Should you get a pre-inspection before putting your house on the market?

Sometimes, sellers will have a pre-inspection performed on their home before hanging out the ‘For Sale’ sign. But is this a good idea?
It depends. In general, a pre-sale inspection of your home can be money well spent, for several reasons.

A pre-inspection sets you apart

Many sellers don’t have pre-inspections done, leaving inspections to the buyer. So by having a pre-inspection to show potential buyers, you’re demonstrating a willingness to go beyond what’s expected. You’re also sending a signal that you’re going to be up front about the property. This can give potential buyers peace of mind, that they know what they’re getting into.

It can reduce last-minute renegotiations—and save you money

A pre-inspection gives you, as the seller, a heads-up if there are issues that a potential buyer will likely want repaired. With that knowledge, you can have the problems fixed before you list. In a tough real estate market, the cleaner and more problem-free you can make your home, the faster it’s likely to sell.

Buyers know what they’re getting up front and can factor any needed repairs into their offer. And by disclosing all known issues up front, you’re protecting yourself against claims the buyer might make later–which sometimes result in lawsuits.

Alternatively, let’s say you don’t have a pre-inspection. During escrow, the buyer’s inspector discovers problems you didn’t know about. You can bet the buyer will then want to negotiate a lower price, which costs you money and can delay the sale. The buyer might even cancel the contract.

For instance, I know a buyer whose inspector found a leak from an upstairs bathtub. During escrow, the seller, under pressure, gave the buyer a $10,000 price break, based on a hastily arranged estimate from a contractor. As it turned out, the buyer bought the home and subsequently had the leak repaired—for $250.

It can highlight your home’s assets

Assuming you’re not trying to sell a fixer-upper, a pre-inspection can shine a spotlight on your home’s selling points, such as electrical upgrades you might have had made.

When not to have a pre-inspection

If you’re trying to offload a fixer-upper that would give even the Addams family pause, there’s no point in paying for a pre-inspection.

But if you’ve maintained your home and want to sell it as quickly, and as profitably, as possible, a pre-inspection is often a good idea.

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