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Should I get a Pre-Listing Home Inspection? 

  • 17 min read

100+

Benefits to entice you buyer

35%

Home Sellers get a Pre-listing

85%

Home buyers get an Inspection

2x-3x

Faster Listing and Sale

How a pre-listing home Inspection can greatly benefit current homeowner thinking of selling their house.

Dipping your toes into this roller coaster of a housing market these days can be a wild ride emotionally, and financially whether you are in the market to sell or buy a home. If you’re considering putting your home on the market, you may be wondering how to streamline the selling process, and maximize your property’s appraisal value. The first instinct many homeowners have is to paint everything a clean white or gray, take some well positioned pictures and hope for the best on website platforms like Zillow.com and Redfin.com. where your house becomes another click in an already saturated market. As a recent homebuyer herself in this outrageous 2020’s market, Jo knows how hard it can be to find the house that is right for you when most home buyers see only dollar signs $$$$. Buying a house across state lines during a global pandemic was quite a stressful months long challenge in 2022 for Jo and her wife, but selling their current house took a breezy 40 hours. After just one day on the market their home had four competing offers, most $15-$30,000 over asking price, because they spent the year before selling their house preparing it for the market by repairing and replacing all serious the observations found in their home inspection report. 

Is It TOO Much To Get a Pre-Listing Home Inspection?

A Pre-Listing Home Inspection is not too much if you want to have a confident listing, and a quick, smooth negotiation and closing process. Pre-Listing Inspections are especially beneficial to home owners just dipping into the idea of selling the house; those with some time available before market listing can best utilize the inspection report as a tool for what the house needs before listing on the market. In this blog post, Inspector Jo, will explain why a pre-listing home inspection is a smart move for homeowners who want confidence when selling their house. By understanding the benefits of a pre-listing inspection, you can gain a competitive edge in the market and increase your chances of a successful sale at or above the price that you want for your house. 

1. Identify and Address Issues in Advance

One of the significant advantages of a pre-listing home inspection is the opportunity to identify and address any potential issues before listing your property. By hiring a professional home inspector, like Inspector Jo early on, you can discover hidden problems that may affect the sale or negotiation process, like an older obsolete electrical service, or clogged and corroded original steel plumbing. This gives you the chance to fix or disclose these issues upfront, ensuring a smoother transaction and avoiding last-minute surprises that could delay or jeopardize the sale. 

Think of the pre-sale inspection as a guide or tool for home owners to quickly discover what important updates are needs, and what minor, low cost repairs and improvements that can be completed before listing. After receiving a pre-sale inspection homeowners can use the helpful repair cost estimation tool provided on all of Inspector Jo’s inspection reports*, as well as the detailed summary narratives to decide which areas of the home are in the greatest need for repairs before selling, and which items are more cosmetic and less necessary. For example: 

1. Updating all the old two-prong or painted over receptacle outlets, especially to GFCI’s where required, is a small expense that communicates to the seller that the homeowner cares about safety, and that may potentially save the future buyer from needing to hire an electrician to update and/or evaluate the electrical system. 

2. Having the exterior trim, fascia, window caulk/sealant seams and siding repaired and/or painted (if appropriate) is a quick and less expensive way of not only improving the “curb appear” on the home, but will help with the overall water and vapor permeability and extend the lifetime of the homes exterior.   

2. Boost Buyer Confidence with an Honest Listing

  
Home buyers are often aware that they are buying a property that is not a perfect or “turn key” property thats why almost 85% of home buyers* opt to get a pre-sale home inspection. Buyers often expect some things in the home will need updating or replacing, but they also want to feel like they are not “biting off more than they can chew” with a property financially or in terms or immediately needed repairs. When potential buyers see that you have already conducted a pre-listing home inspection, it instills confidence in the property. By hiring a pre-listing inspection, you the homeowner are among the 35% of current home owners who choose get their property evaluated and inspected before entering the market. This demonstrates a proactive approach to homeownership and home maintenance and expresses trust and transparency as a seller. These small considerations like a pre-lisiting inspection can give buyers peace of mind that the property has been thoroughly examined at that no major issues or hidden or omitted. Obviously, most home buyers are going to opt to get their own pre-sale inspection as well, but a positive pre-listing inspection report can help alleviate buyer concerns and may even lead to quicker and more favorable offers because potential buyers can factor known needed repairs in their bid pricing. 

Home buyers will feel increased peace of mind in purchasing your property when their re-sale home inspector notes all of the signs of quality regular maintenance, or recent repairs your property has after following the recommendations in your pre-listing inspection report; instead of an inspector that has to point out all of the deferred maintenance and/or signs of home neglect. Nothing scares homebuyers away or cancels more deals than to hear their home inspector say “I bet that is there to hide something from me” …. (except maybe mentioning mice Lol). 

