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Pre-Listing Inspections

By In Pre-Listing Inspections, Sellers Inspections On January 17, 2009


While many cities in the Minneapolis / Saint Paul area require inspections to be done before listing a house for sale (see Truth In Housing Requirements and Truth In Housing Basics), more and more smart home sellers are choosing to have their homes inspected by a private inspector before putting them up for sale.   These are typically called Pre-Listing Inspections or Sellers Inspections.

A seller’s inspection is the equivalent of a buyers inspection, but of course the client is the person selling the home, not the person buying it.  Sellers may choose to make the inspection report available for potential buyers to see, or they may keep it private.  In either case, this is a fantastic way for sellers to learn exactly what will be found at their home when their buyers have an inspection performed, and will give them a chance to repair any problems.

If the seller chooses to make the inspection report a public document, this can make the home a more attractive property for potential buyers by giving them better peace of mind about a property before even writing an offer on it.  Besides added peace of mind for buyers, having a sellers inspection will make the negotiation process much easier for all parties involved.  Here are two potential scenarios:

No seller’s inspection – A buyer writes an offer on a home, the offer is accepted, and the purchase is contingent upon an inspection.  The inspection is performed three days later, and several issues are identified.  Assuming the buyers still want the house after discovering all these things they didn’t know about the home, they now ask the seller to fix the items.  Several things can happen at this point – the seller might offer to discount the price of the home, rush to do the repairs, or even refuse to do anything, which might kill the deal.  None of these options are ideal for the seller, and negotiations will need to take place.

Seller has home inspected before listing – The inspector identifies several issues with the home, and the seller takes their leisurely time in getting the items corrected or repaired.  They confidently list their home, and look forward to the buyer’s home inspection, knowing that nothing is going to come up that they didn’t already know about.  If there are items that the seller decides not to fix, they might just list those items on a disclosure form, so any potential buyer knows that this is what they are buying, and there are no negotiations later on in the buying process.

Sellers inspections are becoming more and more popular, especially in today’s market where there is such a high inventory of homes for sale.  Many real estate agents that work with us have us inspect every house they list for sale, because it makes the selling process go so much smoother for all parties involved.

One last thing – make sure you hire an excellent home inspector.  A home inspector that misses or glosses over problems can do more harm than good.  At Structure Tech, we pride ourselves on being thorough, detailed home inspectors, and we’re geeks about houses.  While there is a large range in prices for home inspections between different companies, remember; you get what you pay for.

RELATED POST:  How Much Do You Charge?

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections – Email – Home Inspector Minneapolis


About the Author

Reuben

Reuben is a second generation home inspector with a passion for his work. He grew up remodeling homes and learning about carpentry since he was old enough to hold a hammer. Reuben has worked for Structure Tech since it was purchased by Neil in 1997, and is now co-owner of the company. Reuben’s favorite customers are the ones who have a lot of questions; he grew up thinking he was going to be a school teacher because he enjoyed teaching others so much. In a sense, that’s a lot of what home inspections are about, so Reuben truly does what he loves. Reuben has an A.A. degree in liberal arts and has attended most of the Building Inspection Technology classes at North Hennepin Community College. Reuben and his wife are the proud parents of two young childen, Cy Alexander and Lucy Nicole, and have a German Shepherd named Stanley. With two young children Reuben doesn’t have much free time, but he still tries to play disc golf as often as possible during the summer. Reuben lives in Maple Grove, MN. Professional Qualifications / Memberships: *ASHI Certified Inspector *President, ASHI Heartland Chapter *Member, Minnesota Society of Housing Inspectors (MSHI) *Licensed Minneapolis Truth-in-Sale of Housing Evaluator *Licensed Saint Paul Truth-in-Sale of Housing Evaluator *Licensed Maplewood Truth-in-Sale of Housing Evaluator *Licensed Hopkins Truth-in-Housing Evaluator *Licensed Robbinsdale Point of Sale Evaluator *Affiliate Member, Southern Twin Cities Association of Realtors

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4 Comments

  • Reuben Saltzman 5 YEARS AGO

    Wow Tim, thanks for sharing! I've never heard of anything like this. I completely agree with your assessment of this new tactic for getting business. It makes me think of ambulance chasing.

  • Tim T. 5 YEARS AGO

    We have all heard of the Pre Sale Inspection right? But are you aware of the After Sale Inspection? Don’t feel bad, I just recently learned of it myself. I am a former home inspector, yes Old School, getting my start in the late 1970’s and working up until about 5 years ago. Now I am an instructor, charged with educating the next generation of home inspectors as well as providing the necessary continued education required to keep their license up. As I am sure most real estate agents already know, they are not highly thought of, the general population distrust them and have contempt for them. This contempt has spread to the new breed of home inspectors, who really seems to despise them. During a recent round table talk several inspectors all from the same franchise asked me what it would take to break the “Good Ole Boy” bond between real estate agents and inspectors. I pretended I did not follow their question, and they went on to say “come on, you know some agents have preferred home inspectors, they have em in their pockets”. I explained to them that the Real Estate industry is a very “personal” industry and that they would have to forge a bond with agents by earning their trust. This remark was met with sighs and laughter. That is when they told me about implementing the After Sale Inspection Company. As the story was relayed to me, Billy Bob (not real name) and his partners vested a lot of time and money in trying to gain inspection business from this one Broker’s Company which had close to 40 agents. Over the course of two years, they had joined their required preferred vendors list at a tune of $50.00 a month, they had performed no less than three free inspections for different agents, so they could evaluate the work, they spoke at two of their meetings providing the breakfast or lunch, and they also provided a discount on any inspections they would receive from this company…. They never received one paid inspections from them in a two year time frame and went on to say it would take 6 or 7 inspections just to break even. He also explained it wasn’t just this company, he felt that the vast majority of “them” worked the same way. So he and his partners, one of which was and still is a real estate agent, started following the listings in that particular companies territory. When a property sold, they would send the new owner a welcome package along with FREE AFTER SALE INSPECTION, to ensure they got what they bargained for. (I saw their welcome package and brochure, if I just purchased a home I would take them up on their offer) They then perform a detailed home inspection going step by step through the Standards of Practice, they leave nothing absolutely nothing to chance. They focus on areas that are often over looked as well as items they can easily “date” as existing damage and or pre sale existing damage. They will then sit down with the client and compare the two inspections reports, the one the home owners paid for and theirs. If there are obvious errors and omissions, they advise the new home owners to file a lawsuit naming everyone involved in the transaction. They then offer there services as an expert witness, this is how they get paid. Billy went on to say, he will request the attorney to subpoena other listing of those in questions to see if the same inspector or agent are involved. I for one am glad I am out of that part of this industry, society as a whole is more litigious than ever, people are so quick to sue and now you have people who know the industry and are members of the industry carving out a new niche by turning on those who should be thought of as allies. I don’t agree with their tactics but I understand their frustration. They are out to create a new demand for home inspectors and use their home inspectors license.