I am a big fan of having my sellers get a pre-sale home inspection before we place their home on the market. Our history of homes we’ve sold that were pre-inspected shows us that it is clearly an advantage for sellers because their homes sell faster and for more money than those that chose not to do this. However, often times when I bring up this topic at my listing appointments I get the same questions from each seller. Below you will find common questions as well as my advice to my sellers.
-"Doesn't the buyer usually pay for it? I'd rather not pay for it I don't have to."
-"Isn't it better to wait so that a buyer doesn't know everything that's wrong with the house and they decide not to make an offer?"
I think most of the buyers in our market appreciate seeing a seller take this extra step and it rarely turns them off from buying the home if the repairs have been completed. If they are going to back out of the contract because of repairs that come up in their own home inspection (and you didn’t have the home pre-inspected), now you have lost marketing time and you still have to disclose that buyers home inspection report to the next buyer.
-"Well I know I need to put in GFCI's, but I want to leave that be for now so that that inspector has something to find and write up. If I fix all the repairs before we list the home, the next inspector is going to really dig deep to try to find something and find something big."
I would say GFCI’s are the most common item in older homes that my clients didn’t repair before they decided to sell their home so that they could “give the home inspector to write up.” Please, don’t assume the home inspector is just looking for a couple items to write up before he packs up his ladder and calls it a day! Everything visible in your house is going to be looked at, tested, and discussed so it is rare the inspector misses anything. It is also against the law to know that something is defective or not up to code in your house and not disclose that on the State of Alaska property transfer disclosure statement that the buyer receives. I also have many sellers that have been model homeowners and maintained their homes very well, but the average inspection report I see has anywhere from 5-20 items on it. In an older home it’s often closer to the 20 items. Some of these can be as simple as the grout in the shower needs to be removed and re-grouted, an outlet cover is loose, gutters don’t drain far enough away from the home to more serious items such as rotted decks, leaks in the roof, water in the crawlspace and so on.
-"I don't want to do repairs, I've set my price and if anything is wrong, the buyer can pay to have it fixed. I want the home sold as-is."
And that is perfectly okay with me to sell your home as-is. However the home has to be priced accordingly. You know those shelves at the grocery store towards the back of the store where all the dented cans and almost expired baked goods are shelved and priced for a fast sale, that’s what an as-is house is to a buyer. Just like the dented cans, it might sell but it probably will not sale at a price you were hoping for but for some sellers they are more interested in just getting rid of the house instead of putting that house in the best light possible in order to get top dollar. You will also limit the buyers that can buy your home. Nowadays, many loans will require certain repairs in order for that buyer to get the loan and it’s rare for a buyer to be willing to put money into a house they don’t already own to fix it up in order to get the loan. The fewer buyers there are for your home, the less demand which equates to a lower sales price. Also, just because a repair comes up on an inspection does not automatically mean the seller has to make that repair but at least the buyer is aware of the repair before making an offer and before you settle on a sales price versus accepting a sales price only to have the buyer do their home inspection and decide they want to go back and negotiate a price reduction and if all parties cannot come to an agreement, the buyer can terminate their contract.
-"If I have the home pre-inspected, does that mean the buyer won't have their own home inspection?"
Not necessarily, but in most cases yes. In my experience there are only a handful of inspectors that buyers use out of the hundreds of licensed home inspectors available. If you choose a reputable, thorough home inspector, many buyers will decide not to spend the money on an additional inspection. My suggestion to buyers is if you do choose to do your own that you withhold the first inspection report until your own home inspectors has completed their home inspection, then you can present them with a copy of the report and go over any areas that are not on their report also and take it from there. One important factor for the buyer in not choosing to have another inspection is how you went about getting repairs completed. Did you save receipts and invoices to show the buyer? Hire professionals that specialized in that repair? If a buyer does decide to move forward with their own inspection, feel confident that you have taken the extra step to prepare your home for the sale and that it’s going to be rare their home inspection reveals any big surprises!
If you are thinking of selling your home, call me at 317-1992 today so can come up with the best plan to get your home sold for the most money, with the least amount of hassles, in the least amount of time possible!