You’ve been thinking about it for a while now and it’s finally time to take action: you’re putting your house up for sale. You clean it through and through, paint the living room and have an asking price in mind. But suddenly a doubt arises: do you know your house as well as you think you do? What if the buyer’s inspector discovered defects that force you to negotiate? Read our article and see how pre-sale inspections are useful for you and your prospective buyer.
First, let’s demystify the terminology: the term pre-sale inspection (click here to read our article on the subject) regards an inspection made in the context of a real estate transaction for which the home inspector is hired by the seller. As its name indicates, this inspection occurs before the house is placed on the market. The so-called pre-purchase inspection (click here) is done once the bid submitted by the prospective buyer is accepted by the seller. The client of the inspector is then the buyer.
But whether his services are retained by the buyer or the seller, the mission of the building inspector does not change: identify the signs of any latent defects and the apparent defects likely to affect the use of the building, its value or pose a risk to the safety of the occupants. Be it in the context of a pre-sale or pre-purchase inspection, he will inspect all the accessible elements such as the exterior cladding, roofing, gutters, electrical panel, visible piping, the visible part of the foundation, signs of mold or dark stain that may indicate water infiltration and so on.
“The important thing for anyone wanting to buy a house is to visit the house and exercise caution and diligence. For this reason, he can very well rely on the report emitted by an inspection firm selected by the seller, “confirms Martine Lord of Therrien Couture Lawyers. “It is assumed that everyone is in good faith and doing their job well. Regardless of who has retained his services, the inspector is responsible for his findings and mistakes.” So the inspector has to be objective in his inspection and report, no matter who the client is. Signs of water infiltration remain the same whether the inspector was hired by the seller or the buyer.
Since the inspector is responsible for his actions, the vendor must ensure that the qualified professional has the skills to do the job and full professional liability insurance. As for the buyer, nothing prevents him from retaining the services of his own inspector, but he would also be exercising caution and diligence by carefully consulting the report produced for the seller and verifying the inspector’s skills and insurability. If in doubt, he can and should then retain the services of his own inspector.
So what are the advantages for the seller to have his house inspected before putting it on sale? First, with the inspection report in hand, the vendor can perform useful work to address some problematic situations. Otherwise, he may decide not to do the renovations and rather declare the few defects detected during the inspection. The price will then take these issues into consideration. This demonstrates the seriousness of the seller, his transparency and reassures the potential buyers all the while minimizing the risks of seeing the real estate transaction fall through.
Then, a seller can avoid legal complications by having a pre-sale inspection report to submit to prospective buyers. In a real estate transaction, everything you say can NOT be held against you, quite the contrary. The more we lay cards on the table when selling a house and the less legal action against us will be possible in the future.
Also, let’s not lose sight that buyers are becoming more and more savvy and that a simple “home staging” is no longer sufficient to amaze them: the house must be good, not only beautiful. Plus, in a market flooded with offers of homes of all shapes, sizes and colors, a pre-sale inspection allows sellers to stand out. How? Imagine putting your home on the market, a single family home like so many others, but yours is the only one in your area with the mention “pre-inspected house: report available.” This will probably attract you more attention because your home will stand out and reassure potential buyers.
All things considered, a pre-sale inspection is truly to the benefit of all participants involved in a real estate transaction: it allows a reduction in stress and the risks of future legal action, provides increased confidence and savings for sellers and solicits less back and forth travels for real estate brokers.