Get an Inspection Before Selling Your Home

Home inspector's green light could give you the edge in a competitive market

According to the U.S. General Accounting Office, more than 85 percent of homebuyers who applied for a mortgage also requested an inspection -- not too surprising, since home inspections can reveal hidden flaws and potentially pricey repairs. But even though an inspection can make or break the deal, most sellers wait for the buyer to take the initiative (and chew their nails while awaiting the results). Here are a few reasons why you might benefit from getting your home inspected before you put it on the market.

Reason #1: Reassure prospective buyers.

Even after a walk-through or two, buyers rarely know exactly what to expect from a home inspection -- there’s always the possibility of termites gnawing on that rustic log cabin or faulty wiring lurking behind those faux-finished walls. Providing a pre-inspection assures the buyer that no major surprises are in store; while they might not waive their own follow-up inspection, they’ll at least feel more comfortable about placing a bid.

Reason #2: Buy time and save dough.

Even in a relatively new or completely renovated home, chances are a home inspector can find a red flag or two. After all, that’s their job. When a fault is found during a typical home inspection, you may only have a few days to decide whether to make the repair or adjust the sale price appropriately -- and you’ll need to find a solution that satisfies you and the buyer. A pre-inspection gives you more time to compare prices and treatment options from a variety of contractors. You may also avoid conceding a huge chunk of change for unpredictable repair costs like mold remediation or structural work.

Reason #3: Know where you stand.

Generally, your final selling price is determined long before the inspector ever sets foot inside your door. That leaves a huge question mark lingering over your negotiations -- are you going to be forced to drop your final figure again if a major problem is uncovered? By getting an inspection early, you’ll know what concessions a buyer might request. That allows you to set your asking price accordingly and find out whether or not you’re in a position to play hardball.

Reason #4: Prevent repeat repairs.

No matter how handy you are, there’s always a risk of misdiagnosing a problem. But getting your home pre-inspected could help you avoid wasting money on unnecessary repairs. Say your toilet hasn’t been flushing quite right, so you pay a plumber to replace it -- only to learn upon inspection that the problem was in your septic system. A pre-inspection helps you avoid doing double-duty, since the inspector can pinpoint the problem and recommend the right repair.

While the average home inspection costs a few hundred dollars, it can save time and money in the long run. To find a home inspector in your area, visit the American Society of Home Inspectors at www.ashi.org.


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