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Pillar To Post provides an in-depth look at the role pre-sale inspections play in today’s competitive market

As the real estate market continues to ramp up, sellers are pulling out all the stops, doing everything they can to ensure their home hits the market with its best foot forward. While real estate professionals across the board can vouch for the importance of home staging, updating the interior and amping up curb appeal, there’s another crucial piece of the puzzle that can’t be overlooked in today’s competitive housing market: the pre-sale inspection.

“Not only are pre-sale inspections gaining in popularity, they also provide real value,” says Pillar To Post franchisee Chad Borah, regional director/home inspector in St. Louis, Mo. When it comes to the importance of pre-sale inspections among today’s sellers, Borah notes that there are a number of reasons why they shouldn’t be passed over when preparing for a home sale. “The number one reason why pre-sale inspections are so valuable is because they provide the seller with a level of awareness regarding the health and condition of the home prior to listing it for sale,” says Borah. In addition, pre-sale inspections can result in a faster sale by limiting the costs incurred by sellers when it comes time to sell.

And sellers aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits. In fact, real estate professionals themselves are leveraging the information gathered within the initial report that’s available once the inspection has been completed in order to set proper expectations with the seller regarding the fair market price of the home. “Pre-sale inspections also provide real estate professionals with the information they need to establish a realistic timeline for sale, as well as a chance to discuss with the seller items that need to be considered as part of the negotiation process, or those that need to be addressed in preparation for the sale.”

Adding to the value of pre-sale inspections, sellers can opt to use the results from the inspection as a marketing tool to paint a more complete picture of the home for prospective buyers, providing pertinent information that’s beneficial when it comes to comparing homes before making an offer. “Integrating pre-sale inspections into the marketing mix truly demonstrates the seller’s commitment to fully disclosing everything about the health and status of the house to buyers who may be interested in making an offer,” says Borah, who goes on to say that about one-quarter of the sellers who have pre-sale inspections completed within his market choose to use the report as an additional marketing tool.

“If we have a client who anticipates using the inspection to help market or list their home, we will partner with the agent to create a summary report that highlights the overall health, age and status of the major systems within the home.” While this service has been offered for quite some time and is believed in—and accepted by—the real estate community and professionals as a valuable tool, Borah notes that it’s typically a hard sell to prospective sellers, however, it’s beginning to become more accepted.

Whether it’s to speed up the selling process, gain awareness in regard to the health of the home or learn about what prospective buyers may expect as part of the negotiation process, Borah goes on to say that pre-sale inspections are approached in much the same way as typical home sale inspections. “Pre-sale inspections typically take slightly less time than an average home inspection because there is less time spent educating the client about the home since they have lived in the space.” Even though pre-sale inspections may not be as lengthy as typical home sale inspections, the home’s major systems, in addition to the structure and foundation, roof and attic, basement and crawl spaces, are visually inspected just as thoroughly.

It’s also important to note that preparing for a pre-sale inspection is slightly different than preparing for a home sale inspection. “Since the seller doesn’t have to be concerned about the prospective buyer’s perception of the home, preparation largely relates to what the inspector needs,” says Borah. Therefore, sellers should ensure that there’s minimal storage of items around basement walls where the foundation is exposed, in addition to making sure the inspector has easy access to the home’s major systems, as well as the attic. “Last but not least, sellers should be prepared to share their concerns regarding the home and potential sale with the inspector, because a vast majority of the time, these items are not worthy of concern and can quickly be dismissed or addressed.”

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