “quirk,”  and if you don’t mind, why should a buyer?  Because they are the buyer, and they will care.  What is a minor annoyance to you could be something that is scary to them (especially if they are first time home buyers), or worse, actually a symptom of something more significant being wrong.  Why not clear that up ahead of time?

2) Because you do not know your house as well as you think you do – almost NONE of us do.  You aren’t generally skulking around in your attic,crawl space or on your roof.  Most of us are not routinely checking wiring, plumbing (including septic tank/drain field), the heating and air, other mechanical systems of our homes, and structural integrity issues.  Unless you are a general contractor or professional home inspector, you are not qualified to do so (and then even further licensed in specialized areas), so hire a recommended home inspector to check out everything for you before your home goes on the market.

3) You have time before your home goes on the market to address any potential “deal killers”.  If the inspector finds an item that is a major issue, you will be able to get it addressed, know that you have had to spend this money (so you don’t enter into a sales contract at a very low price and then find you have a really expensive repair that must be done – you will know what money you have in to preparing your house to sell), and be able to have your Realtor advertise that the home has this new component, such as a new roof, encapsulated crawl space, new wiring, new plumbing, or radon mitigation system.

4) A pre-list home inspection is a measure of assurance to prospective buyers.  This is especially true in the case of selling an older home.  Have the inspection report available for buyers to see, along with any receipts from repairs that you have had done as a result of the inspection.  If there are issues that you do not have the financial resources to address, then you can have an estimate for that issue included and plainly state up front that that item is “As-is”.  

5) It will help you price your property correctly.  If the house needs major components that you are unable or unwilling to deal with before selling it, then you can account for this in the pricing of the home and state that up front.

6) It makes full disclosure of the condition of your property possible, and full disclosure is an important matter. The effort you take to fully disclose issues of your home may possibly help you to avoid troubles after the sale.  Reference Johnson v. Davis.  Sometimes it can be not what you did know, but what you should have known.

The only instance in which I can think of where a pre-list home inspection isn’t compelling is one in which the home has been purchased within the last couple of years and you have a home inspection report from that time to let prospective buyers view.  Still, if you have any component of your home that requires regular maintenance with a licensed professional, be sure to have whatever that is checked by the qualified service person prior to listing your home.

Prep right, price right, and you will sell right.  Cheers, n.