In Pennsylvania like many other states a seller completes a seller disclosure form which is intended to help a buyer identify areas where there may be issues they need to inspect further or be aware of if they purchase this home.
If the buyer is likely to be doing a home inspection why would a seller also incur the cost of doing their own home inspection before listing their home for sale?
In the last couple of years the market has been so hot that many buyers have been waiving home inspections along with many other contingencies just to have an opportunity to have their offer considered. This has made it important for seller disclosures to be accurate as buyers can sue over things that have not been disclosed. Attorneys will always advise sellers to disclose, disclose, disclose! If in doubt disclose it.
Having a prelisting home inspection can do two things. It allows the seller to accurately complete the seller disclosure form and avoid a lawsuit at a later date. Secondly, if there are any items that need addressing they can be tackled before listing the house and this can also be disclosed to any buyers, giving them confidence that things have been taken care of correctly.
As the market corrects from a sellers market to a more balanced one, buyers are able to include inspection contingencies. If an item is discovered in a home inspection it generally will cost a seller more than if they had fixed an item beforehand. Why is this? Some things are simple fixes and can be fixed by the seller themselves. If something does need a professional, the seller has time to find a contractor and get estimates and select the one that they feel most comfortable with to do a good job.
When an item turns up on a home inspection, the buyer will generally ask for a credit for the highest amount it might take to fix the issue. Hence, getting it repaired before will save you money.
If you have only lived in a home for a short period of time, a prelisting home inspection may not be needed, but many people today stay in their homes for 10 to 15 years or longer in our area. These homeowners may not be aware of an issue even though they have lived in the house.
For example, I had a seller a little while back who had a septic system. Whilst he did a prelisting home inspection which identified several issues which he took care of, he assured me his septic system was working fine. Unfortunately, it was not, and the buyer conducted a septic inspection and the seller ended up having to pay for the home to be connected to the local sewer system as it was not possible to repair or replace the septic system. A very costly fix and time consuming as well. Luckily the buyers stayed with the purchase and everything worked out for all parties.
If you are thinking of listing your home for sale on the Main Line or Chester County contact me for a competitive market analysis, and we can discuss if a prelisting home inspection is worthwhile for you. Nick Vandekar, Selling the Main Line and Chester County with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., office 610-225-7400, cell or text 610-203-4543, or Nick@VandekarTeam.com. I give you the confidence to make the right decisions throughout the transaction.