One question we are routinely asked by clients who are thinking of selling is, “Should I get my home inspected before we try to sell it?”. The usual thought process being that if there is something wrong, let’s find out about it now and get it fixed before it surprises us. That makes perfectly good sense. As you might expect, the answer isn’t always that easy.
Disclaimer: What you are about to read is not legal advice. It is simply my opinion and I am not a real estate attorney.
First, in the State of Texas, you are required to disclose any inspection reports you have that have been done over the past four years. So, keep that in mind when you are thinking about getting one done. You won’t be getting it just for your peace of mind. You will have to share it with your potential buyers and unless you are going to fix everything on it and prove it, you might be opening yourself up to negotiating from a weak position.
Second, and this is important to remember, every inspector is different and no two inspection reports are ever the same. What I mean by that is you should not be at all surprised when the inspection report you get beforehand is clean and the one that the buyer gets done has some issues on it. Remember, inspectors get paid to find things that are wrong. Ten years into this and I have still yet to see a totally clean inspection report. The State of Texas has done a good job making sure that there is a fairly standardized process to home inspection, but they’re still done by humans so there will always be differences.
On the other hand, if you’ve lived in the home for a long time and maybe aren’t the best at maintenance, it might be a good idea to have one done so you have a “to-do” list before selling. Remember, it’s the little things that count when it comes to selling for the most money, so taking care of some deferred maintenance is never a bad idea. For many people, ordering an inspection may be the best way to know what they need to do to get the home in selling shape.
At the end of the day, it really all comes down to what gives you the peace of mind to move forward. My biggest piece of advice to you if you do decide to order an inspection prior to listing your home is to review it with your Realtor before you go spend a bunch of money fixing things that don’t need to be fixed. Remember, inspection reports often call things that weren’t code when your home was built. Your Realtor can help you determine which items need attention and where your time and money can be invested in areas like staging that will help sell the home for more money.