Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Why Your Client Needs a Pre-Listing Inspection

Obviously as a home inspector, I think anytime is a good time to get an inspection.

Buy a new dog, get an inspection.

Paint the kitchen, get an inspection.

Really, why are we pushing the pre-listing inspection so much? Because it makes sense, and here's why:
All of the issues you are worried about "coming to light" after a buyer submits an offer are going to show up in a decent inspection. Not knowing about the problems isn't going to make you not have problems, it just makes you ignorant of the problems.

I'm sure you heard the expression "Fore-warned is fore-armed", but it goes a little deeper than that.

The vast majority of buyers are going to have the house inspected during the offer process. The issues are still going to be there, whether you  know about them or not. 

So let's say you didn't bother with the pre-listing inspection and the buyer sends an inspector over.

Now that the issues have been identified by the buyer, it's time to start negotiating the repairs. Here are some very common deficiencies and their contractually required remedies.

Broken doorknob - replacement by licensed locksmith.
Outdoor light fixture loose - repair by licensed electrician.
Missing knockout plug in main breaker panel - repair by licensed electrician.
Replace insulation around air compressor refrigerant line - repair by licensed HVAC technician.
Dishwasher lacking high loop drain - repair by licensed plumber.
Roof repair - estimated by Joe's Roof Repair, $3,000 (to come off sales price).


Now imagine you got that pre-listing inspection and you knew about these issues before listing the house.

Broken doorknob - trip to Home Depot.
Outdoor light fixture loose - local handyman.
Missing knockout plug in main breaker panel - trip to Home Depot.
Replace insulation around air compressor refrigerant line - trip to Home Depot.
Dishwasher lacking high loop drain - trip to Home Depot.
Roof repair - compile a few estimates, seems like $1,500 is a much more accurate estimate.

So for less than $100 at Home Depot, we have avoided hiring a locksmith, an electrician and a plumber. And we got reasonable quotes for that roof problem that we can share with the buyer to help in the negotiation process.

Starting to make sense, isn't it?

Initially it does look a little counter-intuitive to go "looking for problems", but once you finally get a buyer for your house, do you really want them to immediately see a laundry list of issues they have to deal with? As a real estate agent, I have never had a buyer not get an inspection. If it's going to happen anyway, be pro-active and find out what the inspection report is going to say before the house is even on the market so that you can be prepared.