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Today’s “Ask the Expert” column features Don Haschert, Owner of Pillar To Post Home Inspection in Harrisburg, Pa.

Q: Why are pre-listing home inspections helpful in today’s competitive market?

A: You stand to earn a return far closer to your initial asking price. When a buyer invariably performs his or her own inspection, should he or she find undisclosed flaws, you stand to lose more money off your initial asking price than you might assume. In fact, for every flaw a buyer finds in a home that would cost $1,000 to fix, you stand to lose $3,000 – $5,000 off of your asking price. In truth, the average buyer doesn’t really know what it would cost to fix a given issue, yet flaws that are not made apparent to a buyer before their own inspection is performed are seen as far more egregious than those disclosed beforehand, even if you bring an issue to their attention and make known that you won’t fix it.

You become the most knowledgeable person about your listing. It may seem self-evident, but a pre-listing home inspection report will make you the most educated person on a listing. Yet, sellers often fail to see the value of being completely aware of a home’s condition before trying to sell it. While a seller might be legitimately ignorant of a home’s flaws, that ignorance is no excuse to initiate the selling process blind to a home’s condition. By having a pre-listing inspection performed, you can be the authority on your property, conveying both credibility and expertise to a buyer.

You gain considerable leverage in the negotiating process. Beyond connoting competence and professionalism, by having a pre-listing home inspection performed before placing your property on the market, you also stand to gain considerable leverage once the negotiating process begins. With Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, for example, you are given a full report on the condition of the property, leaving you to determine which changes are worth fixing on your own, and which are better left to the future owners. Many changes that need to be made are inexpensive, affording a seller the opportunity to nip them in the bud before they can become known to others. If you find some issues that would cost more to fix than you care to spend, you can get your own direct quote from a respected home repair professional. You can then pass these quotes onto a prospective buyer, saving them time by giving them an accurate upfront assessment of their potential costs.

Leaving a hard copy of a completed summary that includes pictures sitting on the table at an open house is also a big help—a gesture that goes far in the eye of the buyer.

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