Advantages of Pre-Listing Inspections for Sellers


By: Robert L. Klewitz, M.S.C.E., P.E.


RLK and Associates Inspection Service


(425) 391-9396



The real estate market in the greater Seattle area has changed dramatically in the last few months, and buyers are becoming more cautious, and much more demanding, about the houses they are considering to buy. Many sellers have lost sales on their houses due to inspection related issues that could not be negotiated to mutual satisfaction, and I have personally heard many stories about this happening from my own clients, as well as many others from other inspectors and agents that I know. And if a seller loses a sale in this market, it could be weeks or months before another buyer comes along with an offer.


I have an acquaintance in Sammamish that has been trying to sell her nice house built in 1989, on a large lot with mountain views, that was priced very well for the neighborhood and the market. Unfortunately, even though she has lived in this house for about 15 years, she decided not to take my advice about having a pre-listing inspection to determine what the issues and problems might be, mostly because she was convinced that it was in fine shape. She ended up losing two sales last year from well qualified buyers because of the buyers’ inspections, had to make a bunch of expensive repairs and upgrades, and has just recently sold the house finally after being on the market for almost a year! The moral of this story is that significant and costly problems are often found in a house, that the sellers know absolutely nothing about.


In this type of market, it makes tremendous sense for sellers to consider having pre-listing inspections done before they even put the house up for sale. I know that many agents are somewhat wary of recommending these, and some even strongly recommend against it, but there are several common benefits of pre-listing inspections for both the seller and their listing agent. The home will very likely sell quicker and at the highest possible price by taking advantage of this service, and I have heard much positive feedback from my seller clients over the years about this type of inspection. All of them have been very glad that they had it done, and that has been true even in better times for sellers.


Here are some of the many benefits and advantages of pre-listing inspections for sellers:


·      You eliminate all the surprises, worry, and consternation that typically come along with an inspection after the original offer is negotiated.


·      Since you know all the issues and problems in advance, you can much better disclose all of these items.


·      Disclosing the condition of the home also allows you to reflect the condition in the listing price, rather than having to negotiate again later when the issues are discovered, so you generally eliminate the need for any further negotiation after a buyer’s inspection.


·      You can have some things repaired if that seems prudent, and can also price the house accordingly, based on its true condition. This takes it off the table as a negotiating point against you.


·      You and the agent don’t have to spend valuable time and effort after an offer getting contractor bids, having repair work done, etc.


·      Since disclosure is so much better, you virtually eliminate the concerns or potential lawsuits for both the seller and the agent about not doing so.


·      You don’t have to delay the closing to have time to repair the problems the buyer negotiates for.


·      There won’t be any more helpless feelings that an inspector has raised an issue that is not a big problem.


·      You won’t have any more buyers walking away because there may be a problem with the house.


·      There will be no need for any more last minute renegotiations based on the inspector's findings.


·      There won’t be any more buyers getting cold feet when they find out the home is not perfect.


·      You have the ability to choose the inspector that YOU want, based on reputation and credentials.


·      There won’t be a need for a parade of several inspectors through your home before a multiple-offer situation.


·      This allows you to resolve any differences of opinion about the house before it goes on the market.


·      The house will almost always sell much quicker and for the best possible price!!!



However, there is a little trick to this whole idea and these benefits. You MUST hire an excellent inspector, who is going to do a thorough, comprehensive, and competent inspection! There is no point in doing this if the inspector you choose misses or understates a major problem, and then a buyer’s more knowledgeable inspector comes along and finds a big problem that you were not made aware of by your inspector. So please choose your inspector for this type of service very carefully – their experience and qualifications as listed in the report and on their website need to impress and satisfy the potential buyers and leave little or no doubt that their report is accurate and complete.


Many times over the years when we have done a pre-listing inspection for the seller, the buyer has hired us to perform a walk-through inspection with them that they pay for, to explain and discuss the findings with the buyer. This often creates a comfort level for them, when combined with our excellent qualifications and thorough report, that causes the buyers to not feel a need to have their own, separate inspection. And even if they do have their own inspector do an inspection, you can rest assured that the buyers’ inspector will NOT find any other significant issues or problems that we have not already identified – we guarantee it!!!


Our policy is that if this was ever to occur (and it never has in over 23 years), and the buyer’s inspector finds a significant and costly problem that we have not found, we will refund in full the fee paid to us by our seller client for the inspection. No other inspector that we know of in this area will give you this type of guarantee. You therefore have nothing to lose and everything to gain! For more information about this very helpful and beneficial service, please feel free to call us at (425) 391-9396.