Pre-Inspect Your Home for a Higher Selling Price

Pre-Inspect Your Home for a Higher Selling Price

If you are listing your home for sale, do you remember a previous home negotiation process, or have you ever been in one? Typically, the buyer and seller have come to a preliminary agreement on the selling price based on all contract contingencies being met. One of those contingencies involves the home inspection and the report of defects.

This is not a “sky is falling” situation. Usually, there is no major defect discovered in an inspection that was not in the property condition disclosure. However, there will in most cases be a few to many smaller issues that are noted by the inspector in the report. After all, they are hired to find problems, so for them to feel that they have earned their fee, they find problems.

So, there is this report, and it lists things like:

  • Ground slope toward the foundation, which is a problem.

  • Cracks or leaks around window and door seals; and these will be listed multiple times depending on the area of the home or the room by room reporting.

  • Damaged window and door screens.

  • Scratched or otherwise marred baseplates.

  • Cracked tiles on countertops.

  • Scrapes or scars in hardwood flooring.

  • Cracked windowpanes.

  • Damaged or missing door seals.

  • Dried deck wood, needing oiling or treatment.

When it comes to the little things, especially if the homeowner is one to defer maintenance for cost or other reasons, they can mount up fast and make the home inspection report look more like a casualty list than a report.

The Buyer(s) get the report first, and they see no major item, but a laundry list of things they are going to have to fix or pay to correct right after they move into their “new” home. So, the Seller(s) get a demand document wanting the repairs made before closing, but more likely a cash concession at closing to take care of the Buyers’ expense in correcting the problems. This becomes a negotiation that can go back and forth a bit, and it almost always costs the Seller(s) some money.

A better approach is to pre-inspect the home before you list it to find all these easily recognizable problems if you just look for them. You can pay your own inspector to find them, or you can find them on your own. The key is to fix as many as possible so that they disappear off that future home inspector’s radar.

One approach that some homeowners use is to pre-inspect and pay for affordable corrections and include that in their property condition disclosure. They can outline the items that they have hired professionals to repair, and there is no need to divulge how much they spent. Shopping carefully, it is almost a certainty that they will spend less to correct a list of small problems than they are going to end up giving to the Buyer(s) in a negotiation.

There is also a psychological advantage for the Sellers, as not even mentioning but fixing the small items will mean the Buyers will be presented with a nice clean inspection report. They will feel better about their purchase and be less inclined to nitpick.

No sources, just my real estate brokerage experience.