Dear Monty: We are going to sell our home soon. In preparing the house, we are interviewing real estate agents to learn more about them and how they work. We want to have a home inspection before putting the house on the market. All three agents we interviewed discouraged us. The reasons differed, but one reason in common was that if a buyer is interested, they will not trust your inspection and will want their inspector. We think it is a good idea because a close friend who is selling just lost a buyer over a home inspection. That buyer ordered the inspection. We are confused. What would you tell a seller?
Monty’s Answer: While it is common for real estate agents to take that position, some real estate agents would encourage you to have the home inspected. Others would not discourage it. There are many reasons why having the inspection upfront is a good idea. Here is why a seller should have the pre-sale inspection:
No. 1: It demonstrates to a buyer that you are serious about selling your home.
No. 2: It suggests preparedness on your part.
No. 3: It says that you have nothing to hide.
No. 4: You want to disclose issues an inspection uncovers.
No. 5: It also allows you to fix or repair them.
No. 6: It also shows the house is in good condition.
No. 7: It shows consideration toward the buyer by saving them the expense of an inspection.
No. 8: It prevents surprises in inspections done days before closing after the buyer incurred other costs.
Facts That Support Pre-Sale Inspections
For many years homebuyers complained that sellers misrepresented homes. Those misrepresentations caused high extra costs for the buyer. That was true years ago and still happens today. It happens far less frequently today because of home inspections. It is also true that the home’s condition is a significant concern for many homebuyers.
Who Orders the Inspection Is Not Important
The most critical factor in a home inspection is that it is accurate. The inspection is visual. There is no testing. A buyer can obtain specific tests with the seller’s permission, and in some circumstances these are necessary. If two inspectors inspect a home, the chances of the second inspector finding a defect that the first inspector missed are slim.
The Inspection Industry Is Flawed
What has happened in the industry is intense competition to gain business. Some home inspectors tend to embellish the value of their service to gain business. Another way inspectors can take advantage is how they conduct the inspection. For example, an inspector blocks a drain to raise the water level in a shower to cause a leak. That action makes the inspector look good in the eyes of the buyer. It costs the seller money to repair. Nothing in the Industry Standards of Practice requires an inspector to block a drain to cause a leak. The result is that buyer expectations have grown exponentially. Some inspectors have characterized homebuyers as expecting the used home to be like new.
Here is an article on the Dear Monty website may be helpful in your search for a home inspector. I highly recommend the pre-sale home inspection.
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