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Tracy King's Blog

How About an Inspection Before You Go on the Market?

I'm studying for my continuing education for my real estate license and I came across this paragraph:

Prior to listing the property for sale, it may be advisable for the seller to hire an independent home inspector to examine the property and prepare a report on the property. This will give the seller the advantage of correcting identified problems prior to an offer on the property which, if discovered by a buyer, might become an obstacle in the negotiation process. If problems are corrected by the seller prior to marketing the property, they should not become an issue during the sale process. However, the seller should disclose to the buyer any repairs. The seller's inspection report can also be used as a basis to complete the RETDS.

In the previous hot market, I had sellers who would take this advice. For $350 or so, you could have an inspection report that buyers could view and make an informed decision about what condition the house was actually in and how to position the price they offered. Sometimes the inspection revealed problems that the seller was unaware of and was able to either disclose it and/or repair it with a lot less drama than it would have been in escrow. I had fewer escrows fall out and much less concern over inspection negotiations. Now, with prices down and sellers feeling very poor, almost no one has an inspection before going on the market. One of the two times this year that we had an inspection done, the buyers felt that our inspection didn't turn up nearly the issues their own inspection did and asked for quite a lot. The other time we had 80 offers and a cash deal and almost no issues and we did sell for a lot more than asking--in fact, $181,000 more.

A few thoughts on all this:
1. You could have 10 inspections and each one would turn up something different.
2. The fact that the seller is willing to pay for an inspection up front should tell the buyer that the seller is not trying to hide anything.
3. Especially if a seller has lived in a house for a long period of time, many things can fall into disrepair without being noticed.

Bottom line, there is no perfect way to sell a home. After all, we are dealing with human beings who are different from each other. We are dealing with what is often the largest investment of a person's life. We are dealing with an incredible amount of fear, opinion, innuendo, myth, fable, and fear (I said it twice, I know) on the part of everyone even barely involved in the transaction. Every listing that is signed in the state of California comes with a Seller's Advisory that discusses the idea that a pre-listing inspection is a good idea. Almost no one in our area is doing this. If you are considering selling your house, you should consider having an inspection. It's a small expense that could save you some headaches. Even if you have no intention of selling, it's a good idea to have an inspection every few years just so you can make sure you have no issues that have come up.
And now I can go back to my continuing education

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