Q: We are putting our house on the market in a couple of weeks. We have heard from a couple of people that we should get inspections on our home before we put it on the market. Is this smart? I thought buyers paid for inspections? Jason in Pleasanton
A: Jason that is a great question! Traditionally, buyers have been responsible for paying for any inspections they require. The only exception is in Contra Costa County, where the standard procedure was for sellers to pay for a termite inspection. However, in recent years there has been more of a shift to having sellers pay for and obtain inspections prior to going on the market. While it does cost the seller anywhere from $800 – $1500, there are several compelling reasons why this is a good idea:
- It gives the seller more certainty by identifying potential issues with the property before going on the market.
- It avoids the “second negotiation” where the buyer, after paying for inspections after the contract is negotiated, comes back to renegotiate armed with inspection reports that show issues with the property
- It typically shortens the inspection contingency, as buyers are more likely to accept the existing reports, thereby cutting down on the time they need to complete their due dilligence
- It reduces the chance the transaction will cancel because all issues are disclosed upfront. thus eliminating unpleasant surprises that could derail the purchase
- It gives the buyer a higher level of comfort, which usually leads to a smoother, more amicable transaction
Can the buyer still get their own inspections? Of course. In fact, in my opinion sellers should avoid mandating that the buyer accept their inspections. If the buyer wants to spend the money on their own inspections let them. It is highly unlikely they will uncover any significant issues not covered in the original inspections. One caveat however… make sure you choose inspection companies that are well known and well regarded in the area. Presenting a home inspection from Bill’s Bait Shop and Home Inspection Company will not instill a lot of confidence in the buyer. Talk to your agent to see who he or she recommends. Good Luck with your sale!