|Ask any experienced real estate agent and they will
tell you that, all things being equal, a home in good condition sells faster and at a
better price than a home that isn't. A fresh coat of paint, manicured lawn, new
carpeting, or an upgraded kitchen or bathroom are time tested improvements that bring in
buyers, agents and purchase offers.
However, there are often less glamorous improvements a home
seller must also address before closing the sale. In some
states, such as Florida, for example, a home seller is responsible for certain types of
repairs by contract.
According to Standard N. of the Florida Contract for Sale and
Purchase (commonly referred to as the FAR-BAR Contract because it was drafted by the
Florida Association of REALTORS® and the Florida Bar Association), the seller warrants
(promises) that the home does not have any visible evidence of leaks, water damage, or
structural damage, and that the various mechanical systems and appliances are in Working
Condition. Furthermore, under Standard W. of the same real estate contract, the
seller warrants to make a full disclosure of any known facts materially affecting the
value of the property.
With these important issues to master and overcome, prudent
sellers and listing real estate agents choose to sell smarter by hiring a professional
inspector before putting their home on the market. The many benefits of this
seemingly unorthodox practice are simple yet effective. By having a home
"Pre-Inspected" by a reliable home inspector prior to putting the home on the
market, a seller and listing agent can:
When buying an existing (previously-owned) home, it is
important to keep in mind that the condition of that home today depends largely on three
- Use the Pre-Inspection Report as a powerful and innovative marketing tool to attract
prospective buyers and fellow real estate agents to make an offer.
- Use the Pre-Inspection Report to help reduce the seller's and
listing agent's exposure to liabilities over challenging disclosure issues.
- Avoid unpleasant, last-minute surprises that might put doubt
in a buyer's mind or cause the real estate agent to lose credibility. Experience and
common sense show that buyers more readily accept a defect that has been
disclosed to them up front, and actually appreciate the seller or agent revealing it to
- Enable a seller to shop for the best price and quality from
contractors and suppliers. On the other hand, if a seller does decide against
repairing the home, the seller and listing agent are able to sit down and determine a more
realistic listing price that more accurately reflects the current condition of the home.
- Distinguish a serious seller from one who is merely fishing
the market. Listing agents can learn a lot about a prospective client by judging
their reaction to having a Pre-Inspection. This is why many agents ask their sellers
to sign a waiver documenting the fact that the seller is declining the agent's offer to
have a Pre-Inspection.
- And finally, Pre-Inspections can uncover a defect or safety
issue that immediately benefits the seller living in the home. Personally, I have
found that sellers are genuinely surprised by some of the findings of the inspection
report (even those with a new and "immaculate" home) and are truly thankful for
learning about a situation before it becomes potentially dangerous or overly expensive to
After all, one of the secrets to selling a home faster,
smarter and better is openly disclosing any known or suspected defects (including past
repairs) so that a seller can move on with his or her life without looking over their
shoulder after the sale is completed.