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Pre-Marketing Property Inspection

Prudent purchasers will have your property thoroughly inspected before they buy it. Expect inspectors to poke into everything -- your house's roof, chimney, gutters, plumbing, electrical wiring, heating and cooling systems, insulation, smoke detectors, all the permanent appliances and fixtures in your kitchen and bathrooms, and the foundation. They'll also check for health, safety, and environmental hazards.

Exploring the advantages of inspecting before marketing

The best defense is a good offense. Beat buyers to the punch -- get your inspections before they get theirs. Discover everything wrong with your house before putting it on the market. Defusing a crisis begins by discovering that a problem exists. Consider these four reasons to have your property thoroughly inspected before putting it on the market:

  • Damage control: Suppose that your house needs a new foundation. The problem is there whether you know about it or not. Why wait passively for an ultimatum to fix the foundation at a cost established by the buyer's inspection or kiss the deal good-bye? If you discover the problem before marketing the house, you can disclose it to prospective buyers with a repair estimate. Your negotiating position is much stronger if you know about problems in advance -- and accurately know the cost to correct them. Some buyers won't want to tour your house if they know that it needs a great deal of repair work. Forget them. Concentrate on buyers who are willing to do corrective work after the closing if your price and terms are fair.
  • Financial planning: It's very important to have a realistic estimate of your present house's net proceeds of sale before committing to buy a new home. If your house needs major repairs, you'll pay for them one way or another -- either by doing the repairs yourself, by reducing your asking price to reflect the cost of repairs, or by giving buyers a credit to do the work. Latent defects -- flaws hidden out of sight behind walls or concealed in inaccessible areas, such as under your house or up in the attic where you can't see them -- are time bombs. A good premarketing inspection can reveal all these problems.
  • Fine tuning: Professional property inspectors can help you spot minor defects, such as dirty filters in the heating system; ventilation problems in the basement, garage, or crawl space; blocked gutters; loose doorknobs; stuck windows; a missing chimney hood or spark arrester, and so on. Eliminating small maintenance problems like these gives prospective buyers who tour the property a favorable -- and correct -- impression that your house is extremely well-maintained.
  • Peace of mind: The inspector alerts you to health and safety precautions you should take. Installing smoke detectors, grounding electrical outlets, and keeping flammable products away from furnaces, heaters, and fireplaces, for example, make your house safer for the next owner and safer for you as long as you continue living in it.