A pre-listing home inspection - one that is obtained by the seller or their agent before a house is listed for sale – can positively influence a home buyer’s decision. It signals openness about the condition of the home and reduces the likelihood of unpleasant surprises - things that could potentially slow the transaction or bring the price down. Realtors who recommend pre-list inspections give their client's homes a marketing advantage.
These inspections also give the discriminating buyer upfront information on the condition of the home, and in some cases, a preemptive seller's inspection means that repairs and minor imprvements will more likely be completed. The report also signifies to buyers that the sellers made all efforts to sell the house and cared about selling to somebody who was going to be satisfied with the condition of the home and the repairs completed.
Some of the multiple benefits of conducting a pre-listing home inspection include financial advantages for home sellers who’ve made important repairs. Should a buyer request a specific repair as part of the sale agreement, the seller could easily be placed in the position of having that repair done at the last minute at a higher cost.
With their own inspection report, sellers can choose for example, to spend a few hundred dollars fixing a faulty electrical problem that might otherwise result in a negotiation for thousands off the asking price.
A seller who learns that portions of the roof need repair may opt to repair those sections immediately. Paying $5,000 for example, for the repairs is far more enticing than reducing the asking price by $10,000 or more, for a buyer who expects an entirely new roof covering. Buyers typically expect a $2 to $3 rebate for every $1 worth of defects turned up by their own inspector.
People often expect that buying a home is going to be a lengthy, complicated, and stressful process potentially lasting for weeks, or even months. The pre-listing home inspection reduces the stress inherent in such a major transaction, because both parties quickly gain a thorough knowledge of the home through a professionally prepared home inspection report.
Time spent on renegotiation can be reduced, maybe even eliminated, when valid information about the home is provided upfront to the buyer. This limits the potential of any surprises and tells the buyer that problems may have been found, and were repaired so the house is in the best condition possible.
Pre-listing home inspections are no longer a rarity in larger centres - they're becoming a valuable part of any seller's marketing. It's estimated that the number of homeowners choosing to conduct a pre-listing home inspection has tripled, or even quadrupled within the past one to two years.
Sellers who have invested in a pre-listing home inspection come to realize it was a small price to pay - average cost is $450 - $500 for a checklist covering priority items in their home. The result is that they're more prepared to sell the home quickly for the highest valuation and that home buyers are more receptive making an offer closer to the list price, because they feel comfortable with the information provided about the home's condition.
Gil Strachan is a professional home inspector, representing Electrospec Home Inspection Services in east-central Ontario since 1994.