Who should get an inspection first - seller or buyer?

Asked by Suzanne Lepaw, Huntington, NY Tue Apr 8, 2008

I 'm planning on putting my house on the market soon. Should I have the town do an inspection first to be sure there are no code issues or should a prospective buyer get the initial inspection by his own inspector?

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Cori Kaplan, , Huntington, NY
Fri Jun 13, 2008
Hi Suzanne,

I would definitely not let the town into your property! Many homes are not up to code yet are definitely able to be sold.

A seller's inspection may be useful but may be overkill. Some inspectors may empasize some items while other will consider them minor. In addition, one buyer may make a big deal out of something and another buyer will overlook the same item. It may seem prudent to preemptively fix everything but I think it is overkill. Let the buyer get their own inspection. They won't trust your inspector anyway. Once they raise an issue, then you can address it individually.

Good luck,

Cori Kaplan
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Joe Michalski, , Philadelphia, PA
Thu Apr 24, 2008
The subject of a pre-listing (seller's) inspection comes up fairly frequently.

I think it depends on what part of the country you live in as to whether they are typically seen as an asset or not. Here in PA they are not frequently referred by Realtors. The objections I most frequently hear are that they can increase the seller's liability with respect to disclosing items. This can happen when a seller is made aware of issues they did not know about before and are not prepared to fix.

The second concern is that the buyer's inspector will uncover things the seller's inspector did not. This happens fairly frequently, many times because inspectors all have areas of expertise or strengths. The buyer's inspector may have been a master electrician and identify a few items that only his trained eye would catch. The seller can pay to repair several items believing his home to be perfect, and then be dismayed when more items are turned up by the buyer's inspector. This can leave a seller to wonder why they paid to fix those few items, or even why they paid the first inspector to begin with.

It can be a great marketing tool for sellers. It can, as many suggest, help prepare a seller for the buyer's inspection, and also help the sale price hold up. So, there are many advantages. But just to give a full picture, I thought I would share some cons, too.

Of course, as an inspector, I wish EVERY seller had a pre-listing inspection so I could be twice as busy!
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Holly Sutton, Agent, Salt Lake City, UT
Thu Apr 24, 2008
I always recommend that my seller’s get a home inspection that way they can address any issues that may come up. That being said, as a buyer’s agent I always have the buyer get a home inspection regardless if one has already been done. Sometimes two inspectors are better than one.
Web Reference:  http://hollysutton.com
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Vicki Webb B…, Agent, Saint Augustine, FL
Thu Apr 24, 2008
It has been my experience that sellers with a home inspection are much better prepared to deal with buyer objections and it can turn into dollars during the negotiating process.
Web Reference:  http://staugrealtor.net
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Linda, , Berwyn, PA
Thu Apr 24, 2008
There can be advantages to getting an inspection prior to listing your home. It allows you to address any issues that may present objections from a buyer up front. The few hundred dollars spent can be worth the return.
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Joe Michalski, , Philadelphia, PA
Thu Apr 24, 2008

As an inspector, I can tell you that most township inspections are not really full code inspections and many are nothing more than a check for handrails, smoke detectors and GFCI outlets. Some are pretty tough, but around here, they are the exceptions, not the rule.

The buyer's inspector will likely uncover more issues that you will also need to address. If a local inspection (often called a "Use and Occupancy" or something like that) is required, the items that inspctor uncovers MUST be addressed in order to transfer the property. Many of these items will be duplicates of the buyer's inspector's findings.

So, let the buyer have at it first.
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L. Ann Mitch…, , Snellville - and surrounding areas
Tue Apr 8, 2008
Hi Suzanne !

If I were you I would let the buyer get an inspection on your home first only because they are going to get one regardless or should I say 9 times out of 10. Depending on the inspector they choose they may or may not find any significant repairs that need to be done on the home which would save you the inspection costs. If there ARE known issues that another inspector will find then it would probably be in your best interest to get the inspection done so that you know how much it would cost to repair. Doing this will make you certain that you are not giving a buyer a higher credit for repairs than is actually needed.

Hope this helps!
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