CAHPtalk – Benefits of A Pre-Sale Home Inspection

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CAHP (Consult a Home Pro) Talk is a new monthly column featuring the expertise of local home inspector and CAHP director Stan A. Garnet.

So, you think you’re ready to list your house? Do you know what’s going on in your home . . . between the walls?

Consider this scenario: A diligent potential buyer has an inspection. The inspector creates a list of defects. The buyer then analyzes them with his or her agent. Most likely, the first reaction will be a price reduction. So, they write an amendment to reduce the price: $10,000 for the roof to be replaced (when it may only need a repair), $15,000 for the rusty HVAC system to be replaced (when you know it can probably be replaced for half the price) and so on. Now you start negotiating to reduce the exchange of money and, if successful, preserve the sale for a lower price rather than lose it completely.

You can pre-empt this closing nightmare and the possible loss of money, time and the sale of the home by having a pre-sale inspection. By hiring a home inspector to do a pre-sale inspection before listing a home, a seller knows the condition of the home about to go on the market. Based on the inspection report, the seller has three options: repair, replace or disclose.

When a buyer signs a purchase-and-resale agreement on a home, the attached disclosure statement lists the existing defects. By accepting a disclosure statement as part of the contract, the buyer is also accepting the house in its stated condition.

This doesn’t mean a buyer can’t or won’t ask to have something repaired or replaced that’s on the disclosure statement, but it removes an item in question as a surprise, last-minute closing-table negotiation.

A pre-sale inspection gives you the option of making repairs within your time frame and budget. The value of repairs are doubled or tripled in the minds of buyers, and if you have to replace something or find someone in a hurry to make repairs, the costs go up.

In a soft real-estate market, sellers reluctantly list their homes at lower prices than perhaps a similar house was listed a year or two ago. A seller does not want to lower the price much more. In many cases, they really can’t afford to do so.

Choosing the right inspector is key to this pre-emptive action. Look for a detail-oriented trained professional willing to devote the time needed to provide a complete physical examination of your home. Also consider the report. A full narrative report outlining all current defects, both minor and major, will give you a much better picture of what needs to be done than a check mark on a list.

Dealing with problems or normal wear-and-tear issues at an early stage will give you peace of mind. People take their cars to mechanics regularly. Isn’t it reasonable to spend as much consideration and care for the largest and most expensive investment in your life?

Stan-Garnet

Stan A. Garnet ACI, ASHI, ICC, is an ASHI-certified home inspector and an IRC Residential Combination Inspector with his company, Inspectors Associates, Inc., in Atlanta. Stan is the director of www.ConsultAHomePro.com, director of education at the We Teach House™ Institute and the developer of the See Thru-House at the Atlanta Home Show. For more information visit www.INeedAnInspector.com or e-mail [email protected]

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