While many cities in the Minneapolis / Saint Paul area require a Truth in Housing evaluation before listing a house for sale, more and more Realtors are having their sellers get private home inspections before putting them up for sale, whether a Truth in Housing evaluation is required or not.
A private seller's inspection is the equivalent of a buyers inspection, but of course the client is the person selling the home, not the person buying it. Sellers may choose to make the final inspection report available for potential buyers to see, or they may keep it private. In either case, this is a fantastic way for sellers to learn exactly what will be found at their home when their buyer's have an inspection performed, and will give them a chance to repair any problems.
If the seller chooses to make the inspection report a public document, this can make the home a more attractive property for potential buyers by giving them better peace of mind about a property before even writing an offer on it. A sellers inspection will also make the negotiation process much easier for all parties involved. Here are two potential scenarios:
No seller's inspection - A buyer writes an offer on a home, the offer is accepted, and the purchase is contingent upon an inspection. The inspection is performed three days later, and several issues are identified. Assuming the buyers still want the house after discovering all these things they didn't know about the home, they now ask the seller to fix the items. Several things can happen at this point - the seller might offer to discount the price of the home, rush to do the repairs, or even refuse to do anything, which might kill the deal. None of these options are ideal for seller, and negotiations will need to take place.
Seller has home inspected before listing - The inspector identifies several issues with the home, and the seller takes their leisurely time in getting the items corrected or repaired. They confidently list their home, and look forward to the buyer's home inspection, knowing that nothing is going to come up that they didn't already know about. If there are items that the seller decides not to fix, they might just list those items on a disclosure form, so any potential buyer knows that this is what they are buying, and there are no negotiations later on in the buying process.
Sellers inspections are becoming more and more popular, especially in today's market where there is such a high inventory of homes for sale. Many Realtors that work with us have us inspect every house they list for sale, because it makes the selling process go so much smoother for all parties involved.
One last thing - make sure you hire an excellent home inspector. A home inspection that misses or glosses over problems can do more harm than good. While there is a large range in prices for home inspections between different companies, remember; you get what you pay for.
Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections