I’ll go ahead and say this: Most home sellers do not bother with having their home inspected before putting it up for sale. It’s an added expense, and they feel they can just negotiate when the time comes after an offer is received. To me, this is flawed thinking. Sellers put themselves at the mercy of home buyers. First, there has been back and forth just to arrive at an accepted agreement at all. Then, buyers have the home inspected and use it to bludgeon another round of concessions from the sellers.

For sellers who do have a home inspection done prior to listing, however, they can accomplish several things in their favor.

• All purchase offers will be based upon a full knowledge of the property’s condition. Once an agreement is reached, the sale can proceed, possibly without second stage negotiations.

• A home inspection report exceeds the legal requirement for seller disclosure. By revealing a larger body of information, a seller can effectively limit future liability.

• A pre-listing inspection demonstrates to buyers that the sellers have nothing to hide. This promotes an environment of confidence and trust in which to negotiate the terms of the sale.

• Buyers are usually more willing to accept property defects that are initially disclosed.

(bullet points reprinted with permission by Barry Stone, The House Detective)

To Repair, or Not to Repair…

In addition to the reasons stated above, sellers can decide if there are repairs that can be pro-actively done before a sign is put in the yard. When they provide evidence of repairs and upgrades, these can go quite a way in helping a home stand out in a buyer’s mind. When buyers see that sellers have taken the results of the home inspection to heart and have decided to act upon them, this helps present their home as a better product to buyers.

One more thing about having your home inspected before listing it…

1.You can decide what (if anything) to repair now.

2.You can estimate how much cash you might need based on repairs you think a buyer will want to have done.

By doing this, you can factor repair costs into your bottom line when considering how to respond to a buyer’s initial offer to purchase. From experience, I can tell you that the vast majority of all real estate listing agents do not consider this at all when attempting to negotiate on behalf of their clients.

WARNING! If your home is more than a few years old and an agent doesn't bring up the benefits of having a pre-listing inspection done, walk away. If they can't explain how having one can help you lessen or avoid a second round of negotiations, run away!

When you have not had an inspection done already, you are essentially blind when you counter a buyer’s offer, and your give over control of the sale to them. My job is to make sure you control the leverage in your real estate negotiations.