For all my Realtor friends, this is a re-post of my article which appeared in the September 2013 issue of ”Sarasota Realtor” magazine.
- Prelisting Inspections Provide Clean & Smooth Transactions
The Home Inspection is one of the last hurdles to get through a real estate transaction, and a big unknown. Issues, questions or concerns could arise during the inspection, which could affect the sale or the property’s value. The listing agent should recommend a prelisting inspection to avoid these.
A prelisting inspection is an examination paid for by the seller before a house is put on the market. There are benefits to hiring a licensed Home Inspector to perform this inspection for you. It is very likely the buyer will have their own inspection performed before purchase, and you don’t want any red flags to pop up.
The inspection is an opportunity for the seller and the listing agent to become more familiar with the property, by attending the inspection. This is the best way to learn about the property, as well as observing how a typical home inspection is done.
I encourage seller and agent to ask questions during the inspection. The more you know about the home, the more self-confidence you will have representing the seller, which will also increase confidence the buyer and seller will have in you.
While a prelisting inspection is recommended for older homes with obvious need for repairs, I urge listing agents to recommend an inspection for newer homes as well. Just because it looks pretty does not mean it was built or maintained well.
If you have a prelisting inspection and make the necessary repairs before listing the home, it basically has a clean bill of health. This is the opportunity to take care of things in the house that could go wrong. This will not only reduce the possibility of last-minute surprises but also give the home a marketing edge.
The Inspection reports, any repair receipts and/or cost estimates should be available during showings; and it would be a good idea to include these in the listing agent’s marketing materials.
The prelisting inspection will help get buyers comfortable with the idea of making an unconditional offer. This will create an increased sense of security because the seller and agent are being very forthright, demonstrating that there’s nothing to hide. This can move transactions along faster and facilitate a clean, smooth sales transaction.
Certain repairs to major components that require licensed contractors (AC, plumbing, electrical), and addressing safety issues might be considered obvious. The inspection can help the owner and listing agent decide which, if any, to address before the house goes on the market.
Even if suggested repairs are not made, the seller can obtain cost estimates for needed work to offer potential buyers an appropriate discount off the listing price.
I caution all agents to avoid making statements that should be made by a licensed Home Inspector. Doing so could increase your own liability, as well as your company’s. The listing agent should not suggest that they are capable of performing an inspection, regardless how much they have learned over time. The agent is not qualified or insured to behave like an inspector.
I recommend that agents resist the temptation to be all things for your clients. I suggest you learn this line: “That’s a good question to ask your inspector.” In fact, the seller and the agent should make a list of questions to ask during the inspection regarding any specific areas of concern.