By Rob Parker, Special to QMI Agency
With the spring real estate market almost here, anyone considering selling their home should consider having a pre-listing inspection performed by a qualified home inspector. Why? Often minor deficiencies, which, if left undone may have a negative influence on the buyer’s decision to place an offer, can be fixed or corrected. Also, it eliminates delays caused by waiting for a buyer to do the home inspection.
On the down side, discovery of major deficiencies, of which the owner previously was not aware, may be difficult for the owner to accept, but having this knowledge ahead of the sale will allow the owner to either correct the problems or be prepared to negotiate.
Advantages to the seller obtaining a home inspection:
The seller can choose a fully qualified inspector rather than be at the mercy of the buyer’s choice of inspector.
The seller can schedule the inspections at the seller’s convenience.
The seller can assist the inspector during the inspection, by providing information regarding repairs and other conditions, something normally not done during a buyer’s inspection.
The report can help the seller realistically price the home, if problems exist.
The report can help the seller substantiate a higher asking price if problems don’t exist or have been corrected.
A seller’s inspection reveals problems ahead of time which gives the seller time to make repairs and shop for competitive contractors.
The report might alert the seller to any immediate safety issues found, before agents and visitors tour the home.
The report provides a third-party, unbiased opinion to offer to potential buyers.
The seller’s inspection report can be used as a marketing tool.
The report might relieve a prospective buyer’s unfounded suspicions, before they walk away.
The report might encourage the buyer to waive the inspection contingency.
The deal is less likely to fall apart the way they often do when a buyer’s inspection unexpectedly reveals a problem.
Advantages to the real estate agent:
Sellers can schedule the inspections at seller’s convenience with little effort on the part of agents.
Reports help sellers see their homes through the eyes of a critical, third-party, thus making sellers more realistic about asking price.
Agents are alerted to any immediate safety issues found, before other agents and potential buyers tour the home.
Repairs made ahead of time might make homes show better.
The reports provide third-party, unbiased opinions to offer to potential buyers.
Seller inspections eliminate buyer’s remorse that sometimes occurs just after an inspection.
Seller inspections reduce the need for negotiations and 11th-hour renegotiations.
Seller inspections relieve the agent of having to hurriedly procure repair estimates or schedule repairs.
Advantages to the home buyer:
The inspection is done already.
The inspection is paid for by the seller.
The report provides a more accurate, third-party view of the condition of the home prior to making an offer.
A seller inspection eliminates surprise defects.
Problems are corrected or at least acknowledged prior to making an offer on the home.
The report might assist in acquiring financing.
Anyone buying or selling a home today needs to understand the importance of having a home inspection performed by a qualified home inspector and not by someone just claiming to be one or by price.
A qualified home inspector must meet certain education, experience and professional development standards each year in order to maintain their membership with a professional organization.
Just because someone is a licensed engineer or other trades person, doesn’t mean they meet the requirements to be considered a qualified home inspector. You should review the following websites for the requirements for membership as well as a listing of registered members:
Even a fully a qualified inspector can make a mistake, and this is why you should also hire a home inspector who carries errors and omissions (E and O) insurance. The cost of the inspection should be the last question asked, but it’s usually one of the first. No one wants to pay more than they have to but, beware, those offering to do the inspection for free or some ridiculously low amount, are usually lacking in one or more of the above requirements and like everything else in life, you get what you pay for.
Rob Parker is Registered Home Inspector (RHI) with the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors (OAHI) serving London and surrounding areas, and also a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and a Certified Master Inspector (CMI)