If you are planning to list your home for sale, you will likely look for ways to improve its sale ability. You may watch the latest episode of HGTV or call your local REALTOR®. Either way, good information is available on how to prepare your home for sale has value. You may consider staging the home or getting to that honey-do list. You might call Jeffrey C. Hogue (selfless plug) and have him list your home and take great home photos so it looks primed on all the web sites. Almost everything you come up with will have some level of effort & expense.
While all the ideas and efforts are worthy, they all pale in comparison to a pre-listing home inspection. Having your home inspected by a certified home inspector before your home hits the market offers a benefit to everyone who is and will be involved in the sale of your property.
It is likely that a home inspection will be done on your property at some point of the sale. According to the U.S. General Accounting Office, more than 85 percent of home buyers who applied for a mortgage also requested an inspection — not too surprising, since home inspections can reveal hidden flaws and potentially pricey repairs. It is normally done by the buyer as a contingency of the agreement.
Let’s say you get full price for your home. The buyer asks for 15 days to have a home inspection completed. The inspector finds problems that you are unaware of. Next, the buyer asks for the items to be repaired and or asks for a cash credit so they can repair them later. If you disagree with the home inspectors assessment of issues; you may decide not to entertain the buyers request the deal could be over. Yes, the buyer could either void the deal if they are not satisfied with the home inspection report or do so later if you do not agree to fix the items or part with the cash. There goes the full price offer 🙁
The scenario above plays out every day in real estate deals. The issues relating to this scenario are the sheer waste of valuable marketing time and stigmatization of a good home. While these inspections are taking place your home is off the market. In many cases, it could be over 20 days to complete the inspection. The second problem is one of disclosure. If you decide not to repair the items the buyer requested and/or disagree with the inspectors report you still have to disclose the alleged issues to the next prospect. How does this sound…. “Great home in Berks County with a roof that may need to be replaced”. This does not have the sound of a home that will sell anytime soon.
For 10 years I have been advising sellers to have a pre-listing home inspection done. Following are some of the benefits:
- Reassure prospective buyers: Even after a walk-through or two, buyers rarely know exactly what to expect from a home inspection — there’s always the possibility of termites gnawing on that rustic log cabin or faulty wiring lurking behind those faux-finished walls. Providing a pre-inspection assures the buyer that no major surprises are in store; while they might not waive their own follow-up inspection, they will at least feel more comfortable about placing a bid.
- Buy time and save dough: Even in a relatively new or completely renovated home, chances are a home inspector can find a red flag or two. When a fault is found during a typical home inspection, you may only have a few days to decide whether to make the repair or adjust the sale price appropriately — and you will need to find a solution that satisfies the buyer. A pre-inspection gives you more time to compare prices and treatment options from a variety of contractors. You may also avoid conceding a huge chunk of change for unpredictable repair costs like mold remediation or structural work.
- Know where you stand: Generally, your final selling price is determined long before the inspector ever sets foot inside your door. That leaves a question mark lingering over your negotiations — are you going to be forced to drop your final figure again if a major problem is uncovered? By getting an inspection early, you’ll know what concessions a buyer might request. That allows you to set your asking price accordingly and find out whether or not you’re in a position of competent negotiation. This gives your Agent, me (another selfless plug), better opportunity to competently negotiate a deal.
- Prevent repeat repairs: No matter how handy you are, there’s always a risk of misdiagnosing a problem. But getting your home pre-inspected could help you avoid wasting money on unnecessary repairs. Say your toilet hasn’t been flushing quite right, so you pay a plumber to replace it — only to learn upon inspection that the problem was in your septic system. A pre-inspection helps you avoid doing double-duty, since the inspector can pinpoint the problem and recommend the right repair.
I have advised my customers to use Apple Home Inspections to complete the task. I have used many inspectors and found Ron Eckenroth to be accurate, fair and effective. Apple is also very well respected within the Berks County real estate community.
Many home inspectors are more concerned about their liability than the homes habitability. Their inspection reports are 40+ pages and simply point out issues that may exist and advise the buyer to get someone who specializes in the field in which they may have an issue. In my opinion, this is passing the buck (or liability) to someone else.
To see an example of a home inspection completed by Apple CLICK HERE. Everything is photographed and commented on. Simple and effective.
My pre-listing home inspection program works like this…You, the seller, pay for the inspection when Ron shows up to complete it. The cost of the home inspection is $250.00 for homes under 3,000 square feet and $300.00 for homes over 3,000 square feet. He gives you a receipt and sends a digital copy of the report to you and I. We can then review the inspection together. It is your choice of what gets fixed and what does not. Many times this decision can only be made after an estimate is provided by a professional in the field that relates to the issue. I often refer my customers to All American Remodeling. He is a general contractor and never saw a job that was too big or small. His prices are great and he is dependable as well. At least, that is what our customers tell us. You can use anyone you like for this task. Once we have all the information gathered together then, I will prepare a document called the “Addition To The Seller Property Disclosure Statement” CLICK HERE to preview a copy of this document. This document is then added to any Agreement of Sale that is proposed on your property to complete the full disclosure.
It has been my experience that one in every three home buyers re inspects the home. In some cases they hire Apple Home Inspections to do a walk-through to see that the sellers have repaired certain items or that no other issues have developed since the initial inspection. This saves time and money for both the buyer and seller.
At the end of the day I find most sellers simply want to sell their home and pass along a good product to the new buyers. The buyers want to find a good home at a fair value with no surprises. The agents want everyone to be happy. It is better to have a seller who wants to sell and a buyer who wants to buy than the most thorough Agreement of Sale ever written. Good solid information and disclosure is a great start on the path to making a home sale less complicated.
Jeffrey C. Hogue