Everybody purchasing a home knows it’s necessary to have a home inspection, and it’s generally a requirement if you need a mortgage. However an article in realtor.com asks the question if home sellers should also hire a home inspector to carry out a pre-inspection.
A pre-inspection involves having an inspector look at the property for potential problems before it’s been listed. So is it worthwhile? A certified home inspector looks at approximately 1600 items in a property including its foundation, structure, HVAC systems, electrical wiring and plumbing. Home inspection helps to uncover hidden problems that could potentially affect the value of a property.
It’s easy to see the value of a home inspection to a buyer, as it gives them the potential to abandon a deal if a property has to many problems, or to request repairs or renegotiate the price. When it comes to sellers having a pre-inspection, the benefits may include peace of mind through the home being given a clean bill of health, or having potentially costly problems identified before the property is listed. This gives the seller the option of carrying out repairs beforehand.
However, a pre-inspection does cost an average of between $200 and $500 and this could be cash that is put towards home improvements that could help sell a property. Another thing to bear in mind is that just because one home inspector fails to find any problems, it doesn’t mean a different home inspector will come up with the same report. This does mean that some of the issues that may have been rectified by a seller may never have come up at all. Instead, there is the risk that the homebuyer’s home inspector could identify new problems requiring even more repairs. Generally a homebuyer will tend to trust their own inspector more than the seller and are likely to demand that these additional problems are fixed before the sale goes through.
Another potential issue about having a pre-inspection is that once home sellers are aware of a problem then they may have to disclose it, depending on the law in their state. In general, sewage backups and flooding must be disclosed if a seller knows about these problems. Finding out even more problems through having a pre-inspection could potentially lead to complicated negotiations or could even scare off buyers.
As the article points out, there is no right or wrong answer as to whether a pre-inspection is a good idea. It all depends on the individual seller and whether they prefer to find out if any problems exist or to wait and see if anything is found by the homebuyer’s home inspector.