Should you Hire a Home Inspector when Selling your Home?
At one time home inspectors were hired only at one point during the
sales process and that was after an offer had been made on the home and
the home inspector was retained by the buyer to insure that the home was in
good order before the conclusion of the sale. That has changed in the
last couple of years; however, as an increasing number of sellers have
begun to hire their own home inspector as a way of providing wary buyers
with one more incentive to consider their home out of the many that are
currently on the market.
There are certainly plenty of reasons to consider going ahead and hiring
a home inspector, particularly if your home has been on the market for
awhile and you still have not received any offers. Keep in mind that
although your disclosure statement gives buyers an idea of the home's
condition, it is only a reflection of what you personally know about the
home. If you are not aware of a problem in the home then you are not
able to report it on the home disclosure. Hiring a home inspector and
providing prospective buyers with a copy of the home inspection report
goes one step further toward providing buyers with full and complete
disclosure. This helps to establish confidence in any buyer that is
considering purchasing your home because they will know right away that
they are dealing with an honest and upfront seller, which can certainly
be a persuasive incentive given the number of home sellers that are
currently trying to sell their homes.
Second, taking the step of hiring a home inspector can actually reduce
the liability that you incur in the event that you do sale the home and
there are defects discovered in the property following the sale. If you
have provided an inspection report prior to the sale, the buyer will be
less likely to assert that you hid defects.
It is also easier for you to arrange the sale of your property as-is if
you have a home inspection performed on your own before you reach
escrow. Once you know the true condition of the home you will be able to
reach a fair price based on known conditions and possible repairs that
may be needed. Surprisingly, many buyers are actually more willing to
accept problems with a home if they know about them upfront rather than
if they find out about them as the end of the transaction nears. If you
wait until escrow for the buyers to find out about possible defects from
their own home inspection report, the chances of the buyer demanding
repairs or a lower sales price increases dramatically.
When you choose to have an inspection of the property performed in
advance you also gain the chance to take care of repairs that may be
needed for the home before you put it on the market. Based on the
inspection report, you will then be able to decide whether you want to
repair everything that is needed or just take care of a few issues and
then disclose the rest of the defects to the buyer. Either way, it gives
you more control of the situation.
The cost of a home inspection may vary according to the geographic where
you live, but will usually be a few hundred dollars. Although this is
certainly money that will need to be spent out of pocket on the part of
the seller, many view it as a sound investment that can assist them in
selling their home sooner rather than watching it languish on the
market. In addition, it is possible that presenting a home inspection
report to buyers prior to them making an offer on the home could result
in a higher offer than would be possible without the home inspection
report, particularly if the report shows no defects.
Homeowners who consider hiring a home inspector should make sure that
they hire only a licensed home inspector who has significant experience
in inspecting homes that are on the market to be sold. Doing so will
provide everyone involved with a healthy dose of confidence in the
accuracy of the final home inspection report.
While there is certainly nothing to say that a seller must hire a home
inspector in order to sell their home, there are definitely many
advantages associated with going ahead and biting the bullet to pay for
the home inspection report in advance.