Order is important, right? Without it, life is chaos. To avoid chaos, you just follow ordinary, everyday, orderly logic: A, B, then C. Step Two naturally follows Step One, and precedes Step Three. In other words, the cart comes after the horse and if you put it before, everybody gets confused. Not least the horse.
So, based on all this, why on earth would you, a homeowner, pay $500 for a home inspection before your house is even on the market? And isn’t the BUYER the one who pays for inspections after purchasing the property anyway? This sounds like a case of horse-cart confusion, right?
Well, yes and no. Here’s the usual order of things when it comes to home inspections:
- You list your house for sale with a Realtor.
- Buyers make an offer, and you accept.
- The buyers hire a home inspector to perform the inspection.
- The inspection report comes back, revealing that the property has…
OMG, has what? What does it have? A leaky roof? A cracked foundation? An ancient heating system on the brink of expiring/exploding? Or even all three? Are you biting your fingernails? You should be! Because this is where the accepted steps, the regular, sanctioned, practiced order, frequently turns to chaos, and where you’ll quickly, painfully learn that what you don’t know CAN hurt you.
In the case of selling a home, The Unknown hurts sellers and buyers alike. When a home inspection turns up either numerous small issues or one gigantic costly ones, buyers can and do cut their losses and walk away from the purchase. Wouldn’t you? Who wants to take on the cost and anxiety of a problematic property? And from a seller’s perspective, not only can inspection results cause homeowners to lose a sale, but once the home inspector turns up problems, it’s required by law to reveal them on the Seller’s Property Disclosure, the document that describes the condition of the property. If the buyers’ inspection turned up rotting window frames and faulty wiring? Until and unless you pay for these repairs, you’re obligated to reveal the problems.
So, how can you avoid this kind of stress, disappointment, and financial worry? INSPECT BEFORE YOU SELL.
Yes, this is our answer. We’ll be the first to admit that our practice, based on the maxim forewarned is forearmed, is unorthodox to the point that we don’t know any other Realtors who give this advice. We’ll also be the first to tell you this: IT WORKS. Here’s why:
When your home inspection is performed well in advance of putting your property in the market, you’re in control. You decide what to repair or replace, if anything, and then you can price your home accordingly. If buyers know going in that repairs are necessary, they feel informed and far more likely to trust that the property (and its seller) is sound. When buyers see that an inspection has already been performed, they understand that the property is cared for the way a body is cared for when its owner visits a physician. When buyers feel secure that no unexpected issues are going to arise, you all move smoothly forward towards closing the deal.
What are the caveats? Well, paying for the home inspection yourself, sure. And then, as stated above, you’re obligated to repair and/or reveal whatever the inspection turns up, and this could leave you with some tough decisions to make and money to spend. But it’s YOU deciding, not potential buyers. Considering the fact that the problems are going to be uncovered upon inspection anyway, discovering them yourself puts you in the driver seat. Wouldn’t you rather be calling the shots? The more you know, the better off you’ll be.
So, what’s the benefit to shaking up the accepted natural order? Besides the satisfaction of rebelling against the establishment and being in command of your own destiny, it’s this: when you put a better product on the market, you protect yourself and your sale. You’ll save time, increase your profit margin, and give yourself and your buyers the security to move forward.