4 Reasons Why You Should Get A Property Inspection Before You List Your Home

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The cost of selling your home can be staggering. There's the cleaning, repainting, finishing up old projects, staging, and the commission, not to mention additional costs you may negotiate to pay for the buyer. The last thing you want to hear is that you need to shell out $400 for an inspection, right?

Many sellers believe that paying for a home inspection before they list is a waste of money. After all, the buyer will pay for an inspection once they make an offer. Why you should you pay for one too? But a pre-inspection can save you money and time and ease the whole process for a number of reasons outlined below.

basement switch

Credit Image: slgckgc on Flickr

1. Address Hidden Problems

When the real estate market was strong, sellers didn't need to worry about a tiny roof leak or a creaky stair. Because buyers were in abundance and homes in short supply, most knew better than to kick up a fuss about repairs. Back then, you could simply move on to the next offer.

However, in today's fallen market, sellers have to fight for every potential buyer. If problems come up on the inspection, the buyer could move on to the next property or significantly reduce their offer price in addition to requiring you to pay for repairs. The tables have turned and it's a buyer's market now. Your home is simply one of a glut of available properties.>

So don't make it any harder for a buyer to purchase your home. If you handle problems beforehand and the home inspection report comes back solid, it will save headaches and streamline the negotiating and closing process.

2. Give Buyers Confidence

Once you've gotten a clean bill of health on your home, use that report as the marketing tool that it is. You can leave your home inspection report right where potential buyers can see it. Knowing that an inspection was done recently provides buyers an added boost of confidence to make an offer.

Additionally, being open and honest about any issues that came up during the inspection can actually help you bargain. After all, if buyers are aware of all issues up front, you don't have to worry about any red flags surfacing later on in the negotiating process.

Moreover, your buyer may be inclined to trust you and feel good about the purchase since you're obviously not trying to hide anything. This can definitely give you an edge in negotiations and save valuable time once your buyer makes the initial offer.

3. Save Money

Yes, a getting a home inspection done before you list can actually save you money in the long run. For instance, imagine your pre-listing inspection discovers that your roof is leaking near the chimney. You know a highly skilled handyman that can fix the problem affordably. However, if this problem surfaced after your buyer already made an offer they would likely insist on a licensed contractor or roofer to fix the problem, which would be much more expensive.

Having an inspection done before you list means you get to choose how to fix the problem. You can either fix the issues yourself, or find someone affordable to do it. Buyers, on the other hand, will likely insist on you hiring someone much more expensive.

4. Make Your Home Safer

In today's market, the average home is for sale six months before an offer is made. In some areas of the country, you'll sit on your home for 12 months or more before it's sold. Getting a home inspection before you list might uncover some hidden problems you didn't even know you had. And, some of those problems can be dangerous for you and your family.

For instance, what if you have the beginnings of a black mold infestation in your basement? Or mildew in the bathroom? Mold and mildew can be dangerous to breathe in. So, detecting and getting rid of mold early means your indoor air will be safe and healthy while you're living in the home for the next 6-12 months or more.

Final Thoughts

Though paying for a pre-inspection may seem unnecessary or even redundant, this simple move can save you thousands of dollars. Remember, time is money. If required repairs draw out the closing process for a month, that's a month you'll continue to pay interest on your mortgage.

Plus, if you will make a profit and plan to pay off other debt with it, you'll pay an additional month's interest on that debt as well. But, as discussed above, it's not just the time factor. A buyer that has confidence in your home is likely to make a higher offer on it and ease the negotiation process for you.

So do yourself and your buyer a favor and have your home professionally inspected before you list. In this market, you need all the help you can get!

Heather Levin is a green living and frugality contributor for the Money Crashers personal finance blog.

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