by TJ AndersonWe work on new-construction and renovation projects in Nashville all the time, so home design concerns — paint colors, tile choices, kitchen finishes — are a big part of my life
On Getting A Pre Listing Inspection For Your Nashville Home
by TJ Anderson
I’ve had a lot of Nashville home sellers ask me this recently: “Is it worth getting my home inspected before we list it?”
And it’s a question I like — it falls under my guiding principle for selling a Nashville home: Before you list, try and head off any small problems, so buyers don’t mistake them for big problems.
That doesn’t mean my answer to the question is always yes; it just means I think it’s worth asking, especially if you have an older home.
Generally, the home inspection process comes after an offer is accepted, and is handled, both in planning and paying, by the buyer. The plus: You’re not on the hook for the $500 or so a good home inspector will charge. The minus: You’re kind of in the dark, and on pins and needles waiting to see what horrors a home inspector might find in your home.
A pre-listing inspection swaps those pluses and minuses: You’re spending a few bucks, but you’re getting informed and prepared, before any buyers walk in the door. It may not be necessary or preferable for you, but here are a few cases where I think it’s reasonable, even warranted, to take on a pre-listing inspection.
You need to close quickly
When time is of the essence — maybe you have a contingency for a home you’re buying, or you’re leaving the country, or you’re otherwise just in a hurry — it might be worth getting ahead of potential problems, so you’re not hung up hemming and hawing over details with the buyer.
In most cases, even when a fair number of issues pop up during an inspection, repairs or concessions can be negotiated that don’t push things too far off track. But there’s never a guarantee there, so if you absolutely need to be sure, it’s worth considering.
You haven’t been particularly on top of routine maintenance
We all know if we’ve been doting, detail-oriented parents to our homes. And I’m not shaming anyone who’s been lax on routine maintenance — first-time owners often just aren’t aware of the full (remarkably long) list of regular maintenance chores that come with homeownership.
Common misses I see: overlooking fireplace and chimney maintenance, HVAC maintenance and gutter stuff. All of these, over time, can lead to major issues. If you feel like you might’ve fallen behind, and want to see if any issues sprung up that you should deal with ahead of a sale, a pre-listing inspection might be a good option.
The selling process gives you a lot of anxiety
Selling a home is a big undertaking, and a big life change, and it’s natural to get stressed. If you’re the type of person who really internalizes uncertainty, to the point where it gets you uncomfortably off-kilter, a pre-listing inspection can help alleviate some of that anxiety.
If, before you list, you already have a clear idea of what kind of problems are hiding in your home (and you take the time and invest the money to clear up any big issues), you can go into listing with more confidence and more calm.
Assuming you’ve hired a solid home inspector (something your Realtor can help you with, if you don’t know someone), you shouldn’t have any big surprises once the offers come in and the process starts moving forward. For a lot of us, there’s huge value in coming at a home sale from an informed, prepared place.
You’re planning to invest in some repairs, but aren’t sure where the money’s best spent
It’s tough to know, as a homeowner, where the most bang for your repair and renovation buck is going to be. (Before I was in the real estate business, I probably wouldn’t have picked a front door as such a sure shot, but there it is.)
A Nashville Realtor (like me) can help you get some focus before you dump money into a home you’re going to sell. But if you want down-to-the-studs specifics, so to speak, a pre-listing inspection will give you a thorough rundown of all the glaring and less-glaring issues, and help you prioritize.
Sometimes the best projects to do aren’t the most obvious, or the most interesting (attic insulation’s another big one that a lot of us don’t think about), but they’ll do the most to help a sale go forward.
You’re selling what would likely be considered a “starter home”
Over my years of working in Nashville real estate, one thing’s been consistently true: First-time buyers are the most squeamish and readily alarmed at issues that come up during home inspections. It’s totally understandable — if you’ve never owned a home, and you’ve grown up on years of home-TV shows injecting drama via massively expensive renovation issues, any home inspection finds — even what’d come off to veteran homeowners as run-of-the-mill — are going to give you a fright.
So if your home is more likely than not to sell to a first-time buyer — probably the case if you were a first-time buyer when you bought it — a pre-listing inspection might be worthwhile. It’ll help you get a handle on the fixable issues that might come up, so you can clip them off the list before a potential buyer gets wiggy.
I rarely see a deal fall through because of routine issues that come up in a home inspection (again, a good buyer’s agent will help their client get a handle on what’s significant and what’s not-so-significant, and help negotiate repairs or concessions to make things come together). But it does happen. If nothing else, getting the information you need to get ahead of any little issues helps for a smoother sale, and that’s never a bad thing.
TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....
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