Should I get a pre-sale inspection before I put my home on the market? Doesn't a buyer usually pay for this?

Asked by Kelly, San Francisco Bay Area Mon Dec 10, 2007

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Cynthia Cumm…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Thu Feb 5, 2015
While I don't usually answer "old" questions, this is a timeless query that never goes away.

The "right" answer is that, yes, it's always advisable that buyer obtain inspections and it's customary for buyer to pay for them. It's also a good idea for seller to be informed about what's going on with his/her property and professional inspections can prevent a lot of surprises down the line.

HOWEVER, here's the "reality" answer:

If you're talking about San Francisco, the key to obtaining the highest price and best terms is to be sure that buyers write stellar offers. If your property is priced correctly, buyers will be competing to win your property. Their clever agents will try to knock out the other contenders and, in so doing, will suggest everything from writing a non-contingent financing clause to dropping inspections altogether.

Nobody likes buyers skipping inspections, but most buyers will skip the inspections in an effort to WIN the house. Hence, it's a good idea for YOU, the seller, to have inspections -- pest, contractors and anything else that's appropriate -- in advance. Share them with the buyers. It'll a) make it easier for them to breathe easier as they waive inspections and b) it'll help to cover you for future liability if some problem arises in the future.

In San Francisco, in short: Smart Sellers Pay for Advance Inspections and Share Them With Buyers. More information -- not less -- is better for EVERYONE!
1 vote
James Wedewer, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Mon Dec 10, 2007
You have some great advice here already, and to add to it, in California you should definitely get a pre-sale inspection. I'm sure you are probably asking the question because you have already interviewed real estate agents that advised or required you to get one. The reason is that California and many counties and cities there have laws about extra disclosures. Chimney, roof and visible structural inspections are common to have done before the home is put on the market, and buyers will often expect it. If your agent(s) have told you to get one, that is because they know YOUR market and what is expected of homes for sale in it. The buyer will also do an inspection as part of their own due diligence, but armed with your own pre-listing inspection you probably won't have any deal-breaking issues.
1 vote
I don't think it would hurt! It could actually be a huge selling point when contacting buyers. The fact that you would have already made sure your home is safe would interest buyers more. I'd look more into it if I were you!
Flag Wed Jan 7, 2015
Arpad Racz, Agent, San Jose, CA
Sat Mar 7, 2015
Hi Kelly,

A pre-sale inspection lets potential buyers know more about the property condition, so they can make an offer more confidently. If you are in a multiple offer market area, this can open up the bidding more easily.

Kind regards,

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Francis Soms…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Sat Mar 7, 2015
I would strongly recommend getting inspections done before putting your home on the market. This way, your buyers will have as much information about the home prior to making an offer as possible. What this does is reduces the possibility of something coming up once a home is in contract and destroying the deal. Its a seller's market. So, if something is disclosed up front, the buyers - if they really want the home - will make an offer accepting whatever shows up in the inspections.
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Jennifer Fiv…, Agent, Red Hook, NY
Thu Feb 5, 2015
A pre-sale inspection will be your cost. It is a great proactive approach because you will be able to identify issue and fix them. This will usually lead to a higher offer because the buyer won't have issues to bring up.
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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Fri Dec 19, 2014
This thread dates back quite a way, but since there's a new answer posted, I thought I'd add mine . . . particularly since I strongly disagree with the advice provided here.

But first: I'm not licensed in California and so my advice isn't directed specifically at California. Further, customs and expectations vary in different places. If a seller lives in some place where an agent says that pre-sale inspections by the seller are expected, then seriously consider doing it. Okay?


As the answers here note, the buyer is very likely to get his/her own inspection. And that's the right thing to do. That's going to happen whether or not you get a pre-sale inspection.

What are the advantages to a pre-sale inspection? It allows the seller to fix things that might come up in the buyer's home inspection, so there will be fewer "surprises" and hopefully less expense or price adjustment following the buyer's inspection.

But what are the disadvantages? If you choose not to make repairs that you have been informed should be made, in most states you're required to disclose that. Maybe your hot water heater has a slight leak that you didn't notice. Or maybe the inspector noticed some flaw with the roof. Those sorts of disclosures can scare off potential buyers even before they've had a chance to fall in love with your home. And remember: You are required to disclose (in states that require disclosure), as is your agent.

Also, recognize that, as a practical matter, home inspectors are going to find things wrong. Sometimes they're legitimate. But even a seemingly perfect, pristine home is likely to end up with a list of items discovered by the inspector. Maybe the items will be small (window missing a screen, or a door handle missing a screw). But sometimes they'll be big though not serious: HVAC nearing end of predicted life. Sure, the HVAC could die tomorrow or it could last another 15 years. Right now it's doing fine. But there are likely to be a few biggies on the inspector's list no matter how much you've worked to eliminate problems.

