Summer vacation is winding down here in Middle Tennessee, but the hot spring/summer buying and selling season remains in full swing! Speaking of selling… my lovely reader, Cari asked me a great question recently. “Lisa… my husband and I are finally ready to acknowledge that we’ve outgrown the home we love so much. We’d like to list our home early next year and want to make sure we’re totally ready. I thought I read something on your blog about getting a ‘pre-inspection’ of our home. Is this something we should do?” Yes, Cari, you did read about the idea of a seller’s “pre-inspection” when one of my team members took over my blog in late spring and wrote about her experiences of selling her Franklin home. She briefly mentioned the idea of having a home inspection before listing her home for sale, but didn’t elaborate too much. Allow me… 😊
The idea of having a pre-sale inspection of your home is enticing. Most sellers want to make sure that their home is as attractive to new buyers as possible. Perhaps they’ve spent lots of time (and money) doing small renovations and fixes and want to ensure that they know, with absolute certainty, that a potential sale won’t be affected by an inspection issue of which they weren’t aware. I get it and I applaud the idea of making sure your home is in top-notch shape before listing it for sale. However, I do NOT recommend getting a pre-sale inspection and here’s why…
When you list your home for sale, you will be required to disclose any issues that a potential buyer might want to know about. That leak from the master bathroom shower that you had fixed five years ago? Yep. You need to disclose it. A basement that takes on water during heavy rains? Train tracks located very nearby? Lead paint? Barking neighborhood dogs? Yes, yes, yes and technically yes. Now, before I completely freak you out, let me clarify all those examples by saying that legally, “you are required to disclose only information within your personal knowledge.” And those words “within your personal knowledge” are the main reason you should not have a pre-sale inspection. If you have one and are notified of defects, you MUST disclose them or fix them before selling your home.
Please know I am NOT trying to suggest that any seller not be 100% truthful with their Realtor or while completing a residential disclosure form. It is absolutely imperative that sellers are completely honest and upfront. In fact, I’ve worked with many buyers who appreciate those disclosures and are much more suspicious of a home without any disclosures. Who hasn’t had an icemaker or dishwasher mishap? Savvy buyers know that these accidents and repairs are a normal part of home maintenance. So, yes… you must disclose any issues with which you have personal knowledge. But, don’t borrow trouble and be forced to disclose or repair something that might not even be a big deal in the long run.
My minion who wrote the blog post mentioning the “pre-sale” inspection is a great example of why these types of inspections can cause sellers unneeded stress. She asked about doing the pre-sale inspection because she didn’t want any surprises. Totally understandable. When I explained why I wouldn’t recommend doing an inspection before listing her home, she agreed. In the end, we sold her home “as-is” and even though the new buyers paid for a home inspection, they forfeited the right to ask for home repairs. This home had been completely updated and was in great shape, but every home inspector will find nit-picky things. They weren’t a big deal to this buyer and the sale closed easily, but if my seller had paid for a pre-sale inspection, she’d have been compelled to spend time and money making those small repairs and fixes before listing her home. And in the end, they weren’t necessary at all!
Thanks for the great question, Cari! Be open and honest (and fix any issues that you are personally aware of) before listing your home, but don’t borrow trouble and anxiety by securing a pre-sale inspection. DO hire an experienced Realtor to help you sell your home and answer ALL the questions that might arise during the adventure of selling (and buying!) a home!