Why a Pre-Sale Home Inspection Is a Good Idea

Thinking about selling your home? Here's why you should consider scheduling a pre-sale home inspection.

Springtime is traditionally the start of home buying season, a time when prospective sellers begin wondering if their home is ready for the market. An essential step in the process is some form of home inspection. The National Association of Realtors reports that almost six million new and existing homes were sold in 2018. With the majority of those sales involving a third-party inspection, it’s no wonder the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts solid job growth for building and construction inspectors for the next decade.

But not every inspection is done by the buyer! While it’s normally part of the home buying process, there are several reasons why a homeowner may want to get a home inspection of their own before listing their property for sale.

Know What You’re Getting Into

A pre-sale inspection will give you a reality check, letting you know if you have any issues that will likely be raised during the buyer’s inspection period. Note that if your inspection reveals a problem you didn’t know about, you may have to disclose it when you list the home. (Laws on this vary by state, so consult your Realtor to ensure compliance.)

Fix Potential Headaches on Your Terms

If your inspection does show some issues, you may choose to address them immediately rather than waiting for the seller to request a remedy. This allows you to choose how the problem is resolved, rather than negotiating with a potential buyer who may choose to use it for leverage or attempt to work in a few upgrades along with the repair. Naturally, you need to get the job done right and be sure to properly remedy whatever issue comes up. But when you’re the one hiring the contractor or performing the repair yourself, you have full freedom over the many decisions that go into any home improvement project.

Show That You’ve Got Nothing to Hide

Having a pre-sale inspection establishes that you’re open about the condition of your home, and can encourage trust from potential buyers. Consult your Realtor about the best marketing approach for your specific market. But a pre-sale inspection can demonstrate to buyers that you’re a serious seller, and may make your listing more attractive than comparable properties on the market.

Respond to the Buyer’s Inspector

Home inspectors are human. They occasionally make mistakes, such as thinking an issue is more serious than it really is, or wanting to be sure they’ve spotted a potential problem for the buyer. In that case, you may find your home described by the buyer’s inspector in less than glowing terms. Having a preexisting inspection means that you’ll be able to compare the two reports, then begin negotiations from an informed perspective. This won’t happen all the time, of course. But if it does, you’ll be glad you had that inspection done in advance.

Control the Narrative

Home inspection has an element of subjectivity, and any two inspectors may not have the same opinion of any given property. The home inspection should be a description of the home rather than marching orders for what needs to be done to the house.

However, some buyers react strongly to certain keywords, and having a pre-sale inspection gives you a chance to have your own inspector deliver the news. Since this is your inspection, you’ll be able to be present to deliver information about the age of mechanicals, work that has been done, and answer other questions for which a buyer’s inspector simply won’t have the answers.

For this reason, pre-sale inspections are often more complete than the buyer’s inspection, and can help give a more accurate picture of the home’s history and condition. Having a pre-sale inspection allows you to address the concerns of the buyer or their agents and to make sure all parties have the best available information when it comes time to hash out the details of the contract.

Dan Stout
Ohio-based freelance writer and author Dan Stout is a former residential remodeler, commercial site supervisor and maintenance manager. He’s worked on nearly all aspects of building and DIY including project planning and permitting, plumbing, basic electric, drywall, carpentry, tiling, painting and more. He also publishes noir fantasy thrillers, including The Carter Series, from Penguin imprint DAW Books.