Homebuyers wont overhear:

“…I bet that’s there to hide something from me….”

Buyer’s Home Inspector

3. Accurate Pricing

“If you don’t price your home in a way that properly reflects its condition, you may have a hard time attracting buyers. And you run the risk of accepting an offer only to have the buyer’s inspector find hidden problems that lead them to cancel the contract completely. ” – Zillow.com

Accurately pricing your home for its debut in the housing market is an essential tool for fast, at or above list price home sales. A pre-listing home inspection can provide you with a clear understanding of your property’s condition, allowing you to set a fair and accurate listing price. Armed with the knowledge of any necessary repairs or maintenance, you can price your home accordingly, avoiding overpricing or undervaluing your property. This strategic approach can attract serious buyers and lead to a more efficient negotiation process.

You may have noticed in your own online home sale searches that many properties may go in and out of the bid contract/inspection stage multiple times throughout the year before a property is finally purchased. Often this is a consequence of a seller wanting too high of an asking price for a property’s condition, or the home inspection discovers something structural and/or expensive to repair affecting the pricing and salvageability of the property. When you list your property as passed and inspected by Inspector Jo Home Inspections, you are offering the buyer confidence in your property and assuring less stress, headaches and hiccups for you and any future buyer during the selling process. 

4. Negotiation Power

By proactively addressing any issues identified in the pre-listing inspection report, you can enter negotiations with a stronger position. Having documentation of repairs or disclosures can give you leverage during the negotiation process, helping to justify your asking price. It can also lead to smoother negotiations, as potential buyers will have a comprehensive understanding of the property’s condition upfront. For example: If your pre-sale report reflects the need for an electrical service panel upgrade – common in homes pre-1980s, you can choose to list without repairing and factor the need for a new electrical service into your listing price. When you make it clear that repair costs are factored in upon receiving the initial offer, buyers are less likely to come back and try and get you to lower the price further.

Home Inspections don’t only report on the negatives of a homes condition, Inspector Jo’s reports are also a great opportunity to promote what’s unique and great about your home. Pre-sale inspections also highlight any good news and regular home maintenance, like a furnace has plenty of good years of service left or a recently scoped sewer that is in great condition. By choosing to make the results of your pre-sale inspection available to potential buyers, you can promote these great quality aspects of your home in your market listing, and use the documentation to boost your bargaining power.

5. Faster and Smooth Transaction

A pre-listing inspection can significantly expedite the overall selling process. By resolving issues beforehand and presenting a detailed inspection report to potential buyers, you can streamline the transaction getting your home on and off the market quickly. 

Homebuyers are more likely to feel confident about moving forward with the purchase, knowing that the property has already undergone a thorough inspection. Since many of the needed repairs can either be addressed before listing, or disclosed in the listing, the owners/sellers are more likely to get multiple quality offers quickly, allowing them to have choice in which offer best suits their needs, timeline, or budget.  This can result in a faster closing timeline, reducing stress and saving you time and money. 

The number of homes For-Sale in the Chicago area has drop dramatically in 2023
The longer your property is listed on the market, your sale price lowers
2020’s housing market trends meant houses went on the market and sold fast, trends are starting to settle backdown.

So, what’s the catch?

For the Buyer: All Positives

For the potential buyer of your home there really is no catch to offering to disclose a recent home inspection. Think of the confidence you would feel purchasing a car from a dealership that offers a full clean mechanic’s report of the vehicle, before you even test drive it! A pre-sale home inspection report gives a similar powerful confidence to your home’s future owner. When they choose to bid on or purchase your house, they will know that the previous homeowner valued the integrity and longevity of the property. Hiring a quality inspector like Inspector Jo to do your pre-sale inspection showcases how much you, as the homeowner, took every step you could to repair, or disclose issues with the home, knowing regardless it still held so much value. Instead of adding a layer of paint just to shine things up for the sale you, the responsible homeowner, hired an inspector allowing the new owner to know exactly what character, and secrets the house may hold allowing them to look at the whole picture of the property by being informed of anticipated costs and repairs. 

Price Estimation in Reports

For the Homeowner: Mostly Positives – tips for maximum use

If you are a homeowner who is looking to sell their house because they realized they “bit off more than they can chew” in needed repairs, or that financially may need to expect to receive offers at the highest possible price; a pre-sale home inspection could come at some unanticipated risks. A home inspection report is a legal document, just like building permits for repairs or construction on your property; recent home inspection reports can be retrieved by diligent buyer’s agents and requested for disclosure. This is why we recommend disclosing the pre-sale inspection as part of the listing for full transparency. As Inspector Jo has mentioned throughout, a pre-sale inspection is about honest disclosure of your home’s current condition, whether thats a major issue or minor concerns that knowledge is invaluable for the current homeowner and any future buyers, as many major defects can be life threatening or hazardous to resident’s health.

