Pros, cons of real estate pre-inspections

Be careful not to discourage best buyer from making offer

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Imagine this. You list your home for sale. Buyers are lining up to take a look. The inventory is so skimpy that buyers are having your home inspected even before making an offer. In so doing, they hope to out-fox the competition by making an offer that doesn't include an inspection contingency. You arrive home late one afternoon to find water flooding your basement from a pipe that burst during a home inspection. Your agent tries to determine who's at fault. But, since three or four inspectors were inspecting your home at the same time, no one is sure who is to blame. As outlandish as this may sound, it actually happened to a Berkeley, Calif., home seller recently. Pre-inspections can serve a positive end, but sellers are wise to retain control over the process. Some sellers wonder why they should conduct pre-sale inspections. Won't the buyers want to hire their own inspectors? What if an inspection uncovers defects that you have to disclose? Wouldn't it be better to wait to have in...