FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FROM SELLERS
What exactly is a pre-listing inspection? It is an inspection you get on your current home before you put it on the market. It covers all of the same items that a pre-purchase inspection does, but from the perspective of the seller. You will use the information found in the report to prepare your home for a successful sale.
How can a pre-listing inspection help me as a seller? Professional pre-listing home inspections can reveal unknown conditions allowing you the opportunity to perform desired repairs before placing the property on the market. There is no such thing as a home that is too new or too well built to benefit from a professional inspection. Many problems frequently encountered during sales negotiations are a routine discovery for a qualified home inspector. A pre-listing home inspection is just good business as it may facilitate a smoother transaction by putting potential buyers at ease, reducing negotiating costs, and bypassing annoying delays.
How far in advance of putting my house on the market should I get a pre-listing inspection? This depends on you as the seller. Some sellers may simply choose to have a pre-listing inspection available to prospective buyers as a marketing tool and/or to use in future negotiations. If that is the case, you can get the inspection as late as the day before you list. However if you want to use the report to address certain issues before placing your house on the market, you will want to give yourself as much time as your schedule and budget require. If you suspect your home needs a good bit of TLC before listing, giving yourself extra time can help alleviate the anxiety of rushing. The choice is yours.
Can a house "fail" an inspection? No. A home inspection is an examination into the current condition of your home. An inspector will not pass or fail a house but will simply describe its condition and indicate which items are in need of minor or major repairs or replacement.
Do I have to fix all of the problems listed on the report? No. A pre-listing inspection report is not intended to be a "to do" list for the seller. As the seller, you are not obligated to repair conditions noted in the report, nor are you required to produce a flawless house. You may decide to make repairs as a matter of choice, not obligation, to foster goodwill or to facilitate the sale. Sellers maintain the legal right to refuse repair demands, except where requirements are set forth by state law, local ordinance, or the real estate purchase contract. Even if you fix nothing, buyers feel confident knowing there will be no costly surprises after the sale is finalized.
How can I show buyers that I have addressed certain problems found in the pre-listing inspection? The easiest way is to show buyers some proof that the work was done such as a contractor's job order and then your receipt(s) for the work done. In some situations a seller may want us to reinspect the problem areas once the repair was made, and we can do so as part of a reinspection/consultation.
If the report turns out to be favorable, did I really need the inspection? Definitely! Now you can place your home on the market with peace of mind about the true condition of your property. You have a terrific marketing tool to make your home stand out from the others, and it will give potential buyers the confidence that they are making a well-informed decision. Finally, a favorable report may reduce negotiating points and speed along the sale of your house.
What disclosure obligations do I have as the seller? Pennsylvania law states that it is the duty of a seller to disclose relevant facts concerning the property for sale through a Seller's Disclosure Statement form. You will be advised and guided through this process by your realtor. If you are not selling through a realtor (known as a "For Sale by Owner" or FSBO transaction) then you will need to do this on your own or with the help of a real estate attorney. While the pre-listing inspection report cannot be used as a substitute for that legal disclosure statement, it does allow you to provide prospective buyers with additional unbiased, third party, professional information.
Richard D. Malin & Associates, Inc.
Home Inspections, Radon Testing, Infrared Thermal Imaging, Indoor Air Quality Testing