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

The House Detective by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector

Dear Barry: We’re planning to put our home on the market but are not in agreement about hiring a home inspector. I believe we should know every possible issue prior to listing the property, while my husband believes that doing so increases the number of defects we will have to disclose. Do you see pre-listing home inspections as an advantage or a disadvantage for sellers? Sheila

Dear Sheila: The subject of pre-sale home inspections for sellers has been addressed from time to time in this column because so few sellers are aware of the advantages of hiring their own home inspector. Basically, there are four compelling reasons for sellers to have their home inspected prior to listing it for sale:

  1. When you present an inspection report to prospective buyers at the outset of the deal, it eliminates the need to renegotiate after the buyers hire their own home inspector.†In most transactions, the entire deal is contingent on the buyers’ acceptance of their home inspector’s report. A thorough report by your own inspector reduces the likelihood of new findings by the buyers’ inspector.
  2. Providing an inspection report to buyers promotes an atmosphere of trust. It indicates to buyers that you, the sellers, have nothing to hide and are willing to disclose everything.
  3. If an undisclosed defect is discovered after you sell the property, you are less likely to be suspected of having concealed the problem intentionally, especially if you hired a home inspector with a reputation for thoroughness.
  4. A presale inspection enables you to transact an as-is sale, while still meeting your obligation to provide disclosure. You simply state that you are not intending to make repairs but are providing, instead, a complete list of conditions that warrant repair. Presale home inspections provide strong advantages for sellers, yet few sellers exercise the option or are even aware of it as a consideration. In today’s buyers’ market, sellers need to take this proactive approach to disclosure.