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  Sell Your Home Faster & Smarter
With A "Pre-Inspection"
© 2002

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 important factors:

  • 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 them.
  • 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 correct.

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.

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