As a seller, do you think a home inspection done prior to the listing is a good idea?

I'm trying to decide if I should market these services.
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January 12 2011 - US
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I have done this on some of my listings.  It lets the buyer know of issues they may have and don't realize so they can be repaired  choose not to.

I make the inspection available to buyers so they know the issues, which can be reflected in their offer.  This cuts down on issues to negotiate after a contract is accepted.  Sure the buyers inspection can turn up a few new issues, but the others were know before the offer, so they don't show up on the post inspection sheet.

Some sellers are concerned that an issue may show up they didn't know about and would not have had to disclose, but those will show up eventually anyway.  It's better to find out before listing.
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January 13 2011
I strongly encourage my sellers to do this. Once they get the results back, it gives them an opportunity of fixing things without having to negotiate 'how and by whom' items will be fixed. I believe it makes the sale of your home that much better than your competition and in a buyers market, every thing helps.
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January 13 2011
Profile picture for shasta_steve
I can't think of too many times I would do it or even consider it a good idea.  For the most part I know what they problems are with the house I own and I figure the potential home buyer will do an inspection anyway. 

My problem is all these little fees and costs that go with buying and selling houses really start to add up. I know the expression penny wise and pound foolish but you have to draw the line at some point.  Another problem I have with inspections is they have rarely found problems I could not have found myself and if they miss something, which they have done on previous houses I have owned, they have so many outs they are impossible to hold responsible. 

I really liked my last inspector but reading his report went something like this.  Roof seems to be in good shape but recomend a roofing inspector.  No plumbing problems found but recomend a plumbing inspector.  Wiring and pests were the same.   Really were do you draw the line between making a good decision and just throwing your money away.   If I had followed all his recomendations I would of had a couple of thousand in inspections on a 5 year old house. 
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January 13 2011
In some situations I recommend it because I have had several first time home buyers back out after their inspection. Most of the time it is because the "list" of small repairs seems long and their confidence becomes low in the house. If we fix all of the small issues going in, I believe it pays off down the road.
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January 13 2011
Profile picture for wetdawgs
We've taken this approach with every house we've sold, and then done the repairs before putting it on the market.   This has prevented major ugly surprises, but has also kept the buyer from nickeling and diming us to death with minor issues such as a crack in a tile or a slightly lose board.
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January 13 2011
I like the idea of a seller performing an inspection before going on the market. It could help a seller form a small "honey do" list and make minor repairs before going on market. This way a buyer doesn't get anxious upon inspection or try to decrease the offer price based on findings. It could also alert a seller of more serious issues that may be taken care of. It seems a small trade off to pay a few hundred dollars vs. a buyer potentially decreasing an offer price by tens of thousands of dollars.   
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January 13 2011

The home inspection up front by the seller is a very smart thing to do . It will possibly remove and resolve issues large and small that may make a potential buyer pull away from the home.  I have seen potential buyers back out of a contract for simple repair issues that could have been resolved very easily had the seller known up front.

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January 13 2011
It is a fantastic idea.  Not only does it make your home more desirable to Buyers, but they feel more comfortable in knowing that they don't have to worry about finding any surprises with needing small or huge repairs.  I highly recommend it and it sets your home apart from the competition.
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January 14 2011
My last three sales, I had the Home Inspection report, a document explaining what had been done about each issue, and receipts to prove it posted for buyers to see when they viewed each house.  In each case the buyer commented they trusted both the house and the seller because we were up front and cared about the condition of the house.  All three had a second inspection done (and found no surprises).

I think the pre-inspection, where the inspector comes back and verifies in writing what was corrected is a particularly good addition to the overall marketing plan.
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January 16 2011
Most relos do this.  It can be very helpful.  Just remember that anything discovered, if your state requires a seller disclosure, must be reported.  Showing that you fixed it is great, but if you get a major item and choose not to fix it, you must disclose it.

I always think it's better to fix things at the get go.  Why?  Sometimes after a bad inspection a buyer may bring in the highest end of contractor, who may suggest a very expensive fix, even if you can fix something perfectly for less.  I'm not talking about a temporary fix, just an honest correction of a problem.  When buyer and seller disagree on how far to go, this results in a conflict and can sabotage the contract at a critical moment.  On the other hand, if you say "we had a leak in the roof and fixed it and here is the receipt, it usually is not questioned.  Sometimes contractors come in and say "you know what, you can fix this, but really, it's old and you should get a new one. "  Ouch.

