If you are thinking about selling your home and have not sold a home for some time, you might be surprised that many sellers are obtaining what are referred to as presale inspections prior to going to market. Historically sellers would only provide a pest report but now seller provided home, sewer, chimney, pool, roof and pest inspections are common place. This new trend is driven by sellers trying to reduce sales price reductions and renegotiating while in escrow by minimizing the occurrence of new previously undisclosed defects. The assumption is that a buyer offered X amount to purchase the property based on the information provided to the buyer. If the buyer knows that there is a crack in the pool the buyer should adjust their offer price accordingly. If new defects are discovered during the inspection period these items are typically renegotiated.
Presale inspections also allow sellers an opportunity to correct defects that may scare away buyers. If a buyer has as much information available prior to making an offer they can make a more informed decision and determine their level of comfort with the condition of the home. In addition, in multiple offer situations more information about the house is available during the competitive bidding process compared to a seller having reduced leverage when renegotiating new discovered defects in escrow.
A couple of key things to keep in mind is that just because a seller completes presale inspections does not mean the buyer should not do their own inspections and get a second opinion. Many sellers are shocked when they have paid for a home inspection and the buyer decides to perform one as well. Getting a second opinion is a common practice.
The argument against presale inspections is that what is discovered and put in a written report could scare away potential buyers where as buyers who are present during inspections can ask questions and get feedback from inspectors. While this argument may have some validity, buyers should always be encouraged to go over inspections with their realtor and to call inspectors for further information even if they are not present during the inspection.
A seller may decide they want the buyer to pay for inspections or they may not be in a position to pay. Home inspections in the Lamorinda area run about $550 and go up from there depending on the square footage of the home. A pest inspection is generally $275 and same with a sewer inspection. A roof inspection is roughly a $100 and a Chimney is approximately $175 and more if a home has more than one chimney. Although this is an added expense for the seller, it is well worth it if last minute costly credits are prevented. If cost is a factor it is possible to work with inspectors who accept payment through escrow.
It is essential to use reputable inspectors who are well known and trusted who provide clear written reports that can be provided to potential buyers prior to making an offer. Disclose all reports even if a seller is disputing the validity of the report. Get a second opinion and quotes for repairs that need completing but always disclose. I want to emphasize that presale inspections do not relieve sellers of other disclosure obligations. When you occupy a property you know conditions that may not be evident in a one-time inspection and must pass this information on to all interested parties.
Please feel free to call or email me your real estate questions or for a free home evaluation. I can be reached at (925) 951-3817 or by email at email@example.com.