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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Should Sellers Have a Pre-Listing Property Inspection?

I almost always recommend home owners considering selling their home have a pre-listing inspection.  Of course many do not  think of it as a necessary step because their home is in "great condition."  The "almost always" refers to rare exceptions where the property is being disposed of and extenuating circumstances restrict actions (estate sale, short sale, financial constraints) as well as newer construction.

Even if a home is believed to be "in great condition" the pre-listing property inspection can add real value.

The added value may come in the form of a higher selling price or a quicker closing as well maintained homes encourage buyers to act before the home is taken (in a market like Brevard County, Florida's current market).

So why have the pre-listing inspection done?   In the unlikely event an inspection turns up something it can be addressed early.  

Your buyer will have an inspection done even if the offer is an "as is" offer.   This property inspection is basically a get out of jail free card here in Florida.   And if the buyer does not walk they may attempt to use the inspection issues as a tool to re-negotiate the selling price (read: When do you ask for repairs on an "as is" offer?").

A solved problem is a hurdle does not have to be jumped over later on the way to closing!

Depending on circumstances a seller can respond to a pre-listing inspection report in a couple of ways.    

  1. If there are no issues make sure your real estate agent uses the report as a marketing tool  Display the report on the kitchen counter so prospect buyers can see it when they view the home.
  2.  If there are some issues identified, address them.  Repair them or disclose the problems (and price accordingly).  Remember to update your Florida seller's property disclosure.   One quick comment about seller repairs - know your limitations.
  3. Although not legal nor ethical some sellers will try to hide problems.  By the way real estate agents in the state of Florida are required to disclose known issues that not readily visible which materially affect the value of property.  Do not expect your real estate agent to keep quiet about hidden defects. [Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and am not giving legal advice here.]

KEY POINT Having a pre-listing inspection performed and displaying a copy in your home for prospective buyers to peruse will give buyers more confidence in your home. An attitude of openness will make buyer prospects feel better about your property.

I believe a pre-listing home inspection can save a deal and is well worth the few hundred dollars it may cost.  

As a seller understand that your buyer will almost certainly have an inspection done.  Issues will likely be discovered.  The few hundred dollars spent for a pre-listing inspection has the potential to save a a deal and speed the sale of a property.

Ready to sell your Viera or Melbourne, Florida home?  Call me at 321-693-3850 if I can help in any way.  Ask for your free market analysis!

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