DEAR BARRY: Our house is on the market. We’re waiting for offers and wondering if we should hire our own home inspector or let the buyer hire the inspector once we are in escrow. Our agent advises against hiring our own inspector. What do you think? –Kay
DEAR KAY: Some real estate agents are in favor of pre-sale home inspections and some are not. Here are the reasons why I favor them:
1) When your disclosure statement includes a home inspection report, you are demonstrating to buyers that you have nothing to hide and that you are going the extra mile to provide full disclosure of the property’s condition. This can build confidence in the minds of buyers that they are dealing with honest sellers.
2) A pre-sale inspection report can reduce your liability in the event that undisclosed defects are found after the property has been sold. Buyers are less likely to claim that you were concealing known defects when a home inspection report is provided prior to sale.
3) A pre-sale inspection report makes it possible to have an as-is sale. You simply base the sales price on the disclosed condition of the property and let the buyers know what conditions need attention or repair. Buyers are often willing to accept defects that are disclosed at the outset of the transaction. When defects are discovered by the buyers’ home inspector, buyers are more likely to expect or demand repairs as a condition of the sale.
4) A pre-sale inspection report enables you to do corrective work prior to sale. You can repair everything, or you can repair some things and disclose the rest.
Most sellers wait for the buyers to hire a home inspector. Then the report can be used as leverage to the buyers’ advantage. When sellers hire the home inspector, the advantages can be theirs.
DEAR BARRY: Our home is located in a rural area about 10 miles out of town. About three years ago, the property two doors down was sold, and the new owner turned it into a large auto repair business with a motocross track. Now we have to listen to noisy motorcycles every day. Our real estate agent says that this has probably depreciated our property as much as $100,000. If we sell our home, are we now required to disclose this situation? –John
DEAR JOHN: It is essential that you disclose this situation when you eventually sell the property. Imagine how you would feel if the motocross track had been there when you bought the property and the sellers hadn’t informed you about the excessive noise.
Unfortunately, your agent is correct. Your noisy neighbor brings down the desirability and value of other homes in the neighborhood. But here is a question that demands an answer: Is the neighbor’s property zoned for commercial use and particularly as a motocross track? If so, then you are simply stuck with a bad situation. If not, you should get some advice from a real estate attorney regarding your available options.
To write to Barry Stone, please visit him on the Web at www.housedetective.com.
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