For me, being a successful realtor is more than pulling off a stress-free real estate transaction. My job surpasses buying or selling a home, it is almost like I become a teacher. An important part of my job as a real estate agent is educating and protecting my clients. There is the typical learning curve on what to expect when you list your home, how to prepare your home for sale, what are the legal aspects of the transaction, etc. But one component that makes most of my clients nervous is the home inspection. Therefore, my job is to teach my clients the pros and cons of a pre-listing inspection.
A home inspection is common practice on most real estate transactions. According to American Society of Home Inspectors a home inspection report will include:
The condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components.
The initial question that I usually receive from my clients is, “Should I have a home inspection before I put my home on the market?” Each house transaction is different, but there are some common rules I use when it comes to getting your house ready for a home inspection.
Knowing what you’re in for when it comes to selling a house is always better than getting a nasty surprise down the line. In the event you find repairs that need to be made, doing them ahead of time allows the repairs to be done in a reasonable time frame. When you have time on your side, you can wait for your favorite contractor, shop for lower priced supplies, or have time to make the repairs yourself.
Another bonus to having a pre-listing inspection is knowledge. The pre-listing inspection allows you to gather estimates for the repair. This is incredibly useful in situations down the line when you suspect the buyer’s home inspection reflects wildly inflated estimates for repairs.
Repairs vs Upgrades
You also need to know the difference between maintenance repairs and home upgrades. Buyers have a reasonable expectation that the home has been properly maintained. Making necessary maintenance repairs doesn’t mean that you can up the price on the listing. You can’t cover the cost of your new roof by pumping up the sale price. You might be able to use it as an effective marketing point over other listings in the area, but a roof is a maintenance repair, it is not a fabulous kitchen renovation!
If you don’t want to make the repairs, understand that not making repairs can have a disproportionately negative impact on your sale price. For example, if you want to hold off and not take care of a $1,000 plumbing repair, and pass that task and expense onto prospective buyers, the buyers are not going to equate that to $1,000 off the asking price. Instead, potential buyers are going to think about the time, inconvenience, and the cost of the repair. It is quite possible that a $1,000 repair might translate to a $3,000 reduction to the asking price. Buyers will want to be well-paid to handle a seller’s headache.
You Must Disclose
It is important to keep in mind that if you fail to disclose a problem found in the inspection, you could be in big trouble down the line. In this case ‘Honesty’ is the only policy!
There’s a definite benefit to the pre-listing inspection, but it’s important to consider the pros and cons with your agent. I’d be glad to have a conversation with you about the specific concerns you may have about your home if you’re preparing to list it. Please contact me today!