Why a Home Inspection Is the Seller's Friend
We deem home inspection as the seller's friend because it can present his house more attractively
to buyers and therefore expedite a sale. Although buyers commonly use a home inspection
tactically by placing a contingency on the purchase agreement, the home seller can employ the
same tactical tool by acting preemptively before even listing his property for sale. He sustains
repair costs and the inspection fee up front, but he plans to recover all his costs at closing time.
Let's investigate this approach and its realization in more detail.
The home inspection enables the seller to gain a marketing advantage by boosting the
prominence of his property when compared to others. Establishing this edge always proves
valuable but it is especially significant during market slowdowns such as what is happening now.
The technique is similar to staging one's house to help buyers visualize living in it. Staging and
the home inspection mutually benefit each other, but even without going to the bother or expense
of staging, the seller can be confident of recovering his inspection costs through the buyer's
perception of increased value and his willingness to pay a higher price.
Step one is for the seller to embrace the spirit of complete disclosure rather than bristle with an
attitude of hiding everything he can. He should realize that the buyer is probably going to
discover, by virtue of the home inspection, whatever he tries to conceal anyway. And that in turn
could give the buyer an incentive to find new contract terms more favorable to him. The entire
transaction could then bog down with a somber mood of distrust. Conversely, a willingness to be
honest and to disclose all should lighten the mood like a breath of fresh air.
Step two, then, is to schedule a pre-listing home inspection. A reliable inspector will be
objective, thorough, and consistent, adhering to standards of practice and closely following
comprehensive checklists. The problems he uncovers, which are typically categorized as major
repair, minor repair, safety, moisture, wear, or insects, are likely to match fairly closely whatever
another inspector might find, including the buyer's.
Step three is to receive and scrutinize the home inspection report, keeping emotions at bay lest
they adversely influence conclusions. Thinking like a buyer, the seller identifies those defects
that are or could be deal breakers. He then fixes those items himself or by hiring contractors. He
should retain all work statements so that he can affix them to the inspection report.
Step four is for the seller to list the house and invite buyers to review the report and statements.
If buyers don't appreciate this effort on the seller's part, their agents certainly will and they will
point out his forthrightness to them.
If the buyer is content with the candor of the seller and his work to prepare the house, he may opt
to forgo the inspection contingency. Other potential buyers will also recognize the value, and this
could lead to multiple offers at or above asking price. Thus, the pre-listing home inspection is a
true friend of the seller, spurring improvements of the property, facilitating quick sale of the
house, and paying back what was spent along the way and then some.