A high percentage of homes sold throughout the greater Toronto Area will have a building inspection included as part of the purchase process. Typically these Home Inspections are done at the time an offer is made, usually after financing becomes available with minimal time before the purchase decision is made. The inspector does his or her job and findings are brought to light. This process then causes a flurry of activity to get any issues or problems uncovered during the inspection resolved.
Increasingly,many agents and sellers are using the home inspection as a tool to fast track the selling process. Instead of the inspection taking place at the end of the process, it is done at the beginning. A pre-listing inspection is done by the seller and provides a written report of the property’s condition before it’s put on the market. Concerns and deficiencies may be uncovered at that time which could compromise the sale, had the problem been discovered later on in the process.
Pre-listing inspections benefit all parties involved and are gaining popularity albeit slower in strong real estate markets like we presently have. During strong markets, the seller may have back-up offers should negotiations break down with a potential buyer. Sellers therefore forego the pre-listing inspections knowing that potential buyers are not likely to walk away from a deal should problems be uncovered during an inspection performed as part of the purchase contract. During a slower market, more properties are for sale and a potential buyer may use an inspection to verify the condition and negotiate a lower price to cover repair and improvements that may be needed. When there is a higher than normal number of homes available for sale sellers can attract buyers by having a pre-listing inspection done on their home.
With a pre-listing inspection, agents gain the time needed to help the seller improve the appeal of the home which may result in a faster sale for a better price. Sellers can choose their own inspection company, a convenient time and even assist in maintenance records (confirm when roof was re-shingled, explain the stain on the dining room ceiling, etc). This prevents last minute negotiations and buyers may even waive their own inspection conditions.
There is no difference in content and form, between the pre-listing inspection and a conventional inspection, and should never be. The inspector must stay neutral. This is very important and should be understood by all parties. Pre-listing inspections may have one slight difference that being facts and supporting documents may be included (i.e.: a problem with a furnace may be identified during the inspection and a receipt for the repair may be included with the report by the seller).
With time, Pre-listing Inspections will gain popularity especially if the market slows down slightly. In any case, the benefits or a home inspection either pre-listing or as part of the purchase condition) cannot be overstated. It protects buyers, sellers and agents by providing information and facts about the house so that an educated decision can be made and your mind can be put At Ease.