Should I Get a Pre-list Inspection Before Selling My Home? 

 January 28, 2021

By Scott Teesdale  

minutes read time

We try to avoid getting too opinionated here but for this topic, we strongly advocate doing a prelist inspection as a step in your home selling preparation. In this post, we explain why.

A prelist inspection identifies issues before any buyer gets an opportunity to view the home, inspect it, or begin to negotiate. It gives the seller an opportunity to implement fixes and repairs so they can get the most value from their home. During the home buying process anyway, so why not skip the back and forth negotiation with the buyer and protect yourself by getting a pre-list inspection before the buyer starts asking for money back from their offer. 

We know what you’re thinking. Prelist inspections are expensive and time consuming! But do not worry, there are many different types, there are different types of prelist inspections that a homeowner can look into, including a personal and professional inspection. We’ll explain the options of getting one or the other or performing both to ensure the most effective inspection possible before selling a home. 

DIY vs. professional vs. both

If a homeowner knows what to look for, they can perform a personal inspection of their home to find any potential issues and create a plan for repairs or remodeling. However, in almost all situations, it is best to have a professional prelist inspection to ensure every aspect of the home is looked at in a concise manner. A professional provides homeowners with additional information they may not know of so they can make the proper fixes before selling the home. Here are a few things to know about doing a DIY inspection, a professional inspection, and both.

  • DIY Inspection: A DIY inspection comes with numerous pros, and really only one con that must be addressed. First, homeowners can analyze some of the parts of their home where problems may arise, and if they’re clear to see, they can plan for the repairs necessary. The biggest con for a DIY inspection is the chance of missing something that may be more in-depth, such as structural issues or electrical wiring problems that a homeowner may miss on their own.
  • Professional Inspection: A professional inspection will cover all aspects of a home. A professional can identify any and all problems or defects that may exist and recommend the proper steps for fixing them. There is only one real downside of hiring a professional to perform an inspection: the cost. However, it may cost a homeowner a lot more if they don’t hire a professional and encounter a serious problem when selling the home.
  • Performing Both: The best option for homeowners is to perform a personal and professional inspection. The homeowner can identify cosmetic and obvious issues, while the professional can perform a more in-depth inspection to ensure all aspects are covered. Having both inspections performed can protect the homeowner from running into a problem when the buyer’s inspection is in play. 

While many homeowners may be concerned about paying for a professional inspection, doing so helps the homeowner maximize their home value. Knowing what to expect with a professional and personal inspection can give homeowners peace of mind moving forward in the process.

What to expect from a professional prelist inspection?

Working with a professional is a process that benefits sellers thoroughly, especially when working with an inspector who has experience spanning numerous years and multiple inspections in a given year. When hiring a professional inspector, one of the most critical factors to look at is the motive of the inspector. Some will claim to be inspectors only, but they offer services to repair or fix the problem after completing the inspection. Professional inspectors are not allowed to perform repairs on houses they have inspected. 

When working with a professional inspector, here’s what a homeowner should expect: 

  • The inspector should have an insurance plan for errors and omissions and provide the homeowner with a copy of the policy.
  • The inspector will look at the home for roughly 2 to 5 hours, depending on the home’s size.
  • The inspector will list any and all defects that exist within the home that need to be repaired, providing the homeowner with an oral and written copy of the inspection list.

Once the homeowner has a list of everything that needs to be done to fix the home and maximize the value, they can begin shopping for a contractor to help aid in the repairs.

What to expect from a personal DIY prelist inspection?

Before a homeowner proceeds with a personal inspection, there’s a crucial thing to know: a personal inspection should not replace a professional inspection. They are beneficial to perform together, but a personal inspection should never be considered as effective as a professional inspection unless of course the homeowner is a professional inspector as well. With a personal inspection, the homeowner should be looking for particular problems:

  • Are there noticeable cracks in the foundation?
  • What is the condition of the roof and materials?
  • Are there clear signs of leaks (water damage) in the home?
  • Is the interior structure of attics and basements sound?
  • What is the overall quality of the home?
  • Are there cracks in windows or seals that may impact energy efficiency?
  • Does the home have any apparent problems with electrical, plumbing, heating, or cooling?
  • If appliances are included in the sale, are they high quality and working correctly?
  • Is the paint or exterior of the home worn?
  • Does the rest of the property (trees, garage, grounds, etc.) need repair?

Homeowners should know their limitations and the aspects of their home they should leave for a professional. When a homeowner has both, they give themselves a clear understanding of everything that needs to be repaired prior to the sale of the home, ensuring maximum value when it comes time to sell. Inspections will always be part of the process when selling a home, but most rely on the buyer’s inspection before making repairs. Homeowners can be a step ahead of this with a pre-list inspection and plan accordingly. 

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I use data and technology to help Millennials navigate the ins-and-outs of buying or selling a home in today's market. From appraisals to mortgages to zoning, I cover it all with the goal to teach others. Connect with me on social via the icons above.