Understanding the importance of pre-listing inspections

Dear Home Inspector:

We just sold our house, but we are not happy. We had agreed upon a certain purchase price, but the offer was conditional on a home inspection, which the buyer arranged.

The inspection revealed a number of maintenance items that came as a complete

surprise to my wife and I, which then triggered a request from the buyer to reduce the purchase price further. We had no time to look into the actual cost of the repairs and were instantly back negotiating.

We reluctantly settled on a lower price. We were very disappointed and wish we could have known about these issues up front. We would have fixed them or made sure the items were clearly disclosed in the first negotiation. Do sellers ever order home inspections before they list or sell?

– Disappointed Seller

Dear Disappointed:

Unfortunately, your problem happens time and again, every day. As a home inspector I have a duty of care to my client, which is generally the buyer. I try very hard to ensure my client understands the deficiencies in the correct light, not under-reacting or over-reacting to a problem. Even so, sometimes the buyer decides to revisit the selling price.

Most home inspectors offer what is called a pre-listing inspection. My product is called a Seller’s Blueprint, which provides my professional, documented opinion about each construction component in your home. Those components include roofing, exterior finish, structure, foundation, walkways, heating and cooling, electrical, insulation, windows and doors, plumbing, finishing cosmetics and the main kitchen appliances.

This inspection doesn’t prevent buyers from ordering their own inspections, but I do my very best to make sure the seller knows what the buyer’s inspector is likely to uncover. You can fix some of the items in advance of listing or simply disclose the items during the first negotiation. Because buyers are becoming more savvy, it makes sense for sellers to be prepared.

Brad Stinson is an independent, licensed home inspector in the Calgary area. Call 403-993-6094 or visit blueprintinspection.com. If you have a question regarding home maintenance or an inspection submit it to Brad@blueprintinspection.com. If, in Brad’s opinion your question or concern would be of interest to readers, Brad may agree to answer it discretely in this column. Brad will also be hosting a free, public seminar Nov 22. For more information, check out CREB®Now’s events listings, titled Preparing for a Home Inspection.