Beyond that, suppose you have an inspection done, find a few things, and correct them all. Then your agent proudly includes the inspection in the package for buyers. How much credence do you think buyers will give to an inspection paid for by the seller? Not much. They'll figure that the inspector came up with a report to make the house look good, or at least might have "overlooked" a few major things. I'm not saying that's what inspectors do; what I'm saying is that the buyers may come to that conclusion and therefore pay little or no attention to the report.

So, there are enough drawbacks to think twice about having a pre-sale inspection done.

Again, practices vary geographically. And if a couple of experienced agents advise you to do it, then definitely do it. But I know plenty of good, experienced agents who would discourage their sellers from having a pre-inspection report done.
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Myersjulie31, Home Buyer, Blakeslee, PA
Fri Dec 19, 2014
I definitely think that it is a good idea to get an inspection, even if you aren't buying. Then if there is something wrong with your home, you can either list it with the home, or you can get it fixed to increase the value. By getting it inspected, you know exactly what is going on, and won't be blamed if anything is found once it is bought. I would definitely find a good inspection service so that you won't have to worry about anything as you are selling it!
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James Budrow, , Sacramento, CA
Tue Sep 7, 2010

There are a few things that are inevitable during the process of selling your home.

* You're eventually going to get one or two perfect buyers for your home.
* Your home eventually will be inspected.
* There eventually will be a negotiation point when one or both of those buyers are going to want to negotiate the price of your home.

Will you be prepared? Will you have your home pre-inspected? Having your home pre-inspected allows you, the seller, to be prepared for negotiations.

Our inspectors see homes with worn or deteriorated roofs, Heating and Air conditioning systems past their life expectancy, or plumbing systems that are obsolete every day of the year. Any one of these issues could cost the buyer's several thousand dollars. The worst part about this is that not one of these issues will be reflected in the purchase price of the property if the home has not been inspected first.

Eventually there will be a sign placed in your front yard right above the real estate sign. The sign you want to see placed above that real estate sign is “Sold”. The sign you won’t want to see above that real estate sign is “Reduced Price”.

Get your home pre-inspected by a quality inspector before your home is placed on the market.

With the answer is very clear. Get your home pre-inspected by a quality Sacramento home inspector before your home is placed on the market. This will eliminate that perfect buyer from walking away from the deal at the inspection period.

Do you want to make more money when you sell your home? Having your home pre-inspected before you put it on the market will allow you ample time to fix the things that you may not have known about, ultimately allowing you to ask for and receive a better price for your home.

Be prepared. Have your home pre-inspected. can help you with your home selling process. Contact us today. 877-424-8289
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Jed Lane, Agent, Petaluma, CA
Mon Dec 10, 2007
The more you know before you you get offers the stronger you will be in getting to the eventual close of escrow. I recommend a pest inspection be included in the pre-sale disclosure. Let the buyer do a contractor inspection if they want. In many areas section 1 pest work needs to be done prior to close of escrow. In SF it doesn't but the last thing you want after you accept an offer is to have to talk price again.
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K Feat, , San Francisco, CA
Mon Dec 10, 2007
Kelly -- I agree with Pete Sabine about obtaining as much information about your property as possible to make the right marketing decisions. If a report suggests certain areas that should be addressed for safety or security reasons, then you make those changes, if desired before offering the property for sale.

This all being said, it is likely that a potential buyer will have their own independent inspection (that they pay for) in order to have an unbiased opinion. As a buyer's agent, I've suggested to my buyers that they get an inspection even if the seller has already completed one. About half of my buyer clients decide to use the seller's inspection provided in the property disclosures rather than pay for an additional inspection.
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Pete Sabine, Agent, Martinez, CA
Mon Dec 10, 2007
The adage “knowledge is power” certainly applies to buying or selling real estate.
I always recommend a pro-active approach in selling real estate by obtaining as much information about the condition of the property prior to offering the property for sale.
This information will empower the seller and their agent to form a marketing and pricing strategy based on the condition of the property.
Sometimes it’s better for both the seller and buyer to agree upon an “as-is” sale with a price or credit concession from the seller in lieu of repairs to the property.
The pre-sale inspection reports provide both parties with the information needed to draft a purchase contract that meets the mutual needs of each party and can greatly reduce the need to renegotiate the contract for unexpected repairs that are discovered during the escrow period.
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