With the volatility of today’s market serving as a constant reminder to the fragile state of our housing sector, prospective sellers are becoming more reluctant of possible transactions. Therefore, precautionary steps are becoming increasingly popular to protect the value of a property. Home inspections, in particular, are becoming more popular before a house is even listed. Sellers have begun to enlist the services of home inspectors prior to the listing of their property. In doing so, owners may eliminate the threat of any unexpected costs or hazards that could reduce their asking price. A home inspection can cost as much as $500, but real estate experts say it’s a great way to take any of the unknowns out of the home selling equation.
“The buyer has the upper hand when they have an inspection,” says Coldwell Banker consumer specialist and agent Jessica Edwards. “If you are willing to do it ahead of time, you give the control back to the seller.”
Many real estate professionals, and those familiar with the industry, acknowledge the importance of pre-listing home inspections. Having a home inspected before it is placed on the market provides a myriad of relatively cost-effective benefits to the seller. Accordingly, upfront prices of the inspection should do little to deter those who are interested in selling their properties.
Addressing the need for a home inspection, prior to listing the property, identifies any potential problems that could scare away prospective buyers. While the process of purchasing a house is already intimidating, identifying significant structural and cosmetic problems beforehand could eliminate any potential fear a buyer may have. Ultimately, taking care of any problems before the buyer is made aware of their presence will likely facilitate a timely and profitable transaction.
“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. This process is particularly helpful to owners who refuse to adjust the price of their home according to relative fixes.
Edwards continues to express her approval for pre-listing home inspections, as they may be cheaper for homeowners in the long-run. Taking care of any problems before closing will eliminate the possibility of the buyer using a more expensive contractor.
In continuing with the trend of pre-listing improvements, sellers are advised to take the necessary precautions when dealing with pests as well. According to Leslie Piper, a consumer housing specialist for Realtor.com, “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,” says Piper. “Having these inspections can be beneficial for a successful home sale, and also beneficial for a seller’s future budgeting plans.”
However, not every situation requires a home inspection before the listing. If the home is very new or located in a competitive real estate market, a pre-sale inspection may be a waste of money. “A lot of times, if there are seven or eight bids on a given house, the home inspection is negotiated out,” says Ed Berenbaum, CEO of Century 21 Redwood in Washington, D.C.
Home inspections should be common practice amongst prospective homebuyers. Enlisting the services of a certified home inspector is well worth the additional charge, as they will serve to mitigate the risk of hidden costs and provide peace of mind. Perhaps even more importantly, however, is hiring the right home inspector. Do your due diligence and make sure you hire someone that can be trusted.