A Home Inspection – Again?

What? Two home inspections on the same property? Yes. If you’re selling a home, you’ll want one done, and the prospective buyer will want one done, too. If you do a pre-sale home inspection on the home you’re selling, you’ll save yourself and your prospective buyer a lot of hassles down the road.

Put yourself in the buyers shoes for a minute. These days a buyer can’t be too careful, especially with so many foreclosed homes in uncertain condition on the market. Her real estate sales offer may depend on an acceptable home inspection. This inspection can make everybody involved a little nervous. After all, since a home is such a major investment, she’ll want to be sure things are all right before she buys and makes it her home.

Is that home structurally sound? Are all the major and minor components functioning at the time of the inspection? Are those components going to have a reasonable life expectancy comparable to the price you, the seller, are asking.

So What happens when the home inspector she brings in finds major problems? What if there’s a failing roof or a foundation that shows signs of moisture penetration? You can bet she’ll be quite concerned, especially if she’s a first time home buyer. She may want further evaluations or may back out of the deal altogether.

Most home buyers will have a home inspected, and the inspector will find problems, whether they’re major or minor, you can count on it. The best way to avoid or minimize such problems is to have a pre-sale inspection done when you’re ready to sell your home.

There are several important benefits of having a pre-sale inspection done. First, it will bring you peace of mind because you’ll find problems before a prospective buyer’s inspection points them out. Then you can take time to find reasonable and affordable fixes.

Second, the pre-sale inspection gives you a peak into what you can anticipate when dealing with the buyer. She may try to use the home’s defects as negotiating leverage to lower the sales price. She may want major work done, which will slow the sales process or kill the deal entirely. Since a pre-sale inspection will mention any deficiencies and provide a cost analysis, you’ll be better informed ahead of time.

But there’s another side to this coin. The pre-sale inspection will also highlight the assets of your home. This gives you sound reasoning for your asking price and will leave little room for the buyer to negotiate a reduced price when she sees the home inspector’s report.

A pre-sale inspection can help avoid a disclosure lawsuit. If the inspection brings to light something you weren’t aware of, that will likely be disclosed on the disclosure form. You don’t want something unexpected to pop up after your buyer has closed on the deal. She could say you knew about the defect and file suit for damages. This can cost thousands of dollars, cause mortgage default, or years of court battles and headaches. You want to demonstrate to your buyer that you’re serious about making the sale and, most importantly, that you’re honest.

Incidentally, if you’re attempting to buy a home yourself, while trying to sell your current home, don’t take home inspection shortcuts. If you’re using the same company to do a pre-sale inspection on the home you’re selling and a prospective buyer’s inspection on the home you’re contemplating, ask the company for a reduce price on one of the inspections.

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