Featuring America's Home Inspector: Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Barry Stone

The House Detective by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector

Dear Barry: I was wondering if you recommend hiring a home inspector before putting a home up for sale? This was recommended to us by a friend. But whoever buys our house is likely to hire their own inspector anyway. So what good does it do us to pay for a home inspection? Richard

Dear Richard: There are four distinct advantages when sellers have a home inspection prior to sale:

  1. Providing an inspection report to the people who buy your home demonstrates that you have nothing to hide as a seller. It establishes a basis of trust among the parties to the transaction and thereby increases the likelihood of closing the deal in an atmosphere of good relations.
  2. If an undisclosed defect is discovered after the sale of the property, it is less likely that you will be suspected of having deliberately concealed the problem, especially if the home inspector you hired is someone with a reputation for thoroughness.
  3. When you present an inspection report to buyers at the outset of the transaction, it eliminates the need to renegotiate the terms of the deal after the buyers hire their own home inspector (assuming, of course, that the home inspector you hired did a thorough job). In most transactions, sellers await breathlessly the outcome of the buyers’ home inspection, hoping that some adverse revelation will not kill the deal. A home inspection in advance of the transaction eliminates this tense ordeal.
  4. A presale inspection enables you to conduct an as-is sale while still meeting your obligation to provide disclosure. You simply state that you are selling the property in its current condition, as you provide a full report of what that condition is.

Presale home inspections offer strong advantages for sellers, yet few sellers exercise this option or are even aware of it as a consideration. Realtors would do well to promote home inspections when listing properties for their clients.