Should You be Getting a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

You might assume that the home inspection process is just for new home buyers looking to investigate a property before making an investment, However, the pre-listing home inspection might just be a seller’s best asset. If you’re preparing to sell your home anytime soon, having a pre-listing home inspection checklist can ensure that you get top-dollar offers.

The impact an early inspection has on your sale depends on your unique property and market conditions. We’ll break down how a pre-listing home inspection works and how it can benefit your home sale.

What Is a Pre-Listing Inspection?

A pre-listing inspection gives the seller a complete picture of their property’s current condition before they list it on the market. The inspection examines similar components (as in a buyer’s full home inspection) except it occurs before the home is listed, giving the seller ample time to make any repairs deemed necessary. During the homebuying process, the full home inspection is often a pivotal point in which many deals fall through, but a pre-listing inspection can be an excellent investment for sellers to stay one step ahead.

What Is Covered in a Pre-Listing Inspection?

A pre-listing inspection provides sellers with a detailed assessment and valuable insights regarding their home’s condition. The only difference between a pre-listing inspection and a full home inspection is the time at which it occurs.

During a pre-listing home inspection, a certified home inspector will assess the property, noting the conditions of major structural components and features. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors a home inspection checks a home’s:

  • Electrical systems
  • Plumbing systems
  • Roofing
  • Heating and air-conditioning systems (HVAC)
  • Foundation
  • Ceilings
  • Walls
  • Windows and doors
  • Insulation
  • Attic spaces
  • Basement

The inspector will determine whether there are issues with these features, looking for signs of damage like leaks, faulty wiring, and code violations. It’s important to keep in mind that most home inspections do not evaluate the conditions of the paint, wallpaper, and other finishes.

When Should You Get a Pre-Listing Inspection?

A pre-listing inspection makes sense for anybody who is trying to sell their home. It’s useful because it allows the seller to be proactive in uncovering, understanding, and repairing any issues with their homes they may or may not have been aware of. We recommend that sellers schedule their pre-listing inspection at least 45-60 days before they intend to list their home on the market, this gives them ample time to conduct maintenance and make repairs.

What Are the Benefits of a Pre-Listing Inspection?

A pre-listing inspection benefits sellers by giving them time to make repairs ahead of listing their homes and allows prospective buyers to see a full and transparent report of all issues (both former and current) with the home providing them with peace of mind and confidence in the investment. 

This also impacts real estate agents because it makes negotiations shorter and easier, often resulting in a faster close.

Note: The sellers are not obligated to share the inspection with the buyer. It can simply be a useful tool for making repairs before the listing.

How Much Does a Pre-Listing Inspection Cost?

According to Home Advisor, the current national average for a home inspection is $340. But the cost of a pre-listing inspection is extremely dependent on local market conditions, as well as the size and age of the home.

If you are limiting your pre-listing inspection to a specific area (i.e. the roof) you can expect to pay less than a full home inspection. If you want a comprehensive evaluation, expect to pay the same as a standard home inspection in your area.

Here’s How a Pre-listing Home Inspection Can Benefit Your Sale

The main advantage of conducting a pre-listing home inspection is that it allows you to identify issues and complete repairs before a buyer is involved. Let’s take a look at how this and other benefits can accelerate the home sale process.

Get Ahead of Repairs

For any issue uncovered during the pre-listing inspection, either minor or significant, you should work with your real estate agent to determine what should be addressed through repairs before listing.

For sellers opting to complete some repairs before listing, this provides ample time for you to research available contractors and find the best prices. Having control of the projects can save you a lot of time, money, and stress instead of trying to find a last minute contractor to fix an issue found during your buyer’s home inspection. These last minute fixes could hold up the transaction or end up costing you more if you need the contractor to be on a tight schedule.

On the other hand, some issues are best left to the buyer’s discretion on addressing the repairs. Some issues are not necessary to the viability of the sale, and in some cases, the new owners may want to have control over their repairs and have them completed to a specific liking. Again, work with your agent to figure out the best plan for repairs for your situation to get your home ready for the market. The agent will be able to guide you based on the current market and the types of buyers that are currently seeking to purchase.

Price Your Home Accurately

Choosing the right price to list your home is tricky for any home heading to market. You don’t want to scare away potential buyers by pricing too high, but you don’t want to leave money on the table by pricing it too low either.

