Bryck Guibor inspects the air handler of a SaddleBrooke home during a pre listing inspection.

Deciding to sell your house is often the easy part. What’s more daunting is actually preparing your home for sale and its inevitable inspection by a prospective buyer. As a seller, it’s easy to get attached to your home and overlook its wear and tear. A potential buyer will not. After all, purchasing a home is a sizeable investment and buyers want to know they’ve chosen well. To do so, they rely on the advice of a professional inspector. Even though an inspection can make or break a deal, most sellers surprisingly take a back seat and wait for the results of the buyer’s inspection, hoping for no surprises.

While it is typically the buyer who first orders a home inspection, sellers can also request a professional assessment of their home before putting it on the market. Savvy sellers can opt to complete an inspection before potential buyers even walk through the door. A pre-listing inspection provides sellers an edge with up front information about the condition of their property, giving them more control over repairs and potentially strengthening their negotiating position.

Some fundamental advantages of conducting a pre-listing inspection:

Know the Exact Condition of Your Home – Price Your Home More Accurately

Pre-listing home inspections help define how your home will be positioned on the market. The home inspection doesn’t obligate you to fix everything, nor are you required to provide the report to a prospective buyer. (You and your realtor are required to disclose material defects discovered by inspection and can strengthen your seller disclosure by showing repair receipts.) It simply helps sellers decide whether to market their home as a fixer-upper or move-in ready property and price it accordingly.

You Can Make the Repairs in Advance – Buy Time and Save Money

Often, items that come up on a pre-listing inspection are much easier to deal with in advance, rather than the scant five calendar days the seller has to respond to buyer repair request via the BINSR form (Buyer Inspection Notice/Seller Response.) If you are aware of a major problem in advance, you’ll have more time to explore various treatment options and can save money by shopping bids.

Reassure Prospective Buyers – Gain the Competitive Edge

A pre-inspection is a goodwill gesture to buyers. It demonstrates a willingness to go beyond the expected and sets you apart from other sellers. You will be far more informed on your home’s present condition (especially you seasonal residents!) and can confidently show a buyer that issues have been taken care of for the property.

Minimize Stress in the Sales Process – Close More Quickly

One of the biggest fears sellers face is the chance the buyer’s home inspection is going to uncover something that will kill the sale. Not knowing what may be wrong with your home adds unneeded anxiety. The buyer’s inspector may discover problems you weren’t aware of, which could cost you unexpected expense and delay the sale. Worse, the buyer might even cancel the contract.

Knowing your home’s condition up front removes the stress that the buyer’s 10-day due diligence period can induce in a seller. With a pre-listing inspection, you will know what items are important to fix and can rely on your inspector’s advice as you prepare your home for sale. Once under contract, you will likely sail through the buyer inspection, avoiding some of the nitpicking and additional costly concessions that can occur.

Hiring a Good Inspector

To find a good inspector, rely on recommendations from real estate professionals, request a sample of the inspector's reports, inquire about the extent of their field experience, and make sure that the inspector is licensed and certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI.) Expect to pay $350 to $500, depending on the size of your home, the number of systems and the extent of inspections required (additional HVAC unit and pool/spas will cost extra.) If you have a tile roof, it is advisable to hire an inspector who is qualified to walk tile roofs for close inspection. In addition, avail yourself of the free inspection that roofers offer. (Again, ask your realtor for reliable roofing contractor references.)

Bryck Guibor, current board member and, twice, the past president of Arizona ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors), and its Education Director for over a decade advises, "Look for a home inspector with construction or engineering experience who is a current ASHI member. They’ve gone through years of training and must fulfill continuing education requirements to keep on top of annual changes of industry standards. A seller inspection will give you clear expert’s view of your home and ensure that you’re not blindsided by the unexpected. You should receive a detailed report with photos and a punch-list of items to get your home in its best condition for sale." Bryck also recommends having your real estate agent present during the inspection to get a clear understanding of issues so that he or she may best advise you moving forward what items buyers are going to focus on.

Prelisting Inspections are Almost Always a Good Idea

When it comes to home inspections, you can make a little mistake of paying for a pre-listing inspection and finding very little wrong, or you can make the big mistake of foregoing a pre-listing inspection and, later, being blindsided by the unexpected. The reality is that a few hundred dollars spent on pre-listing inspections may, in the end, save sellers thousands of dollars. A pre-listing inspection offers too many benefits to ignore. Plan better, rest easier and, quite possibly, sell your home more quickly and for greater profit!

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