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Blog  ·  May 13 2024

Benefits of Pre-Inspections for Buyer and Sellers

What is a Pre-Inspection?

A pre-inspection is an assessment conducted by a licensed home inspector either before a property is listed for sale or before the property is purchased. This inspection covers the structural integrity, roofing, electrical systems, plumbing, heating, and cooling systems, and other major components of the property. The intention for a pre-inspection is to identify any existing or potential issues that could impact the safety, functionality, or value of the property.

Understanding the Importance of Pre-Inspection

For Buyers: A pre-inspection helps identify significant issues with the property that you need to know before finalizing your purchase. This crucial step not only assists you in making a well-informed decision but also provides you with additional support for potentially negotiating repairs or adjusting your offer.This can be a critical tool in winning during multiple offer scenarios; in doing so, Buyers elect to “satisfy” their inspection contingency before their offer is accepted.

For Sellers: Opting for what we call a “Seller Procured Pre-inspection” before listing your property can streamline negotiations. These advanced inspections give Sellers more control over the sale process and an opportunity to get ahead of potential issues that could complicate a future sale. For example, rather than rushing to obtain a bid in the 3-days allocated by a traditional inspection contingency (Form 35) a pre-inspection allows a Seller time to meet with multiple vendors and strategize around areas of concern.

Seller Procured pre-inspections also showcase your commitment to transparency, making your home more appealing to prospective buyers. In highly competitive situations, some Buyers will walk away rather than waive their inspection contingency (we understand - inspections are important!) Also not every Buyer can afford to do multiple pre-inspections, so this can be a tool to increase the attractiveness of your home.

Navigating Costs and Timing

Home inspections are an investment that varies by property size, type and location. For example, condo inspections tend to be cheaper than a large, freestanding home. It’s also important to know that you will typically use a separate inspector to look at the sewer line or septic system.

For Buyers: It is possible to budget for this, as the cost can typically range depending on the size and location of your intended property. Inspections of structures are usually between $350 and $600 while sewer and septic inspections range between $200-600. Your broker should provide you with a few names of inspectors they trust, and disclose any personal conflicts (like being in a relationship with the inspector).

For Sellers: The cost to do a home inspection is similar to what’s quoted above for Buyers, but Sellers have a few other potential upfront costs if they are trying to get ahead on their inspections. For example, a Seller might have a home inspection AND also get their septic pumped and inspected as required by the local municipality. Pumping and filing costs can total almost $2000 depending on the size of your septic system. This amount can typically be paid when the house closes (ask your agent for more details on that).

Sellers also may discover items that need repair, or items that would add value to the house if updated. Our Windermere Ready Loan program provides Sellers with up to $100,000 (based on the equity in their home) with minimal upfront costs. The 6-month loan is paid back at closing the program along with interest charges. This program enables sellers to undertake necessary repairs (potentially revealed during a pre-inspection) or upgrades that will make their home more desirable when listed (usually pointed out by a savvy Realtor!)

Handling Inspection Findings

For Buyers: Discovering significant issues may feel unsettling, but it provides an opportunity for gathering additional information and/or negotiations. Whether it’s requesting repairs, renegotiating the price, just establishing peace of mind or deciding to walk away, Buyers are empowered with the knowledge they have gained during a pre-inspection.

For Sellers: Unfavorable inspection results don’t have to be deal-breakers! Addressing repairs ahead of time, adjusting your asking price, or being upfront about issues can help maintain trust and attract more serious Buyers. And yes, it’s true that Sellers must share a copy of their pre-inspection with a Buyer as part of the Seller Disclosure law in Washington. But did you know that Seller’s must also share previous inspections (say from when they purchased the home) if they still have them? Because of this, sometimes it can be good to get an updated pre-inspection that reflects repairs or upgrades you’ve made since your purchase.

Just Remember…

It’s completely normal to feel like the home inspection process is confusing and/or overwhelming! Our team is here to help you navigate these complexities, the potential costs and most importantly the options available whether you’re buying or selling.