A seller’s inspection (AKA “pre-listing inspection”) is similar to a buyer’s inspection, but of course the client is the person selling the home, not the person buying it (also see this article from Homelight.com). Sellers may choose to make the inspection report available for potential buyers to see, or they may keep it private. In either case, this is a smart way for sellers to learn what will be found when their buyers have an inspection performed, and will give them a head-start in better preparing/repairing the home, instead of being surprised by a litany of repair recommendations and unexpected problems. I’ve heard of several sellers who have been caught off-guard by findings from my inspections. Some have even hired me at a later time when they became a buyer.
If the seller chooses to make the inspection report a public document, this can make the home a more attractive property for potential buyers by giving them better peace of mind about a property before even writing an offer on it. Besides added peace of mind for buyers, having a seller’s inspection will make the negotiation process much easier for all parties involved.
Here are two potential scenarios:
NO SELLER’S INSPECTION
A buyer writes an offer on a home, the offer is accepted, and the purchase is contingent upon an inspection. The inspection is performed three days later, and several issues are identified. Assuming the buyers still want the house after discovering all these things they didn’t know about the home, they now ask the seller to fix the items. Several things can happen at this point – the seller might offer to discount the price of the home, rush to do the repairs, or even refuse to do anything, which might kill the deal. None of these options are ideal for the seller, and negotiations will need to take place.
SELLER HAS HOME INSPECTED BEFORE LISTING
The inspector identifies several issues with the home and the seller takes their leisurely time in getting the items corrected or repaired. They confidently list their home, and look forward to the buyer’s home inspection, knowing that nothing is going to come up that they didn’t already know about. If there are items that the seller decides not to fix, they might just list those items on a disclosure form, so any potential buyer knows that this is what they are buying, and there are no negotiations later on in the buying process.
Seller inspections are becoming more and more popular. Some real estate agents (but not enough!) have inspections for every house they list for sale because it makes the selling process go so much smoother for all parties involved.
Make sure you hire an excellent home inspector. A home inspector who misses or glosses over problems may do more harm than good. See the What to Expect page for details.