Dear Barry,

I’m getting ready to sell my home and would like to hire a home inspector before I put it on the market. It seems that a pre-marketing inspection would give me a better idea of needed improvements before I sell. Is this wise or not? –Marian

Dear Marian,

Your approach demonstrates a wisdom not commonly realized by sellers. Buyers typically hire the home inspector after the purchase contract has been signed. The inspector provides a list of defects, and then the buyers ask the sellers to make repairs, to reduce the price, or sometimes to cancel the sale. When you provide a home inspection report prior to signing the contract, you avert this process of renegotiation.

Essentially, there are three benefits for sellers who hire a home inspector prior to marketing a property:

1. The inspection report informs you, in advance, of any significant defects that might need attention and that could adversely affect your chances of selling the property. It affords you the opportunity to make repairs prior to sale.

2. The report enables you to provide a more thorough and complete disclosure of the property’s condition. This lessens the likelihood of legal problems after the sale, when undisclosed defects might then be discovered.

3. The report provides the best basis for an as-is sale, if that is what you prefer. You can decline to make repairs while fully informing the buyers of the conditions that need repair.

Sellers would do themselves a great service by taking this proactive approach to the disclosure process.

Dear Barry,

I had my windows replaced about three years ago. The company that installed them is no longer in business. Recently, another window contractor said that the patio door and some of the windows are installed incorrectly because they are on the weather-beaten side of the house that gets most of the wind and rain. I’ve never had any leaking or other problems with any of the windows and am wondering if I should be concerned about the window guy’s opinion. What do you think? –Regina

Dear Regina,

Who ever heard of installing windows differently when they are on the weather-beaten side of a building? And how would a window installer know which portion of a building faces the weather, especially if the installation occurs on a bright, windless summer day?

Windows should all be installed in a manner that maximizes weather resistance. If that is not so, then perhaps contactors should install windows in a compromised manner when they face away from the oncoming weather. That, of course would be foolish, so don’t be persuaded by the opinion of this window guy. But just to be sure, hire another window company to evaluate the installation in question.

To write to Barry Stone, please visit him on the Web at

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