Home inspections are a normal step in the purchase of a home (buyers), but being proactive on the inspection can be a wise move when made by the sellers.
Why would a home seller want to have their own home inspection?
Even brand new homes have issues that home inspections will detect. An older home will have issues as well, and as a home seller you want to maintain positive control over the transaction.
Timing of Repairs
Addressing buyer requests in a timely fashion is a good faith effort to keep the transaction moving forward. Mortgage commitments don't last forever and locking in a low interest rate can cost money every week settlement is delayed. So even if you are committed to doing the work requested it may not be an easy task. Ever think your mechanic has taken advantage of you? Horror stories from contractors are all the more common.
Don't be naïve, qualified licensed, contractors are busy and some work requires permits (permits can take weeks to get). So a seller tasked with making repairs with a small window of time is hard, and more costly than people realize. If you can call someone and they can show up in a few days to make repairs, how good is the company? Better companies are weeks if not months out on taking on new jobs. Sure people can squeeze you in, but you are going to pay a premium for sure. Think you will be able to get three quotes? Good luck getting one.
Honesty is Refreshing
Picture this you are buying a home, and getting ready to make an offer. Seller provides you their recent home inspection which had 12 To Do Items, owner states they have done 5 but not all 12. There are receipts and invoices from contractors for the work. Do you sharpen your pencil on your offer after reading the inspection report? Maybe you see about getting costs for the 7 items that were not performed (This puts you weeks ahead of the game). Did I mention the sellers are not saying don't do your own inspection, they just wanted you to know what they knew. Honesty is refreshing and it prevents surprises.
To be fair any home inspection company will tell you that you have to prioritize the list of requested repairs, being thoughtful that at what point would you say the buying is being excessive (jerky, because you are not selling a new house).
We work for sellers all the time with environmental issues before they list a property for sale, because they want a fast transaction and want to limit surprises. We do tank sweeps for sellers to ensure no tank is present. Sellers also call us to remove long out of service oil tanks because they know that tanks will be an issue. Well a home inspection report with a To Do List, will also affect the sale.
Sale Falls out of contract
Every seller wants a buyer. Every buyer needs a seller. So buyers and sellers are a match made in heaven, until something goes wrong. Perhaps there is a serious defect or repair that is requested maybe its even needed to get a CO (Certificate of Occupancy) or a mortgage. The more expensive and longer the repair takes the transaction falls on shaky ground, buyers have options to back out of a deal, they may even find a better home. Your home looks worse the longer its on the market and any time it falls out of contract, people assume something is wrong if the home doesn't sell quickly. Buyers can also smell blood if your house sits on the market too long, expect buyers to make low ball offers thinking you are a desperate sellers. The buyer doesn't know that the contractor is 4 weeks out on parts and labor to fix what the buyers is requesting and then the buyer walked and the home looks worse now than if it was never under contract.
Control the flow of repair costs
Fact, a buyer's home inspection will find issues with your home and want some repairs completed. You will pay more on those repairs than if you had more time to get quotes and vet contracts to fix them.
Get a home inspection months before you list your home and make the repairs you believe are most pressing. Disclosure what you fixed and the items you did not and let buyers know you are pricing your home on this information. Honesty is refreshing. Trust me buyers are still going to refinish floors, replace rugs, change the paint color, but replacing a 20 year old Hot water heater, replacing missing gutters, repair rotted wood, likely not a repair they wanted to undertake.
Quick story, we do thousands of tank sweeps, and find many, many tanks. Invariably, when we find a tank the better part of 50% of the time, the owner admits they knew the tank was there and even have paperwork. The buyer's response, "What else are they not telling me?"
Buying a home the single biggest purchase, wouldn't you want to feel that the seller is being totally aboveboard with you?
Lets flip the coin, what would be the negatives of the seller completing a home inspection.
- Any seller that performs a home inspection is looking to find issues to either address or disclose. There is not much grey area here.
- Maybe the seller hired an incompetent home inspector, I mean it can happen, you also could hire a real hack. Being provided a home inspection report doesn't mean you have to rely upon it, but it's worth a read to see what was found. Hire your own inspector, let them read your report for feedback. Home inspectors are not like attorney, its a much smaller pool of people. Your inspector may know the other inspector, but no matter what you can have your expect review their experts report, in the industry its called a peer review.
- Maybe the report has some items that were not addressed and are deal breakers for you. Better to know that at the start rather than finding out after you do your own inspections.
- Maybe the report is old? I have seen people do their own home inspection a year ago and now the property is listed for sale. Well any number of things could have gone wrong in the last year so an updated report is fine. Do your own inspection.
We recently polled a group of home inspectors regarding was it a god or bad idea for the buyer to arrange all the different inspections on the same day? Slightly better than 50% of the group thought it was a good idea to have the inspections on the same day, because you can share information. The next question would you want to read an inspection report that the seller paid for, the overwhelming answer was yes. More information is better.
At Curren we don't do home inspections, but we do mold inspections, tank sweeps, tank testing and a number of other environmental related evaluations and testing.