So bottom line, as long as you are willing to disclose and repair, you will probably fare better.  Just make sure it's a good inspector and be prepared for the buyer inspector to find something else.  The worst thing a seller can do is not disclose any past problems -- inspectors can see work done, and then trust levels go down.
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January 16 2011
Not many sellers like to spend the money.  But it is a good idea that could quite possibly save time and money when you do get a contract.  Don't expect the buyers inspector not to turn anything up.  Just realize that hopefully you have advance notice on the majority of the issues.  This can also give you confidence to price your house appropriately.
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January 16 2011
Profile picture for the_country_hick
There is one very big very important advantage to having a sellers inspection done that no-one has mentioned.

If a seller gets a house inspection and fixes or discloses everything in it when they sell if the buyer has problems with the house they received legal protection. As they had the inspection they bought a legal liability policy protecting them from selling a house with undisclosed problems.

The buyer could not successfully push a defective house lawsuit as the seller did their best to show any problems they had.
 
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January 16 2011
There are many factors to consider in making this decision. If you are a nervous home-seller who does not want to wait and who really wants to know of any and all conditions in your property, go ahead and have a home inspection. Include mold and radon and where applicable, well, septic. Keep this report and when your home sells and the buyer has their own inspection, by having yours done in advance, it could provide at least peace of mind and could possibilty help with any conflicts that might arise between the two reports.  The inspection should be as an FYI and is most often ordered by homeowners who might suspect they have a problem or two that might need attention (such as mold, water seepage or other potential problems)  This one is a coin toss, depends on the seller and his mental and financial preparation for the sale of the subject property.
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January 16 2011
I think it is a great idea...keeping in mind that different inspectors will find different things so it is not written in stone. However, you can get a pretty good idea of any major things that every inspector will find.
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January 17 2011
Thanks for all the posts.  Lots of good comments.  It seems that the majority here think a sellers inspection is a good idea.  This is helpful to me in deciding if I should focus a part of my marketing efforts here in San Diego on pushing seller home inspections.

We are contemplating setting up a system where we perform a sellers inspection for a reduced cost and list the home as "move in certified" along with yard signs and other marketing materials if the seller agrees to any fix major deficiencies we find.  Prospective buyers could purchase the sellers inspection via our website for a nominal fee (think CarFax) and possible negate the need for their own buyer inspection.  No more inspection contingencies.  Full disclosure.  Seems like an all around win win for everyone involved.

Thoughts?
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January 17 2011
Profile picture for SoCal_Engr
Only an idiot would depend on a seller-financed inspection. "No more inspection contingencies"? Not likely. Other than that, not a bad idea. However, I'd soft-pedal the "certified move-in..." marketing (see below).

Questions...
 
Are you going to provide some type of warranty, since you are "certifying" the house?

Are you going to verfiy/certify the repairs to discrepancies you find?
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January 17 2011
I strongly encourage seller's to have the home pre-inspected.  It instills buyer confidence. Helps the home stand out in a crowded market. Helps the seller negotiate having a stronger idea of what costs they may be facing. I have found that most buyers move forward with their own inspections however we ask the buyer to act in good faith, don't ask for repairs on items already disclosed or at least address those at initial contract.
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January 18 2011
I tell my staging clients that on HGTV when a buyer falls in love with a house then...will they/won't they cancel the purchase because of unexpected condition problems??  Oh that is exciting on TV.  In real life, when you are the seller losing the sale and having to deal with surprise maintenance...not so much.
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January 18 2011
Although I have rarely seen this done except in a Relocation Company or REO type sale, all I can say if I were selling MY HOUSE, I would have a full home inspection. That way I can fix the important things and be prepared when the future buyer gets his own inspection (he should get his own) I will have ammunition when they try to nickel and dime me over nothing.
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January 18 2011
Thanks again everyone for your contributions. SoCal - consider this, what do home inspectors predominantly find when inspecting a home? Small insignificant items that are easy to repair. Do these small items scare the buyer?  Absolutely, not always from a single issue but sometimes the totality of the items found in the report can make a buyer shy away. Will I verify if a leaky faucet or sink has been repaired?  Sure. How about a tile repair, window that doesn't lock, sparse insulation in the attic or a cabinet door that is loose.  Yep.  Will I certify if a roofing problem has been corrected? No. But should a seller contract with a roofing contractor to remedy the issue, the company of choice will provide a warranty along with documentation that the repair has been completed in a workmanlike fashion.
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January 18 2011
 
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