Before you place your home on the market, it may be in your best interest to get a home inspection. Doing so can prevent a lot of financial and emotional headaches down the road, and in some cases a prelisting home inspection can be the key to preventing a deal from falling through.
Why get a home inspection if a buyer is going to also?
The fact that a buyer will inevitably pay for his or her own home inspection before closing the deal is exactly why you may want to get one first. When a buyer makes an offer, it tends to be made under the condition that a home inspection is successful. If an inspection reveals any issues that displease the buyer, the buyer has the power to renegotiate the price of the house or even walk away from the deal altogether.
If you get a home inspection before selling your home, you can fix any problems that would cause a buyer to walk away.
According to AOL Real Estate, home inspections that reveal unfavorable conditions are one of the most common reasons deals fall through.
Michael Hottman, a real estate agent in Virginia, told Trulia that sellers are not required to disclose the issues found in a home inspection if they fix them. So a seller should not worry about any issues being stuck on their home's permanent record as long as they are willing to do something before listing the home.
Even more, legal advice website NOLO explained that if your house does come back with an A grade, you have an opportunity show the report to buyers and demonstrate the great health of your home.
What you need to keep in mind is that any issues in your home will be found, whether by your own inspector or the buyer's. The longer it takes for an issue to be identified, the longer the process of selling your home will take. Los Angeles real estate agent Chantay Bridges told Trulia that fixing issues in advance will result in a faster sales process because buyers and sellers won't have to enter lengthy negotiations to determine who will cover the cost of repairs.
Why not just negotiate with the buyer after their inspection?
After issues are discovered during a home inspection paid for by the buyer, the buyer and seller enter into negotiations. These negotiations determine who will cover which costs and sometimes require the seller to reduce the asking price of the house. While waiting to address repairs until this time is an option, it can sometimes cost a seller more. Negotiations can certainly be frustrating and time-consuming, but beyond that, they could result in a greater financial burden to the seller.
Jessica Edwards, a consumer specialist and agent with Coldwell Banker, told AOL Real Estate that sellers generally save money when they make their own repairs rather than trying to negotiate with buyers. Buyers typically require the use of their own contractors, so the seller has less power over how much he pays for the repairs.
"Typically, you will pay less for repairs if you do them in advance because buyers might add on extra to pad for unexpected repair costs," New Jersey real estate agent Ryan Gibbons told Trulia.
In essence, sellers who wait to address repairs until negotiations after a buyer's inspection don't have a lot of leverage. At that point, the buyer has the power to walk away if the seller does not agree to their terms.
An important thing to keep in mind
If you do decide to get a home inspection before placing your home on the market, be prepared to make the repairs suggested by your inspector. According to Real Estate ABC, most states require homeowners to reveal any known issues with a home to potential buyers. Of course, if you choose not to get the inspection, the issues will be discovered by your buyer's inspector anyway.
NOLO said there are a few situations where it is not in the buyer's best interest to do the repairs in advance. For example, if your home has a crack in its foundation - a very expensive issue to repair - you may not get the amount you pay to fix it added to your asking price. You may get less, making the repair not worth it. It may be better to simply lower your asking price based on an estimate of what the repair would cost. You can then explain to buyers that the issue has been factored in to the price of the house.
NOLO also suggested getting specialized inspections to check for issues not covered under a standard home inspection, such as those related to the condition of your soil grading, a swimming pool, mold, asbestos or pests.