One of the most common questions I get from clients getting ready to sell their homes is what improvements they should make to enhance resale value. Have you sold any Palos Verdes homes or South Bay real estate in the last 20 years? I bet you’ve asked this same question of real estate brokers you’ve interviewed to list and sell your house. And I would be willing to be you never asked if you should get a pre-listing home inspection. Ignoring this step is like signing up to climb Mount Everest before getting a physical from you doctor. Yeah, missing this step in the listing process IS that bad.
So what is a pre-listing home inspection? First, let’s understand this fact, in nearly every real estate transaction, a buyer is going to conduct their due diligence and part of their investigation process will be to hire a 3rd party, hopefully professional, building inspector who will study the home from head to toe searching for defects, both obvious and not so obvious. There’s no getting around this fact. It’s going to happen.
When I look at the daily bulletin of new listings, sales and “back on the market” listings, I see that in any given month about 20-30% of the homes reported as going into escrow, come back on the market. Most of the time, this is due to the fact negotiations failed between the seller and the buyer. And most of the time the negotiations failed because of unrealistic expectations by either or both parties.
Look, wouldn’t you want to know what your buyer is going to learn before your buyer learns it? Do you really want to go into selling probably the most valuable asset you will ever own in your life without knowing about potential defects the buyer could use to leverage concessions from you or even cancel the deal you were counting on closing. If you really think about it, doing that is like going to your doctor with a stomach ache and saying, “Hey doc, just get the scalpel and carve away; don’t bother with any tests first”. Stupid right?
The inspection is going to cost you anywhere from $350 – $600 depending on the size of your home and whether or not you include a video scope of your sewer lines and if you own ANY of the Palos Verdes homes here, trust me, you want your sewer lines scoped for roots and breaks in the old, old, old clay pipes. Of all the things you can invest your money on to enhance resale value of your home, conducting a pre-listing home inspection is the FIRST thing you must do; even if only to prioritize what things you want to invest in fixing first!
And that’s not the only benefit to you as a seller. Forget about your house for a minute. Think about anything you’ve ever bought in your life. Weren’t you more comfortable in paying the price when you felt safe and secure in that purchase? Weren’t you more willing to pay a bit more when you trusted the seller? The same thing applies here. Buyers who perceive you as a trustworthy seller, a home seller that is open armed, transparent and giving of information, are buyers that have a higher probability of paying you the price you want.
So, if you’re getting ready to list your South Bay home or Palos Verdes home for sale and you’re hearing a real estate broker make suggestions to you about painting or staging or whatever, without first counseling you to get a pre-listing home inspection done – run from that broker as far and as fast as you can; they don’t have your best interests at heart or are too ignorant in the business to properly advocate your interests.
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