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Ready to Sell? Consider a Pre-Listing Inspection

One way to make your home appeal to all buyers is to conduct a pre-listing inspection.* A pre-listing inspection helps sellers discover flaws in their home that they might want to address before sale. Since the buyer will use his or her inspection to gain information on issues that could justify renegotiation or even abandonment of the purchase, it’s important for you to know your home’s condition — even if you don’t plan to do work on the property. A pre-listing inspection also creates a positive marketing tool that you or your agent can use to promote your home. Each WIN pre-listing inspection includes marketing materials alerting potential buyers that your home has been pre-inspected and is move-in ready.

Pre-Listing inspections also help you prepare your home for the best possible results during a buyer’s inspection. Some inspectors complain that sellers often don’t think about how to best present a home to the buyer’s inspector, who may draw conclusions about a home’s structure based on minor issues the seller could easily address. Gestures as simple as changing burned-out indoor and outdoor light bulbs or scraping windows that have been painted shut could prevent the mistaken impression that the house has electrical flaws or outages or that none of its windows open. Replacing filters in furnaces and air conditioners, cleaning ducts, and adjusting door knobs and locks can all help with your buyer’s inspection. You’ll also need to provide keys to exterior structures, and unblock access to attics, and crawl spaces.

In a hot market, where sellers get multiple bids from buyers and homes sell rapidly, many buyers end up nervously waiving an inspection in order to have their offer accepted. Some buyers, especially first-time buyers or those for whom home buying stretches resources, are sincere about wanting to buy but are afraid to make an offer on a home if they haven’t first inspected it. These buyers could be every bit as qualified as other shoppers, but may walk away if they think faster and less risk-averse shoppers will beat them to the draw. For that reason, making available a report from your pre-listing inspection can provide peace of mind and broaden the pool of prospective buyers in a hot marketplace.

If you’re planning to sell your home in a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) transaction, a pre-listing inspection is a particularly important marketing tool. While many FSBO sellers have a sophisticated knowledge of their property and its value, FSBO sellers are also stereotyped by buyers’ agents as over-optimistic about the value and condition of a home. Buyers who are looking at traditionally-listed as well as FSBO homes will be more comfortable making offers on a FSBO property if the owner shares a pre-listing inspection report.

*Not available in all locations or states. Contact your local WIN office for details.