There can be occasions when the pre-sale inspection reveals major structural or biological issues that the current home owner is unaware of like: a recently split rafter beam, an unknown foundational crack, a potentially recent presence of termites, or a hazardous biological growth. Some of the most common issues that are raise in a home inspection are roofing defects, plumbing and drainage concerns, electrical or foundation issues; evidence termites or other pests; mold or water damage; window or door problems; chimney damage; and the possible presence of asbestos and lead paint. What may be considered a “major issue” by one buyer or buyer’s insurance/or mortgage company may seem minor to another prospective buyer so disclosing these conditions upfront can help more appropriate buyers for your property find your listing.

From the Inspectors perspective an inspection that finds a major structural or safety issues is a WIN!! Because Jo was able to discover a potential safety hazard that was previously unknown to the owner/resident. Now that the issue is known, it can be addressed and repaired. However, from the owner and hopeful sellers perspective, a pre-sale inspection that finds major costly issues can, in some cases, equate to a loss of expected income from the future sale. As much as it is good to have that knowledge before you put your home on the market at an overvalued price, the knowledge of expensive needed repairs can be a hard message for a client to hear when reading over their pre-sale inspection report. Maybe the current mortgage payments are tight and your household cannot afford to repair the discovered major inspection issue before putting the home on the market. In the state of Illinois, you as the seller, will have to disclose any known issues on the property, and the inspection report can be a “provider” of that knowledge whether you manage to read the whole document or not 😉  If the inspection report finds an expensive ‘major issue’ the final sale price of the home may have to reflect the known costs of repairing those defects, potentially reducing your overall expected profits on the sale. 

For conclusion,

Never forget, dear potential home seller, the speed at which the winds change in Chicago. As the real estate market ebbs and flows, some Agents and Prospective Homebuyers are only looking at buying or selling ‘as-is’ properties in the market. ‘As-is’ properties allow homebuyers with some home renovation or industry knowledge to purchase quality homes with defects or repairs that may otherwise devalue the property or scare away home buyers who need a house without the upfront costs of major renovations.

In such a case as above where the pre-sale inspection report finds a major issue that may affect the pricing of the property. You, the homeowner, could alternatively list the property ‘as-is’ with known major defects at a your desired price (a common practice in the Chicago area), and openly disclose the pre-sale inspection report. This would allow any prospective buyer to hire their own home inspector and provide a ‘second opinion’. With two professional reports confirming the current condition of the property, the future buyer can feel more comfortable purchasing the house “as – is” with informed knowledge on future repairs and costs. 

Additionally, many home buyers are foregoing the home inspection in hopes of sweetening the deal or speeding up the home buying process. Although, this is fantastic as a seller, its not in anyone’s best interest to sell or buy and unsafe house that people may potentially live in. Having a home listed a passing pre-lising inspection could be a great way to speed up your selling process here in the Chicago area, as home buyers in the situations that choose to forego a pre-purchase home inspection to save time or money can buy a house without a pre-purchase inspection were they at least have some knowledge of the current condition, making choosing your home over others the safer option to bid on.

Confident Homeowners Should Get a Pre-sale Home Inspection!

If you’re planning to sell your home, a pre-listing home inspection is a valuable investment. It allows you to identify and address any issues in advance, boost buyer confidence, accurately price your property, gain negotiation power, and facilitate a smoother and faster transaction. As a homeowner and member of the growing real estate industry, Inspector Jo, highly recommends considering a pre-listing home inspection to maximize your chances of a quick successful sale. 

With a large and ever growing list of partnering and trusted trades companies in the area to help you complete your needed home repairs, as well as a customer oriented mind let Inspector Jo help you best prepare your home for its eventual debut to the housing market. 

Contact Inspector Jo

Schedule an Inspection

To learn more about the benefits of a home inspection from the perspective of a current homeowner, buyer or seller find us at our website inspectorjo.com. Schedule today for an honest, informative and property centered approach to home inspections in the Chicago area and surrounding suburbs.

Contact Inspector Jo Today

to schedule your pre-listing home inspection in the Chicago area.

We’re here to help you showcase the true value of your home and make the selling process a breeze.

***Inspection statistics and many of the graphic images provided about the Chicago housing market were pulled from Zillow.com