Home Inspections for Sellers
Are you thinking about selling your home? Have you been asking, should I have my house inspected before selling?
A seller inspection (often called a pre-listing inspection) informs you of any defects or problems with your home so that you can address them before prospective buyers discover them. You can then take the time you need to obtain reasonable repair estimates. One of the advantages to having a pre-listing inspection prior to selling your property is giving the homeowner the opportunity to see the house from an unbiased third party standpoint.
Advantages of a Pre-Listing Home Inspection
- Allows you to take control of the process of selling your home.
- Show prospective buyers that you are dealing in good faith.
- Demonstrates your willingness to go beyond what is expected and sets you apart from other sellers.
- Helps justify your full asking price.
- The inspection report can be a powerful marketing tool to help sell the home, both at an open house and online.
- With a pre-listing inspection, the facts are up front and there are seldom new issues or surprises before closing.
- You know what the negotiation points will be ahead of time. Deals are MUCH less likely to fall apart.
- May encourage a buyer to waive his own inspection contingency.
- Helps provide full-disclosure protection from future legal claims.
- Helps eliminate ‘buyer’s remorse’ that can occur after the buyer’s inspection.
Are there any drawbacks for having a Pre-Listing Inspection?
- Inspections are not inexpensive; However, the price is worth it for the benefits it offers. You can expect an inspection to cost anywhere from $450-1000 depending on the size of the house and what you need for any additional testing (radon testing, water testing, septic system evaluation, etc…). Some sellers do not have the funds and there are some situations where it just isn’t feasible.
- You have to disclose problems the inspection uncovers.
- This is the number one reason real estate agents discourage pre-listing home inspections. Re-read that last sentence. Now think about that for a minute! In other words, if your agent is suggesting you get a pre-listing inspection, your agent has your best interests in mind. If your real estate ‘professional’ is advising you not to get a pre-listing inspection for this reason, consider interviewing other agents.
- At last check, NH does not require sellers to disclose all known defects; However, real estate agents are required to disclose any known material defects to potential buyers (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 331-A:25-b). Ultimately, how would you feel if someone concealed problems from you if you were buying the house? Do the right thing and disclose any issues you know about. It helps protect you (and your agent) from future litigation.
What do I have to disclose in NH when selling my house?
- As a home seller, you are required to disclose in writing (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 477:4-d):
- Information with regard to the type of private water supply/system, including location, any malfunctions and/or problems with water quality (past or present), date of installation, and date of most recent water test.
- Information with regard to the private sewage disposal system, including location, malfunctions, date of most recent service, and the name of the company/contractor that services the system.
- Information about the insulation in the house, including type and location.
- Please note – we are NOT real estate attorneys – this is information taken directly from the State’s website referenced above and is included for your informational purposes only. PLEASE consult your real estate professional for additional information!
Do you want to know a Realtor’s thoughts on having a Pre-Listing Home Inspection? Check out our interview with Susanne Lynch.
10 Tips to Speed up your Home Inspections
- Confirm that the water, electrical and gas services are turned on.
- We are very pet friendly. However, pets should be removed from the premises or properly secured. Tell your agent about any pets that will be in the home during the inspection.
- Replace burned-out light bulbs to avoid a “light is inoperable” report that may suggest an electrical problem.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace old batteries.
- Clean or replace dirty HVAC air filters. They should fit securely.
- Remove stored items, debris and wood from the foundation. These may be cited as conducive conditions for termites or carpenter ants.
- Remove items blocking access to HVAC equipment, electrical service panels, water heater, attic and crawlspace.
- Unlock all areas that your home inspector must access, such as the attic door or hatch, the electrical service panel, the door to the basement, and any exterior gates.
- Trim tree limbs so that they’re at least 10 feet away from the roof. Trim any shrubs that are too close to the house (one foot minimum).
- Correct any broken or missing items, such as doorknobs, locks or latches, windowpanes or screens, gutters, downspouts, or chimney caps.