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The Pre-Listing Inspection:  Knowing the score

Before the purchaser comes through the door

Having a home inspection done before you close on a home purchase is by now common practice and provides the buyers with assurances and education about their purchase.  But what about when you want to sell your home?

Many savvy real estate agents already know about the pre-listing inspection and its benefits but for those of you who don’t know or remain unconvinced, read on.  First, what is it?  

A pre-listing home inspection is a full, industry-standard inspection but is arranged by the seller.  All the findings are completely confidential between the seller and the inspector and it gives the seller a much higher degree of control over the inspection process.

Everyone thinks their home is perfect but in reality we find that is rarely the case.  When you get a pre-listing done you get to hear what the purchaser is going to hear about your home before they even walk in the door.  Since knowledge is power, you are now in control of that knowledge and are no longer powerless about the results.

Things like vermiculite insulation, asbestos wrapping on pipes, basement leaks behind the couch that hasn’t moved in 10 years can all send a potential buyer walking out the door.  Having a pre-listing inspection uncovers these items that possibly even the seller was not aware of.  The seller can now arrange repairs in a calm and unhurried timeframe, shopping for quotes and getting the work done to their satisfaction.  They could also leave as-is and simply disclose the item and adjust the price accordingly.  Either way, the defect has been noted and does not come up as a surprise negotiating tactic in the 11th hour, sometimes killing the deal!  

The pre-listing report can identify defects and put them into context as to what is normal and what is cause for concern.  Many times a home inspector will find something and the purchaser may use this as a negotiating tool when in actuality it is a very common condition.  Having an inspector in your corner allows you to say with some degree of confidence “no, I know this isn’t a big deal so let’s move on…”  For instance, a purchaser is looking at your 100 yr old house and sees narrow staircases, sloping floors, single pane windows, and wants a rebate for these things.  The seller has the benefit of the inspector’s experience to say “no, these things are normal for a home of this age and should be expected”

In a multiple offer situation, sometimes there simply isn’t time for each purchaser to have an inspection which in turn might deter some from even putting in an offer.  The pre-listing inspection then serves as a marketing tool so that each purchaser has access to the same information and can bid accordingly.

It is important to remember though that a good inspector is going to be completely honest with the house.  This means that they are going to identify defects that maybe you didn’t want committed to a report.  For this reason, I often recommend  the pre-listing consultation.  This is the same process as the pre-listing inspection but no report is generated that might confuse some buyers as to what has been fixed and what has been left as-is.

Bottom line, don’t be afraid to undertake your own pre-listing inspection or consultation, the pros can far outweigh the cons and allow you to sell your home with confidence!