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Real estate folly: Let the buyers pay for inspections

There are a number of small battles sellers and agents labor under when getting a house ready for sale. Real estate agents have a list of common suggestions, based on real world experience most of the time, which work.

One of the more common suggestions that gets scoffed at by sellers is doing pre-inspections on property. “Why should I pay to have the property inspected when the buyers are going to when we get into contract?” is a common question many sellers have.

Most of the time the questions is motivated by cost. Home inspections run anywhere from $450 to $1000 plus depending on the size of the home and the thoroughness of the inspector. Roof reports usually run between $200 and $500 per inspection and termite reports, again depending on the size of the house, run between $150 and $500 per inspection. Adding pool inspections, chimney inspection or any further inspections can really run the dollar amount of inspections up.

But it is worth it because the buyers will pay for inspections.

Taylor Sublett, an agent with Highland Partners Mason-McDuffie real estate in Oakland has very definite opinions about this:

“Sellers should always provide their own thorough set of inspections. Any items disclosed by the Seller cannot be used as terms for renegotiation during the Buyers' investigation period. Paying $800 for your own set of reports could save you $8,000 or more in a price reduction based on a new finding.”

Meaning inspections are like an insurance policy. Imagine, as a seller, thinking your home is in great condition, getting into contract, and then finding out during the buyer’s inspection period your home has $50,000.00 in dry rot and your decks need to be replaced.

If the seller had done the inspections prior to listing they would have known about the damage. And more importantly, because the damage was disclosed, would not be placed in a poor negotiating position.When buyers are aware of the condition of the home they cannot use disclosed items as a negotiating tool.

Inspections make sense. Getting thorough inspections and disclosing the findings is like buying piece of mind and a lot less expensive than a surprise in the middle of your sale.

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