ABC's of Selling Florida Real Estate
Professional Home Inspections
Not Just for Buyers
If you buy a home without a professional inspection, you're assuming an unnecessary risk. But home sellers can also benefit by having a professional home inspection.
One Sarasota real estate agent says, "If you're a seller, your first reaction might be "Why? I don't want an inspector to uncover a hidden problem that will cost me thousands to repair." Or, the seller will say something like, "Then, I'll have to disclose the problem and reduce my asking price down to compensate the buyer for the needed repair."
Well, actually, there's a good reason why as a home seller can be well served by a professionally conducted home inspection before you put the property on the market. Why? Because if a professional inspector seconds your opinion that your home is in good condition structurally and is in full compliance with local codes, you have an great marketing tool that will help your Realtor sell your home more quickly for the highest possible price.
A clean pre-inspection report by a reputable professional gives validity to your asking price. It also gives your prospective buyers a measure of confidence about your home versus others they may be considering.
Any serious buyer is likely to demand a professional inspection as a contingency to an offer they make on your home. You can assume that any intelligent Realtor acting in the role of the Buyer's Agent, will strongly recommend a professional inspection, so its not as though you can get through this transaction without an inspection.
Your pre-sale inspection report shows the buyer that you're serious and that you're so confident in the structural integrity of your home that you paid to have it inspected and it either passed or you made the necessary repairs on your own.
Your Listing Agent Realtor will undoubtedly advise you of any visible or cosmetic improvements that will help your home sell more quickly or at a higher price, like a fresh coat of paint, more neutral colors, removing excess furniture to make rooms appear bigger, fresh landscaping, and replacing aged appliances. But your Realtor can't see the less obvious problems like small roof leaks, water damage in the attic, or electrical or code violation problems.
A professional Realtor will counsel you that it is your responsibility to report any problems of which you are aware under the terms of the sellers' disclosure laws in your state. But if a problem is behind a wall or in the foundation, even if you're unaware of it, the buyer may come to you months later, with your seller's property disclosure in hand, demanding to be compensated for the cost of repairs.
Let's say the buyer did just that -- but you had protected yourself by having a home inspection before you placed your house on the market. And, your inspection, performed by a competent professional, uncovered some problems which you dutifully repaired. But, if it did not uncover the problem your buyer is complaining about, you may not be held responsible. You made an honest effort to uncover defects, you repaired those that showed up and properly disclosed everything you knew about. That old caveat "Let the buyer beware" clause may be a legitimate defense.
Having your home for sale pre-inspected can not only prevent
any problems from occurring at the "11th hour" just before closing, it can also be a great selling tool and
an extra measure of protection for you after the sale. Think of it as "an inexpensive insurance
policy" for a smooth home selling experience.