Up to a few years ago, the answer was quite simple. No. It was a Seller’s market and homes sold almost as soon as they were placed on the market. In many cases there were bidding wars and most homes were sold “as is” where the Buyer had no choice but to accept the Seller’s demands and the “as is” condition of the home.
Today, qualified Buyers are few and far between. They have the choice of many homes, and they have much more control of most of the contract. Most will negotiate the contract and sale price, and then conduct the inspection. Once complete, potential Buyers will commence the renegotiation again for conditions associated with the inspection issues raised. So, in essence home inspections today can cost Sellers literally thousands of dollars, many times more if the Seller has paid for the inspection themselves upfront and professionally disclosed the report as part of the disclosure/contract process.
So to answer your question, would we suggest a pre-sale listing inspection? YES. For Sellers to conduct their own inspection and understand the potential future liability associated with the sale of their home will no question reduce the Seller’s risk of Buyers walking and/or renegotiating the contract. Sellers will have much more control of the actions they intend to take with the current and future issues raised by the inspection process.
Here are the four choices the Seller can take, all of which they are in total control of, in terms of cost, products used and contractor selection, and remember, if you have already replaced the defective faucet prior to the inspection, Buyers accept these repairs, as they are no longer reportable by the Buyer’s inspector.
In many cases there are systems that are not working and not critical to either a real estate transaction or the use of a home. Many Sellers however learn the hard way and end up replacing non-critical systems due to Buyer demands post inspection after the contract has been negotiated. An example could be an old water softener, disposal or shallow well pump. Once removed or disclosed properly, the prospective Buyer accepts the condition “as is” unaware of the system that was once in place but did not work.
Even the most conscious Seller may have hidden defects that they are not aware of. It may be an old water heater that is leaking - rusty and/or, ready to leak on the ceiling below. It could be a faucet that is oxidized and corroded or simply wood decay behind the shrubbery. Again, if identified pre-contract, the Seller is in control of the contractor, products used and competitive bids. This is a far less expensive method of managing real estate repairs than waiting for a prospective Buyer to make demands on the repairs to be undertaken and/or to have to accept inflated repair bids because of contract timelines.
Conducted where the owner needs to fix something of significance. Under contract, Sellers are required to have the main systems in working order. The issue could be a broken HVAC system or plumbing system. The key is that the Seller is in control of the contractor and the costs but this does not mean a replacement is required! A less expensive repair to an older HVAC system coupled with a reputable home warranty will many times suffice the Seller’s responsibilities.
Sellers have the time Pre-contract/listing to get competitive bids and are not forced to accept inflated bids because of pressing timelines.
Once the pre-sale/listing inspection is complete, the Seller will decide on the issues or conditions that are non-essential and simply disclose these as part of the re-contract process. Once disclosed, Buyers are typically no longer able to renegotiate these issues when they appear on the new Buyers’ inspection report.
Again, the most important aspect is that the Seller is in control BEFORE the Buyer has a chance to take it. No inflated bids, no delays, lost contracts or undue stress.
So again, prudent Sellers in today’s market, that do not want to lose qualified Buyers or get taken advantage of, will choose to have an inspection and use the inspection report to remove all post contract negotiations and possible deals falling through.