As the Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley market settles back into a more normal/balanced market, the times of the “subject free offer” are more or less, thankfully, behind us. Far too many home buyers were put in a position over the last few years of having to purchase a home without a home inspection because of competing bids.
I think its safe to say I don’t need to discuss the benefits of a home inspection here – most home buyers understand the piece of mind that comes with an inspection. But home sellers haven’t really caught on to the benefits of a pre-listing inspection in the same way. This probably has something to do with our caveat emptor (“let the buyer beware”) real estate system.
Get Ahead of the Problem
With the vast majority of home buyers again able to request home inspections, wouldn’t it be a benefit to you, the home seller, if you knew what was going to come up in that report before the buyer? A home seller that is armed with this knowledge can use the opportunity to address main items before they come up. Why would this help? Well, a buyers home inspection comes after a price and terms are negotiated and an offer is accepted. However, what can often happen after the home inspection is that many deficiencies can lead to a renegotiation of the price or even a collapsed sale. Without having a line up of other buyers in a hot market, the buyer usually has the leverage.
Avoid Price Re-Negotiation
A collapsed sale in a slower market can be worse than you think. Many buyers will pass on even viewing your property if they know you have an accepted offer (and if your agent doesn’t tell them and they find out later that there is an offer, they get even more frustrated). This means that you are in many ways “off the market”, or at least at a disadvantage for the time that your buyer was doing his/her/their due diligence. This can cost you money and lengthen your time on the market if it doesn’t go through.
Knowledge is… Money
Even before the home inspection, buyers are pretty savvy – and tend to research a lot more than sellers do. When home shopping, buyers often visit dozens of home, each one becoming a learning experience and comparison. Buyers grow a keen eye for substandard workmanship or poor conditioning. In a market where are are more sellers than buyers, its important for a seller to reduce opportunities to lose a potential buyer. A pre-listing home inspection may cost a bit of money $500-700 and you may have to do a bit of work, but having your property in its best condition possible could end up gaining you a lot more than this.
Trying to Hide Doesn’t Pay
Sellers sometimes worry that if they are aware of deficiencies, and don’t remedy them, whether or not they need to disclose the issues and/or if this could harm their potential sales prices. The answer to this is yes and no on both. If there is a serious issue that you know about, yes, you’ll need to disclose this. But if there are serious issues, the buyers inspection is probably going to find it and you’ll put yourself in the unfortunate position of either renegotiating on price or even losing the deal.
For Top Dollar and Smooth Sailing, Start Early
My opinion is start your home selling process early: talk to your agent at least two months before you want to list (or at least six months before you want to move), hire a licensed home inspector, and start conditioning your property for the best sale. Winter is often the best time to start the process if you’re looking for a great Spring or Summer sale. Don’t rush your property to the market if you can help it and invest a bit to get a lot more in return.
If you’re looking to make a move in the next year, give us a shout (604-245-3200, or email [email protected]) and we can provide a free consultation and evaluation with no obligation.