Tri-County Inspections

Serving Southeastern PA & Central/Southern NJ since 1985
Residential, commercial, historic inspections
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Home Inspector

Pre-listing inspections, who would have thought it.

With as crazy as the market was in 2005 and 2006, all of the sudden the brakes have been thrown out and the market is stalled. We have many houses that have been sitting on the market for six months, mortgage companies seem to be drying up, and now we have sellers sitting on properties or worse having to let their purchases go because their existing home is not selling.

Pre-listing inspections may be the way to go. In the past Tri-County has performed these for unique properties, be they historic farm homes, estates, or just homeowners wanting to update their knowledge as to the operation of their homes and obtain life expectancies so they can plan on their future. Today however, approximately eight percent of our business is pre-listing inspections. The seller will contact us on the direction of their agent so they can get a better understanding as to what a home inspector will be looking for once the agreement of sale is signed or they put their homes on the market. This will reduce the amount of "negotiating" that may be warranted once a professional inspects their home. It will also allow the seller's disclosure form to be filled out accurately and the seller can then determine what should be fixed and what would be considered "as is". One of the largest real estate companies in our market area is openly promoting pre-listing inspections to their agents.

What's important however, is that you can use the inspection report as part of your listing tools; but do not use it as the sole document for the buyer to determine if they are going to purchase this property or not. It is very important that you still allow the buyer to hire an independent inspection company that protects the interests of the buyer. We discussed in previous letters about the risks of third party liability.

For example, if a twenty year old property is going to need a roof and it is disclosed on the pre-listing inspection, the seller has three avenues to pursue: (1) he can replace the roof, (2) he can reduce the asking price of his home for the amount of the roof, or (3) as an incentive offer a check back to the client at settlement for the cost of the roof installation. Granted there are going to be some items for example gas leaks that should be fixed immediately before marketing the property.

My suggestion is that any home that has been on the market for six months or longer - order an inspection. It can be used as a marketing tool, it can relieve some of the burden on behalf of the buyer to understand that the home had been inspected, but once again encourage that they do hire their own inspector once negotiations are complete and it affords the seller to negotiate those things that may be found without having to wait until the last minute to make final decisions.

Jack H. Milne, Jr. President, Tri-County Inspection Co.