You might have a general idea in your mind about what your home is worth, based on neighborhood prices online or your last appraisal. However, throwing a number out there without a pre-listing inspection could mean your asking price is off target. Use your report with your agent’s input to add value where you can for remodeled areas or newer appliances and to take off where you need to for outdated wiring or an aging water heater.

Better Marketing

Aside from listing the issues of the home, you can use the pre-listing inspection report to draw attention to the positive features uncovered during the inspection.

For example, the inspection may reveal that your roof is in excellent condition and has many good years left on it. If so, you can use the inspection report to promote that on the listing. Sharing the findings of the pre-listing inspection is a great way to build trust with prospective buyers.

Less Negotiations

When it comes time for the buyer to have their own home inspection, you can avoid many common negotiations that often follow since many negotiations are over making repairs (or not) based on the issues found by the inspector, With your pre-listing inspection, you will already have accounted for the condition of your home and worked with your agent to handle the disclosures. Having information upfront for both the buyer and seller will help both parties stay on the same page as the transaction continues.

Should the buyer’s inspection uncover any new issues, you will have an inspection report backup to compare and even call the inspector who did the pre-listing inspection for another consultation on the subject.

Save Money

When issues are discovered during a buyer’s home inspection, the buyer and seller will enter negotiations to determine who will cover costs of repairs. In general, buyers tend to significantly overestimate the costs of these repairs, and the seller loses far more money than he or she would have paid to have completed the repairs before listing the home.

The seller can potentially save themselves thousands of dollars by making the repairs identified in the pre-listing inspection ahead of time.

Build Buyer Confidence

When you’re selling a house, you have to be honest about the condition, according to the rules in many states. Since most buyers want a home inspection, any problems will likely be found anyway.

If you share the results of a pre-listing inspection early on, it shows the buyer that you’re being honest and have nothing to hide. This can make them choose your house over others nearby. It also saves time by dealing with repairs sooner which can make the whole process easier and faster. You can get your money from the sale quicker.

By disclosing any issues in advance, the buyers can feel confident they are making a deal with a trustworthy person who is not trying to hide anything.

Determine if a Pre-Listing Inspection Is Right for Your Home Sale

While a pre-listing home inspection can certainly speed things up, it isn’t always the right choice. Pre-listing home inspections are better served on a case by case basis. To help you figure out whether or not a pre-listing home inspection is right for you, consider the following.

You should seriously consider a pre-listing home inspection if:

  • You have deferred maintenance – If you are aware of maintenance issues and haven’t tended to them properly, it’s a good idea to inspect your home before listing.
  • A quick sale is your top priority – If you need to sell your home ASAP, a pre-listing inspection might be worth it so you know you’ve done everything in your power to speed up the process.
  • You’re marketing your home as a “fixer-upper” – Buyers looking for a fixer-upper need to estimate total repair costs. Without conducting a pre-listing inspection buyers may low-ball you to get a deal on a home that needs an underestimated amount of work.
  • You’re selling your home remotely – If you live far away from the property you’re selling and have not kept tabs on its condition, a pre-listing inspection can help you get up to speed and make an accurate listing price.

You may want to skip the pre-listing home inspection if:

  • Your local market is hot – If the housing market in your area favors sellers and homes are selling left and right, you won’t need a pre-listing home inspection to entice buyers.
  • You plan on selling your home to a direct buyer If you plan to sell your home to a direct buyer like “iBuyer” or a local cash buyer operation, there’s no advantage to conducting a pre-listing inspection. Direct buyers follow specific property evaluation criteria. If they inspect homes, they’ll only rely on their own inspection.
  • You’re selling a new buildIf your home was built within the last few years buyers may be more confident in its condition. In this case, a pre-listing inspection is unlikely to influence offers or negotiations.
  • You’re absolutely sure nothing is wrong with your propertyMaybe you’re a contractor who has kept your home in mint condition. If you intimately know your property, you may not want to pay for information you’re already aware of.

If you are still unsure of whether or not you want to pay for a pre-listing home inspection, consult your real estate agent. An experienced real estate agent knows the local market inside and out and can advise if a pre-listing home inspection can benefit your sale.

Conclusion

A pre-listing home inspection is an option that all home sellers should explore. The journey of closing a deal can be a long and tedious one and the proactive approach is a wise move that can put you ahead of the game while ensuring a win-win outcome for both you and the buyer. Not to mention, it can save you thousands in the long run.

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