Should you get a prelisting home inspection

Should you do a pre-listing home inspection?

Should you do a pre-listing home inspection?

Selling your home?  See what expert home inspector, Jessie Tait, says about getting a prelisting home inspection.

Frequently, I work with home sellers who are preparing to list their homes for sale; whether it's their personal home or a property which has been inherited. Many times, the owner knows that repairs, upgrades, maintenance items should be completed before listing, but they are unaware as to where they should begin. A great place to start is with a pre-listing inspection. This is the same inspection that would take place if the buyers were to be ordering it on their end of the transaction, but it serves a different purpose when sellers elect to engage. 

This gives you, the buyer, much more knowledge about the home which is about to hit the market. Sure, you’ll know all of the deficiencies, which is never fun, but it will allow you to have a comprehensive list ahead of time of what will be found on an inspection down the road when negotiations (and most likely emotions) are at full peak. This knowledge is what gives you power through the transaction. You will have decisions to make at that point what you’d like to do with the deficiencies that were discovered during the inspection.

Situation A: You can fix the issues that were found. 

Often, my clients want a “to-do” list to attack prior to listing so that when the transaction progresses, it’s smooth sailing and not filled with hard feelings during negotiations. I’ve had clients hire handymen, painters, landscapers, etc. to make their homes fresh and ready for the market! These homes historically sit on the market less time, as new buyers love being able to walk into a well maintained, freshly serviced home.

Frequently (especially in vacant homes/estates) we find several small plumbing leaks, incorrect circuit breakers, improper grading, downspout issues, loose cabinets, etc. in a home. These are typically things that are relatively inexpensive to fix and will be easy to knock off lists with (depending on your level of handiness!) little to no money. A family member or friend can usually assist. If needed, you may choose to install a new roof, upgrade any/all mechanicals, have some larger repairs knocked off the list especially if you are in a very competitive or challenging market. 

Situation B:  You may choose to disclose the deficiencies found throughout the home

Many times, especially in an estate situation, the family does not want to invest big $$ into a property, especially if any family friction exists. In these cases, they are furnished with a list of what needs to be corrected. In the case of big-ticket items (mechanicals, roof, foundation, etc.) a number of estimates from qualified contractors can accompany the inspection and disclosure. This eliminates inflated estimation costs by potential home buyers. This also allows the seller to more accurately and competitively price the home before it lists instead of having to risk a home falling out of escrow due to large problems during the inspection process. 

For example, I inspected a home for a gentleman whose mother had passed the year before. She had lived in the home for 56 years and it took most of that time to respectfully clean it out and divide the estate. He knew going in that she had not been able to maintain the home properly. During the pre-listing inspection, we discovered that the mechanicals were older, the roof needed to be replaced, and there were several larger electrical issues. Not wanting to invest a significant amount of money, he decided to have contractor estimates on repairing the larger necessary repairs and including all the information at the time of listing.

Market value of the home without deficiencies: $235,000
Cost of needed repairs: $12,800
Listing price: $220,000 
The client sold his home in 4 days “as-is” and had a smooth sail to closing


Whether your home falls into the major or minor repair category, it’s always best to know what to expect when listing a property! Most of the time, your home inspector will give you ideas along the way about how to properly maintain your current and future home. Ask questions while they are onsite because that is the best chance you’ll have to learn some valuable information. Never hesitate to have anything you don’t understand explained to you in plain English, occasionally we get wrapped up in our inspector jargon, but are always willing to explain it to you. 

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