• Should I Have My Home Inspected Before I Put It Up For Sale

    Posted on January 23, 2013 by in Tips for Home Sellers

    The typical home sale in the Greater King County area involves the following steps:

    How Healthy is Your Home Sale

    How Healthy is Your Home Sale

    1. Seller cleans and prepares the home for sale.

    2. Home is listed on the market with a local REALTOR.

    3. An offer is received with deadlines to close in typically 30 to 45 days.

    4. An inspection is preformed within the first 5 to 10 days.

    5. Now with less than 20 to 35 days to go, everyone’s blood pressure goes up as we scramble to get inspection work orders completed in tight time frames.

    6. In the nick of time, the work orders are completed or credits are negotiated and we rush the loan process through and pray that gets done in time as well.

    A seller conducted inspection prior to marketing can really make this process a lot smoother.

    But there is a catch…

    Washington appears to lean more to the Caveat Emptor vs. Caveat Venditor, there are two legal battles where the courts sided with the seller over the buyer, even when it appears the seller did not fully disclose (or even perhaps lied) to the buyer. The attorney for the Washington State Associations of Realtors is of the strong opinion that a home seller should not have their home inspected prior to marketing. We suggest you watch this video that explains this in more depth:

    The table below outlines some of the pros and cons of seller conducted inspections.

     Reason

    Pro

    Con

    Legal obligation to disclose any and all material defects Once you have the home inspected, you are obligated to disclose everything you now know.
    Eliminate buyers who are just trying to tie the property up only to get out of the offer during the inspection time-frame. In a seller’s market, multiple offers become the norm. Now imagine after staging your home and timing the market just right you receive three offers on day one, naturally you accept the highest offer only to have them rescind the offer during the inspection period. All the momentum and excitement of the multiple offers and you now you must put the home back on the market and explain to all the future buyers why the first buyer walked away. A seller conducted inspection prior to marketing could make it easier to negotiate and could also encourage more buyers to make an offer.
    Save money A home inspection can cost between $500 and $900. Many home owners don’t see the reason to pay for this service if the buyer is going to have their own inspection as well.
    Save stress The most compelling reason to have a seller conducted inspection prior to marketing is to reduce the stress of the buyer walking away from the sale or the stress of having to coordinate repairs while in the middle of packing and moving.  A seller conducted inspection prior to marketing gives the homeowner the opportunity to take care of unknown defects prior to listing the home for sale and coordinating any repair work while they have the luxury of time. In the case of homes that are older than 10 years or haven’t had an inspection in 10 years this benefit is even more obvious.
    Improve marketability and negotiating position A seller conducted inspection prior to marketing can remove a lot of the fear for the buyer in moving forward. Buyers want to work with sellers that are upfront. It increases their comfort level and helps them feel confidant moving forward. Annie Fitsimmons with Washington Association of Realtor’s does not recommend homeowners hire or conduct an inspection their home before putting on the market. Click here to watch her explanation (fast forward to 4:25).

    As a general rule of thumb, the older the home ownership duration has been the more likely I am to recommend a a seller conducted inspection prior to marketing. For example, if you have lived in your home for 25 years and it hasn’t had a detailed inspection in that time-frame there is a higher probability of a huge hidden problem that would be advantageous to know about before selling the home.

    In addition, if the homeowner does not deal well with the stress of selling a home or if the move has a higher degree of stress attached to it, the more likely I am to want to ensure we don’t have any surprises during the sale. For example, if the seller is moving out-of-state and is paying professional movers to pack up the belongings the day after we get into contract. In fact, professional relocation companies often will pay for a seller conducted inspection prior to marketing for these high stress moves.

    To the contrary, if the home is newer of if the current owners had it inspected only a few years ago than the concern for big surprises during the inspection become less of a concern.

    A seller conducted inspection prior to marketing in out of the norm. A lot of the benefits and disadvantages are yet to be seen. It’s important to take a number of factors into consideration when deciding on a seller conducted inspection prior to marketing. Seek the input of many as you navigate this tricky area, we’re here for you. #JanaSellsHomes #Inspections #SellersMarket

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