A Pre-Listing Inspection Can Prevent A Missed Sale
Knowing about potential problems with a home before you list it will prepare you to deal with requests from potential buyers.
A home inspection can be nerve-wracking for the seller, especially in a market like this. Potential buyers aren’t afraid to demand that long lists of problems be addressed before the sale is finalized. This is happening more and more frequently, as I’m sure you’ve witnessed.
No matter how much you do to prepare the home, realize that a home inspector is always going to find something wrong.
More times than not, problems are minor and easy enough for the seller to either fix or credit towards the sales price. It's the not knowing and discovery of major deficiencies, coupled with the unwillingness of the seller to negotiate — that can kill a deal.
It’s always in the sellers (and your) best interest to be aware of anything that a home inspection might turn up. It can cost more to address a problem by lowering the sale price than it would have if it had been known and addressed before the buyers home inspector found it. For every $100 of cost, the buyer thinks it's worth a $1000 in price reduction. “The nature of the beast, so to speak.”
The thorough way to prepare is to have your seller get an unbiased inspection before you list the home on the market. A pre-listing inspection will tell you exactly what needs to be fixed before you begin your search for a buyer.
But sellers often don't spend the money for a pre-listing inspection for numerous reasons. Whether it be financial or the belief that there is nothing wrong with their home, a pre-listing inspection will address everything that is ultimately going to be addressed – and usually at a fraction of the cost.
A seller should know everything there is to know about their home so they can easily address it and talk about it if asked. Simple things like addressing and OLD water stain can make a world of difference. As we have all been told over the years – “There’s no second chance at a first impression.”
A home owner should walk out of the house, turn around and walk back in with fresh eyes as if they were the buyer.
Inspectors will be looking for problems with the home's mechanical systems such as HVAC, electrical & plumbing. Signs of water damage, mold, leaks, termites and structural or mechanical problems will always be a top priority. They'll also look at projects the homeowners have done themselves, including for example, that upgraded electrical outlets are grounded and working properly, ceiling fans were installed correctly and decks were built with proper structure.
As much as you can, have your seller get their house as ready as possible by fixing the problems or at minimum, have a plan on how you will address them when the buyer brings them up. Little things are just as important as the major things I have mentioned. Make sure that everything is clean and operable such as gutters, windows and peeling paint. Also, replace any leaky faucets, broken windows and squeaky doors and cabinets. You might also want to have the septic tank pumped and the furnace and air-conditioning systems serviced (as the should be every year).