A home inspection can be used as a fast-track selling tool. Getting a home inspected before it's listed puts the cost on the seller or listing agent, but can provide a written report on the pre-sale condition of the property. It can also uncover conditions or situations that might compromise a sale.
Pre-listing inspections performed for the seller have become more common, as a way to move the sale process along. Pre-listing inspections are less common when the real estate market is strong.
Using a home inspection for preventive maintenance
Home inspections aren't just for someone buying a home, existing homeowners can tackle their to-do list and save money long term with a preventive maintenance inspection.
When the real estate market is strong for sellers, it's more common that buyers purchase the home inspection to make sure there aren’t any surprise defects and to substantiate the purchase price. In an up market, sellers often forgo a pre-listing inspectionbecause they know the buyer is less likely to walk away from the deal for fear of losing their chance to buy that property.
In weaker sales markets, when there are more properties available or fewer buyers, the buyer will sometimes use the inspection to verify condition and negotiate the price down to cover repair and improvement costs.
Pre-listing inspections have other benefits. They help the seller decide what areas to work on to improve the home's appeal. They help the agent set the seller's price expectation and can be used to substantiate a higher asking price. Agents will have fewer issues to negotiate at the 11th hour, and buyers may even waive hiring their own inspection.
By having a pre-listing inspection conducted, sellers can choose who does the inspection and they can offer more information about the home's condition, maintenance and other factors. They can also make sure they have enough time to take care of any necessary repairs or improvements.
A pre-listing inspection may ease some of the stress buyers face, but it's recommended that buyers eventually hire their own inspector, to be sure they have someone who is hired to look out for their concerns.
Home buyers should plan to shadow the home inspector as he or she goes through the home. It's important to see first hand any problems and learn what it will take to fix them.