Advice – Should You Get Home Pre-Inspected?

pre-listing home inspection is a home inspection that is performed by the current owner before they list their property. Essentially, a Seller hires and pays for a professional home inspector (approx $300 - $400 for a 2-3 hour inspection) to provide a written report of the condition of their house (inside and outside) and then makes the report available to potential Buyers.

We believe that pre-listing home inspections can be beneficial to getting top dollar for your house in Wisconsin. Here’s why a pre-listing home inspection can be a good idea:

1. Knowing what’s wrong with your house before you list it gives you the opportunity to fix it so it doesn’t become an issue for potential buyers.

Home Buyers (especially first-timers) can be easily alarmed by minor issues like reversed polarity of electrical receptacles, leaky faucets, downspouts that haven’t been disconnected and double taps on your electrical panel. These are super easy (and cheap) things to correct and will go a long way to giving potential Buyers peace of mind. As a Seller, there’s nothing worse than when a Buyer backs out of an offer because of a list of easy maintenance fixes. Not only do you have to start the sale process over, you have to convince every future potential Buyer that your sale fell apart for minor reasons.

2. You can’t accurately price your house unless you know what’s going on deep inside. 

If your house needs $10,000 in flatwork and a $12,000 roof, you need to account for that in the price. It’s never fun to have a potential Buyer educate you about your own house during a negotiation – and that’ll cost you money.

3. Avoid price re-negotiations post home inspections.

If your Buyer’s offer was contingent on a home inspection, and it uncovers something they didn’t know about, many Buyers will try to re-negotiate their offer value. Negotiating the replacement of an old roof after you’ve accepted an offer after they've seen your negotiation cards can likely result in a lower price than if you’d accounted for. You can’t hide from your house – people will uncover the truth eventually.  By knowing the condition of your house BEFORE you list it, you’ll be able to take into account any fixes that need to be performed in the asking price.

4. Disclose, disclose, disclose.

As a homeowner in Wisconsin, proper disclosure can require you to make Buyers aware about things that could have a significant adverse effect on the value of the property; that would significantly impair the health or safety of a future occupant; or could significantly shorten or adversely affect the expected normal life of the premises.  Click here to read about disclosures. A pre-list home inspection gives you all the information you need disclose. It might also help prove what you did and didn’t know in a future lawsuit.

5. Encourage multiple offers.

If you’re looking to generate multiple offers (ie a bidding war), you want to give potential Buyers as much comfort as possible.  It can be best to get offers with as few (or no) conditions as possible. If people consider $300-$400 each before they sit down to write an offerto you may get fewer 'clean' offers. Fewer offers can mean a lower net selling price. Having a pre-listing home inspection available to would-be Buyers (performed by a reputable home inspection company of course) can gives Buyers enough comfort to put in a possibly better offer.

If you’re considering selling your Wisconsin condo or house this spring, we’d be happy to discuss the pros and cons of getting a pre-listing home inspection performed.  Note: Our opinion can vary depending on a home vs. a condo, and even one condo association from another.  We can discuss this during our pre-listing conversations.

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