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Home Selling

The Pros and Cons of a Pre-Listing Home Inspection for Sellers

Written by
Lindsey Hood
June 18, 2019

Whether you’re buying a home or selling one, home inspections are an essential part of the process. As a buyer, the home inspection serves as a safeguard against potential issues with the home. It allows you the chance to back out of a sale or renegotiate terms based on what’s found during the inspection.

For sellers, the home inspection can be a nerve-wracking process. Having to wait a week or two to find out if your home is in good enough condition for the sale to move forward can leave you on edge. There is, however, an option that may help to alleviate this feeling: a pre-listing home inspection.

What is a Pre-listing Home Inspection?

A pre-listing home inspection is when the seller elects to have a professional inspection of their home prior to putting it on the market. Although a pre-listing inspection doesn’t mean a seller is off the hook for the buyer’s home inspection, it does help uncover potential problems with the home before any offers are made or contracts are signed.

A pre-inspection can help you sell your home easier and faster, but it also costs you more time and money upfront. So you may be wondering, is it worth it? Should you as the seller have your home inspected before you list it on the market? Unfortunately, the answer is not so cut and dry. There are both pros and cons to having a pre-listing inspection, which we’ll explore further, in an effort to help you decide if a pre-inspection is right for you.

The Pros of a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

Pro: Reveals the Condition of Your Home

At first glance, things may appear to be in good working order, but you never know what types of problems could be lurking behind the walls, floors, and other corners of your home. A professional pre-inspection will help bring any potential issues to light. If an inspector doesn’t find anything wrong, great! You can rest easy at night knowing your home is in good condition. And if an issue does turn up? Now you have an opportunity to get ahead of it and avoid unwanted trouble with buyers down the road.

Pro: Builds Trust with Potential Buyers

By offering up a pre-inspection, you’ll help your home stand out from the crowd, while at the same time, building the confidence of prospective buyers. People looking to buy your home will feel much better about moving forward with a purchase knowing there aren’t any major issues that might cause them headaches later on. A pre-inspection can help eliminate any suspicions they may have about the condition of your home and help you sell your home faster.

Pro: Leads to More Accurate Pricing

If your home isn’t priced in line with the market, you’ll have a much more difficult time getting it sold. An overpriced home will sit on the market longer and an underpriced home means you could be missing out on money from the sale. The best way to avoid this is to hire an experienced REALTOR® who knows the market and can help you price your home accurately. But having a pre-listing inspection can also help. A pre-inspection will let you know exactly what kind of condition your home is in and help you better determine what it’s really worth.

Pro: Reduces the Possibility of Renegotiation

Regardless of whether you decide to go through with a pre-listing inspection, in most cases your home will be subject to a buyer’s inspection. Home inspections can often be a point of contention when the inspection reveals issues with the home. Many buyers will use the inspection as a way to renegotiate the deal, but a pre-inspection eliminates any unknowns and effectively, takes away this opportunity. This is especially helpful to sellers in multiple offer situations or in a strong seller’s market.

Pro: You Have Time to Make Repairs

If you forgo a pre-inspection, you may have to deal with the stress of last-minute repairs. If unexpected problems arise during the buyer’s home inspection, you’ll have to find a way to resolve the issues by the time closing rolls around. Making repairs in such a time crunch can cause a lot of unnecessary stress. But if you opt for a pre-inspection, you can work to get ahead of any problems that may come your way. You’ll have the opportunity to shop around for bids and fix issues on your own terms–without a deadline looming over your head.

The Cons of a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

Con: It’s Another Expense

While home inspections are typically covered by the buyer, the cost of a pre-inspection is the seller’s responsibility. Typically, a pre-inspection will cost anywhere from $200 to $500, not including the cost of any repairs that may need to be done after the inspection. In addition to a general inspection, your inspector may charge you more for radon testing, well water testing, and checking for the presence of mold or lead paint. Considering the high cost of selling a home, you may be hesitant to put even more money into getting your home sold, especially if the inspection reveals expensive problems that you weren’t aware of.

Con: You’ll Need to Disclose What You Find

During the home selling process, sellers are required to complete a Seller’s Disclosure Notice or SDN. The SDN is a document that, as a seller, you must complete to disclose everything you know about the condition of your home. This includes any improvements or changes you may have made during the time in which you owned the home. One of the biggest risks in having a pre-inspection is the possibility that the inspection reveals problems with the home that you didn’t already know about and now have to disclose. Even if the issue is minor, it may put off potential buyers and make it harder for you to sell your home.

Con: You Still Have to Go Through a Buyer’s Home Inspection

No matter what you decide to do, it’s important to remember that a pre-listing inspection does not take the place of a buyer’s home inspection. Regardless of the results of any pre-inspection, the buyer’s lender will still require that a home inspection be completed. And although it may not be likely, there’s still a possibility that the buyer’s inspection turns up new issues with the home. In this case, buyers often tend to trust their own inspector more than yours, so you may have to deal with a whole new set of issues that were missed or overlooked by your pre-inspector.

Con: You May Face Unavoidable Repairs

If a pre-inspection brings to light issues that may jeopardize the sale of your home, you may be facing unavoidable, big ticket repairs. These problems may take the form of cracks in the foundation, a roof that needs to be replaced, or faulty electrical wiring. Issues of this nature typically need to fixed before you list your home or require that you significantly reduce your asking price.

At the end of the day, the decision to move forward with a pre-listing inspection largely depends on your personal preference, risk-tolerance, and how confident you are that your home is in good condition. If you’re looking for less stress and peace of mind during the selling process, a pre-inspection may be the way to go. But if you’re more concerned about the cost and hassle an inspection might present, you may want to hold off.

Still undecided? An experienced REALTOR® can help point you in the right direction. At Jovio, our agents are always available to answer any questions you might have about the home selling process. Give us a call or schedule a complimentary in-person property visit to get expert advice on how to move forward with getting your home sold faster and easier.

About the Author
Lindsey Hood

Lindsey is Jovio’s marketing guru. After studying Economics and Finance at the University of Delaware, she found her true passion in marketing. When she’s not writing about real estate, she enjoys catching up on the latest Netflix series, exploring Austin, and traveling with her husband.

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