Pre-Sale Inspections – Why you should consider them


Many people selling properties think that to spend $400-$500 on a pre-sale inspection is pointless and a waste of money.

Some Realtors believe that this sort of inspection can delay the home sale.

The thought process is that an inspection prior to the sale might identify issues that would otherwise be missed by the purchaser, creating extra expense.

Some home owners believe that it is the responsibility of the purchaser to have a home inspection so why should they bother.  There are many good reasons why a pre-Sale inspection is not only sensible, but could be financially beneficial to the home owner, the Realtor and the purchaser.  A pre-Sale inspection is a real win-win situation all round and here’s why.

1.   Having a pre-sale inspection allows the home owner to establish what a purchasers inspector is likely to find out anyway.  This gives the home owner the controlling position with regard any issues found.

  • The homeowner can choose to fix the issues and they have then been removed from any negotiating tactics the purchaser might employ.
  • The homeowner can accept the issues exist and use these issues as a known bargaining chip, recognising the likelihood that the asking price might have to be reduced, but allow them to prepare for this situation and build this into their calculations.
  • The homeowner can show that they have been up-front with the sale and has not tried to hide anything, a pre-sale re-inspection showing that defect conditions have been properly repaired can even show that the home owner has recognised the faults and had them fixed to ensure the purchaser won’t have any hidden surprises.
  • The homeowner isn’t hit with any last minute negotiations that are done at the most stressful time of the sales process.  This is the point where everyone is most intransigent and the point in time when most deals go south.

2.  Having a pre-sale home inspection allows the Realtor to properly establish the value of the property with the Homeowner.

  • Many homeowners believe their properties are worth more than the Realtor often appraises them.
  • A pe-sale inspection establishes maintenance items that may have been overlooked, defects that have not been fixed, appliances and components that might be nearing end-of-life.
    • These are all items that the current homeowner takes in the stride of ownership, but do not necessarily realise have an impact n the sale price of a property.

3.   A pre-sale inspection may be seen by a Purchaser as a biased report in favour of the homeowner. but:

  • A fully qualified Certified Home Inspector will report on all items he or she finds.  It is not in their interest either professionally or legally to “hide” anything.
  • A professional Home Inspector will offer “walk-thoughs” of any pre-sale inspection agreement with prospective purchasers.  This means that for a nominal fee (normally around $100-$150) the Inspector is bound legally to both the Home Owner and prospective purchaser removing any possibility of conflict of interest.
  • A walk-through home inspection, costing less for the purchaser, is more attractive and therefore is likely to generate a better reason to make an offer based upon a Home Inspection. It doesn’t take as long, it costs the purchaser less, the results are quicker and often a decision to fulfill the home inspection criteria is made quicker.
  • With the Home owner and purchaser able to talk directly to the Inspector any concerns that might cause the deal to fall through can be properly analysed by both sides, often leading to compromise that allows the deals to proceed.

deck_collapse4.  A pre-sale inspection can save injuries and expense on both the Homeowners and Realtors part, and the subsequent liability and delays that go with it.

  • On more than one occasion catastrophic deck collapses have injured or even killed people.  Recently, as seen here a deck collapsed while the Realtor was showing clients around the property.
    • A pre-sale inspection would have identified this issue, allowing the home owner to get the issue fixed.
    • Now the sale is delayed pending criminal and civil litigation
    • The repairs will take much longer delaying the sale even further
    • If someone had died in the collapse a stigma would be attached to the home.
    • Insurance costs are likely to be substantial, and the lawsuit will likely involve the Homeowner, Realtor and anyone who performed the construction.
  • The same is true for catastrophic ceiling collapses examples of which can be found here
  • No-one wants issues like this.  The Homeowner isn’t usually aware of these types of problems, the realtor and their clients are not qualified to identify them and once a purchase has gone through the onus on liability often passes to the purchaser who will often try to sue the Realtor and the seller.  It is in the buyers, sellers and realtors financial and safety interest to have a pre-sale inspection.
  • While the inspector may end up getting slightly more for the pre-sale inspection and an extra income from a walk-through, this is generally offset by the fact that the inspector has to attend the property multiple times, for the first-inspection, and remediation re-inspections and then walk-through inspections.
  • The likelihood of having multiple full inspections on the property as subsequent purchasers pull out are minimised. This keeps the overall costs of selling the property down.