Hale Properties - June 2020

JUNE 2020


You may already know a lot about the home you are selling. You fastidiously maintain the house, perform furnace maintenance four times a year, and patch roof shingles every spring. You may also have completed electrical or plumbing repairs that were straight out of a WorldWar II-era Army field guide handbook. These repairs may have worked GREAT for 40 years, but likely, they will not pass the eye of a critical buyer’s inspector. Real estate professionals the world over will tell you to never pre-inspect the home. “I don’t want to know all the problems with the home; I will have to disclose them to the buyer.”True, they make a great point. Knowing the faults of a home has certain disadvantages. It may mean the home is worth less money, and certain issues may NEED to be addressed due to safety concerns. It may seem like an unnecessary expense, especially if the buyer schedules an inspection anyway. On the other hand, it could be to your advantage as the seller to schedule an inspection of your property before you list it. When the seller schedules a home inspection before listing their home, they can make their property more appealing to potential buyers and prevent any potential renegotiations or addenda to the sale after the fact. Say you want to sell your home and don’t know of any notable repairs needed to your property. So you put it up for sale without calling in a professional home inspector. The buyer is almost always going to complete an inspection AFTER you have agreed upon a price and terms. Then, when faults are found, the buyer will be in the leveraged position to request concessions, in the form of price reduction, cash back at closing, or repairs that you end up paying for. Why do I say that the buyer is in a leveraged position? Once the property goes under contract and is listed on the MLS as “Sold-Contingent on Inspection,” that record stays with the property on the MLS indefinitely. Even if the buyer makes EXTREMELY unreasonable requests, and those do happen, the sellers must give consideration to these requests, and if you refuse and relist the property as active, the next buyer may question you about why the deal fell through during the inspection. Or worse yet, they may not even ask at all and just remove it from their list of potential properties, thereby eliminating the possibility of you even explaining how unreasonable the buyer’s requests were. In other cases, where the repairs needed are incredibly expensive, the buyer might decide that they don’t want the house anymore, and if they still do, you might have to renegotiate the selling price, rush repairs on the property if possible, or tell the buyer that they’re stuck with the repairs themselves, at which point, they might back out of the deal. All of these scenarios can be avoided if you inspect your home before you list it for sale.

Conversely, when you, the seller, inspect the property prior to listing it, youmight find some problems you didn’t know about, but you’ll also have time to get them repaired. If there are any repairs you can’t fix or decide not to fix, you can at least make sure buyers know about them in

your listing. All of this will ensure that potential buyers will have more peace of

mind when they view your home and that you will be more confident knowing that if the buyer schedules an inspection, you’ll have nothing to worry about.

I can hear my fellow listing agents cringe that I am revealing some huge secret that buyers’ agents and their clients don’t already know. They do know this, in fact, and the competent buyers’ agents who I have had the pleasure of working with fully appreciate the pre-listing inspection and work that is done. It makes OUR job of communicating value to the potential buyer even easier. Does this mean that if you don’t pre-inspect your property the buyer will have ultimate leverage in negotiations over you as a seller? Not necessarily. Every home and geographic market is unique, and submarkets can have completely different characteristics than the larger market as a whole. Desirable properties may have multiple bidders who are price-insensitive because of the home’s great appeal. Others will be looking at purchasing the property specifically for the land and plan to redevelop the site into a new home or new use altogether. If you and your agent determine that the highest and best use for the property would be a new building, a pre-listing inspection may not be of as great of value to you or the buyer. To answer the question posed in the title of this article, you should absolutely get your home inspected before you put it up for sale. While it might seem unnecessary, you shouldn’t measure the cost of a home inspection against how much you’ll save by not scheduling one. You should measure that cost against the costs you could potentially incur without an inspection. That’s why many cities in the Twin Cities area actually require them (though not all do). If you’re trying to decide who to contact to get a home inspection scheduled, feel free to give us a call at Hale Properties. We’ll know where you can turn.

–Fritz Soberay


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