Chantal Vaillancourt
Sales Representative / Accredited Buyer Representative

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Pre-Listing Inspections May Contribute In Negotiations  

Home inspections used to be initiated almost exclusively by the buyer in a real estate transaction. However, pre-listing inspections before houses are put on the market, are becoming an increasingly popular way for REALTORS to try to reduce the possibility of last-minute surprises and create a marketing edge.

A pre-listing inspection may lead to a house selling without conditions and in the case of multiple offers can be the reassurance a buyer needs to increase his/her offer beyond their comfort level should there have not been an inspection.

A pre-listing inspection is also a great learning tool for the REALTOR to help speak more knowledgably about the house, and it can help the sellerand the REALTOR establish a more accurate listing price considering the work the house needs.

"The pre-listing inspection is advantageous to sellers, buyers and REALTORS as it can help establish a fair price for that home in that location in today's marketplace," says Andrew Dixon, President, Ontario Association of Home Inspectors (OAHI). "A pre-listing inspection can help the seller and the REALTOR identify areas where improvements and maintenance may be beneficial and/or necessary prior to listing the property. A buyer can purchase with the confidence of knowing that the home has been inspected by an unbiased professional whose primary responsibility is the state of the home and its systems."

According to OAHI, any home inspection, including a pre-listing inspection, is concerned with the defects and the lifespan of the systems of the home. The report should include all the major defects and the minor defects that could develop into major defects (either structurally, monetarily or safety related) over time. The inspector should provide justification for most items identified such as pointing out what needs attention to avoid premature deterioration.

While thorough, the pre-listing inspection doesn't comment on the aesthetics or curb appeal of a home. "The pre-listing inspection is a visual examination of how the house is performing in the field," says Alan Carson, Vice-President, Carson Dunlop. "We're looking to see if this house is going to do its job in terms of comfort, safety and durability. The fact that the carpet is stained is not going to show up in the report and it's not a code compliance review either." Carson says pre-listing inspections are concerned with the nuts and bolts of a house. For example, does the roof keep water out, do doors and windows operate properly, does the furnace keep the house warm and the air conditioning keep it cool and do the plumbing and electrical systems do what they are supposed to do?

"Home inspection is a building science not a health science," says Carson. "Health scientists are concerned with what we are breathing or ingesting, but home inspectors are not generally trained in health science. To us mould is a sign that there's moisture where it shouldn't be." However, both Dixon and Carson say that if mould or other potential health hazards are uncovered in the pre-listing inspection, the home inspector will recommend further investigation. However, while reducing the "need" for a buyer's home inspection, the home inspection or pre-listing inspection does not eliminate that possibility, says Dixon.

Finally, both Dixon and Carson feel that it is always a good idea for the REALTOR to be on hand for the inspection. "It is always advisable to have all concerns identified and questions answered in person. Things can get lost in translation and the waters muddied," says Dixon. 

If you have any questions, please contact me, Chantal Vaillancourt, Sales Representative, Bosley Real Estate Ltd.

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