Question: I have heard that many people do a pre-inspection prior to putting their home on the market. Can you explain what this is and if you feel it is a benefit?
Answer: Many sellers do preform a complete “Home Inspection”, but not a majority. There are benefits…and consequences involved. The decision to do a “pre-marketing” home inspection should not be taken lightly. There are clear financial and legal arguments for and against.
The primary objective of doing a pre-marketing home inspection is to eliminate surprises. Nothing is more frustrating than long negotiations with buyers who really love your home, then finding a deal breaking problem. If the problem had been found earlier and addressed, you proceed to closing and everyone is happy. The inspection will cost about $400 and the repair was going to need to be fixed eventually anyway, so in this scenario all’s well.
But what if a problem is found that you were unaware of? Do you fix it if you have the money? Or ignore it and see if the buyer calls it out? That is a debate you can have with your agent and decide. What you must do, per Washington State Law, is disclose what you know. If a seller, or their agent, has knowledge of a “material defect” with the property, they must disclose it. If you don’t, you are exposing yourself to a lawsuit. An agent must tell buyers what they know about the condition of the property, regardless of whether the seller wants them to or not.
Most unknown problems are found where the normal homeowner does not go. Under the home into the “crawlspace” or in the roof/attic area are the two places most surprises occur. If you don’t want to disclose a potential problem, don’t find it! Home owners and agents are not required to uncover problems, just disclose what, if anything they know.