In the Sacramento region, it is customary for buyers to do inspections after they have entered into contract. Here are a few reasons sellers might consider doing the inspections upfront.
- Set your home apart. If all other characteristics are equal, you will be giving potential buyers knowledge about your house that is not available for competing homes.
- By disclosing everything you know and everything the inspectors found, you protect yourself from any claims that the buyer makes later and reduce the risk of a lawsuit.
- There will be less surprises that come up during the purchase process. If you wait for the buyer to do the inspections, there is a good chance something unexpected will be found. In my experience, sellers are almost always surprised by something found in the inspection.
- Surprises may cause the buyer to ask for a lower price or even step out of the transaction causing delay for the seller while their house is put back on the market.
- Sellers can do repairs at their leisure and get competitive bids. It is difficult enough to go through the process of selling a home in a limited time frame without adding items that need to be repaired too. For example, one of my listings had nothing wrong with the roof, the home's interior or exterior, but when the pest inspector went under the house, he found termites, borer beetles and dry rot. The repairs under the house impacted a bathroom and the kitchen as well. Floors and counters had to be replaced or repaired. It was a real challenge to get everything done within our 30 days.
- By doing the inspections and any necessary repairs, the seller is able to market to the widest available market including first time home buyers, FHA buyers and VA buyers. The larger the available market, usually the better the sales price.
- Repair items become less of a bargaining chip for home buyers. In this competitive market, it is getting pretty common to hear buyers demand much more in repairs as they pay higher and higher prices. Inspections should not be a to do list for the seller to complete. I believe they should be used to find real issues that are surprises to the buyer. Many buyers are using their inspections as a laundry list of items they expect the seller to fix.
Two recent "surprises."
(The damage was not apparant until the inspector probed the wood.)
Homes are sold "as is" in our area and the seller is under no obligation to fix anything, but the buyer can still ask for items to be repaired. The real issues usually arise when surprises are found. Surprises at the wrong time create problems. It seems wise to try and eliminate as many surprises as possible. Even if the seller chooses to do inspections, but not do any repairs, the inspections are still valuable. Potential home buyers can incorporate the inspection findings to develop their offer price. All three inspections probably cost about $700 to $800 in total. It seems like pretty good insurance to me.
Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, e-Pro
3412 Babson Drive
Elk Grove, CA 95758