Pre-listing Home Inspections

Our guest blogger, Tom Sherman of Absolute Home Inspections, has inspected thousands of homes–maybe gazillions–since 1998. He was also President of CNY -ASHI, a chapter of ASHI National, from 2004-2008. A home inspection before listing paves the way for a smoother transaction, and gives the seller more control of the sales process.  

As the years pass and the market continues to increase, it still amazes me how few real estate agents and sellers are utilizing, what I believe to be, the best sales tool in the industry: the pre-listing inspection.

I certainly understand a seller’s initial reluctance to pay for an inspection on the house they are selling, especially if they have just paid for an inspection on the new house they are purchasing.

Here’s the typical scenario: You decide to sell your house.  You find a real estate agent you are comfortable with, and list your house.  You spend a couple of weeks going out to dinner every time a potential buyer wants to to take a look.  Then at long last, a buyer submits an offer.  Quite often you end up haggling over the price.  Finally, you come to an agreement, fill out mountains of paperwork, then you’re done, right?  Unfortunately, NO.  In marches the buyer’s inspector, and now there is a laundry list of items that the buyer wants repaired or replaced.

The truth is, you, as a seller, are not paying for an inspection for a potential buyer; you are paying for an inspection to protect yourself! This inspection, along with an honest disclosure sheet, will take everything found and listed off the negotiating table. When a potential buyer makes an offer on your property, they do so knowing full well what they are buying. Got a bad roof? They (and you) already know about it, and the buyer placed the offer with the understanding that the roof needs to be replaced.

How about this scenario: the buyer’s inspector calls out the lack of GFCIs. The buyer wants them installed.  Are you, as a seller, going to tear up the contract over $300?  Probably not, if you are eager to move forward.  Therefore, you pay for an electrician to install GFCIs. This is only one of many issues that can come up during a home inspection.

Lastly, be wary of wanting to bring in an inspector who will “be nice to your house” on a pre-listing inspection. I advise against paying upfront for an inspector to find these issues, only to be blindsided by the buyer’s inspection.  In that case, you have wasted your money.

The pre-listing inspection is a very effective sales tool that can save your hundreds, perhaps thousands, in post-contract renegotiations.

Tom Sherman can often been found under a porch, or crawling through attic insulation. He can be reached at 315-673-1755 or

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