Pre-Listing/Pre-Sale Inspections

Eventually your buyers are going to conduct an inspection. You may as well know what they are going to find by getting there first. The author points out that having an inspection performed ahead of time helps in many other ways:

  • It allows you to see your home through the eyes of a critical third-party
  • It helps you to price your home realistically
  • It permits you to make repairs ahead of time so that:
  • Defects won't become negotiating stumbling blocks later
  • There is no delay in obtaining the Use and Occupancy permit
  • You have the time to get reasonably priced contractors or;
  • Make the repairs yourself, if qualified
  • It may encourage the buyer to waive the inspection contingency
  • It may alert you of items of immediate personal concern, such as radon gas or active termite infestation
  • It reduces your liability by adding professional supporting documentation to your disclosure statement
  • It may alert you to immediate safety issues before agents and visitors tour your home

A Pre-Sale Inspection Gives Home Sellers The Competitive Edge

Most real estate agents will agree that a house in good physical condition is more likely to sell, and command a higher price, than one that needs a great deal of repair. Yet according to home inspection experts, approximately half of the resale homes on the market today have at least one significant defect, and just about all homes need some maintenance and repair work.

Addressing problems before listing not only makes the property more attractive and desirable, it also simplifies the negotiation process when the time comes for the buyer's pre-purchase home inspection. A favourable home inspection report offered by the seller confirms the buyer's initial good feelings about the home, and helps to expedite the sale.

To identify the building components that are most in need of repair, many sellers commission inspections before putting up the "for Sale" sign. The person best qualified to do this is a professional home inspector.
According to the professional inspectors, a home buyer's primary concern is the condition of the home's basic structure and major electrical and mechanical Systems. Sure, they are concerned about; flooring, paint colour and other elements, but they know they can change these things relatively inexpensively. Most buyers, particularly when there's a large selection of homes to choose from, consider only those homes which don't require a great deal of time and money to repair.

The best items to repair, then, are those which typically appear on home inspection reports. A recent survey of professionals found that the #1 problem was improper grading and drainage around the house, a leading contributor to foundation water penetration. The second most frequently found problem area was the electrical system, including situations such as insufficient electrical service to the house, inadequate overload protection, and amateur, often dangerous, wiring connections. Though these problems are not especially costly to fix, they do significantly affect a buyer's impression of a home.

Roof damage, and mechanical problems with the heating and air conditioning systems, were the third and fourth most frequently reported problems. Repairing worn or improper roof flashing as well as faulty HVAC controls are examples of maintenance investments that will pay off when the time comes for the buyer's own evaluation.

Pre-sale home inspections can also point out important safety precautions which buyers will appreciate, such as installing Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI's) in "wet" areas, such as kitchen counter tops, bathrooms, and exterior outlets and safe storage of flammable products.

When selecting a home inspector for this pre-sale evaluation, it is important to look for someone with the right professional qualifications, objectivity, and training; someone who has demonstrated competence in this field, and will not use the inspection, for example, to solicit repair work. An inspector's membership in a professional home inspectors' association should therefore be a primary consideration.

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