Rear view of a male plumber writing a repair order while crouching in front of a kitchen sink

Pre-Market Inspections

Pre-marketing inspections can make the buyers inspection process go smoother and put more money in the seller’s pocket.

Here’s how it works: before the house goes on the MLS, a pre-marketing inspection takes place, and the findings of the pre-marketing inspection are explained by the inspector and reviewed with the seller and the listing agent. In addition, a detailed report is generated by the home inspection company. If defects come up as a result of a pre-marketing inspection, the seller has the opportunity to take 1 of 3 approaches,  1) disclose it, 2) fix it, or 3) do nothing.

Here’s a short video explaining it

  1.  Here’s the first approach, disclose it and sell “as is”. Let’s say the roof is 30 years old and deteriorated. The seller can disclose it to the buyer and sell it on an as is basis (having disclosed the defect). So, when the buyers inspector says the roof needs to be replaced, the buyer would say “yeah, I know, the seller already told me”. This avoids an attempt by the buyer to negotiate the roof issue and could save the seller money and aggravation.

  2.  Here’s the second approach, fix it. Let’s say the pre-marketing inspection discovers termites. This gives the seller the opportunity to get a termite
    treatment and take the issue off the table. Let everybody know up front that there was a termite treatment, the issue disappears. Otherwise, it could be a real sticking point with the buyer. This approach can be used for a plumbing leak or an electrical safety hazard, for example.

  3.  Here’s the third approach, do nothing. The pre-marketing inspection report recommends GFCI outlets in the bathrooms and kitchen. The seller can let it ride and do nothing because it’s so minor. Many times, very minor issues come up during an inspection for which the seller need do nothing but anticipate that it may come up during the buyers inspection.

 Sometimes during a buyer’s inspection an issue comes up that surprises everybody. Sometimes, the surprise can cause the buyer to walk away. Pre-marketing inspections eliminate surprises.

Pre-marketing inspections can reduce negotiations and put more money in the seller’s pocket. Pre-marketing inspections can eliminate surprises. Pre marketing inspections can make the buyers inspection go smoother, with less aggravation.

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New white kitchen

Should the Seller be present during an inspection?

Usually sellers leave on their own before the inspection, often at the suggestion of the listing agent.  Most inspectors are fine either way, whether the seller is there or not.

We feel that it is better for all concerned if the seller is present.  Why?  Because there are often questions that can easily be answered by the seller if they are present.  For example, we can’t get the gas fireplace to operate because we can’t find the remote control.  The seller knows exactly where it is and can turn it on to demonstrate that it functions.  Sometimes there are multiple thermostats throughout the house, some of which are air conditioning and some of which are heat.  The seller typically knows exactly how they’re set up.

Let’s say there is a stain on the ceiling that may be a plumbing leak.  We ask the seller who explains that yes, there was a leak, but they had a plumber fix it.  There is a depression in the yard which looks like it may be a cesspool issue, but the seller explains that they had a tree stump removed.  We suspected inground oil tank because oil feed lines go through the foundation wall near the boiler.  The seller explains that they had the oil tank abandoned and they have the paperwork.  We see signs of old termite damage; the seller explains that they had it treated and it’s under guarantee.

Sometimes there are issues that we discover that the seller wasn’t aware of, for example a leak developing in the water heater.  We bring it to the seller’s attention, and they get a new water heater because we explained that it could get worse quickly and even flood.

If the seller is not present, all these questions will likely end up in the inspection report which can make the report longer and more concerning than it needs to be.  Conversely, if all the questions are answered during the inspection it’s better for the seller, the buyer, and the agents!  We regularly see transparency between the buyer, seller and agents.  Often, everybody leaves the inspection on the same page, which is obviously a good thing!

These are just our observations over the years for your consideration.

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Rear view of a male plumber writing a repair order while crouching in front of a kitchen sink

Avoid some of the most common inspection issues

Here are 8 things that as an inspector I feel make sense for a seller and listing agent to be aware of when selling a house because of the potential issues they may cause. Talking about these things with your seller in advance may be beneficial.  I realize this is extremely condensed and I would be happy to elaborate on any thoughts/questions you may have. Just reply to this email or give me a call.

  • Roof leaks – fix it, repair or replace.
  • Aluminum wires – hire an electrician.  Repair if needed (pig-tail).
  • Possible Asbestos – consult with a removal contractor. Depending on type, do nothing, encapsulate, or remove.
  • Mold- remove it, get a dehumidifier.
  • In-ground oil tank – convert to gas, and/or abandon tank. Or disclose in advance.
  • Basement water leaks – fix it. Check gutters and leaders, get a water proofing contractor if needed.
  • Old HVAC – consider updating, or disclosing upfront, or do nothing.
  • Get a termite inspection and annual contract/guarantee. Treat if needed.

Please feel free to respond back with any thoughts or questions on any of these items.  Let’s talk!

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We don’t give repair estimates

During our inspections, we’re constantly asked, “how much will it cost?”. Our answer is: “It’s against company policy to give estimates, we suggest calling a contractor.”  Even when they say “they won’t hold us to it, we just need a ballpark,” we still won’t give estimates.

There are too many variables for us to try to get involved with estimates.  The only way to get a valid estimate is to get one from a contractor, someone that’s willing to do the job for the price they quote.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject so feel free to reply.

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Fail/Pass Signs

Home Inspections DO NOT Pass Or Fail

Sometimes people (often the sellers) think buyers home inspections either pass or fail.  That is a misnomer.  We don’t pass/fail home inspections. The town building/code inspector may pass or fail a code inspection, but, a buyer’s home inspection is a physical conditions assessment and can’t pass or fail; as Yogi Berra would say, it just is what it is.

You probably already know this but we figured we’d mention it anyway.

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Little house surrounded by coins

We Never Say Buy or Don’t Buy

Our clients often ask us “should we buy this house?” We never answer that question because it’s not our place to give that kind of advice. Our job is to help them understand what they’re buying so that they can make a good decision.

After we tell them that we can’t give advice regarding buy or don’t buy, they often say “okay, would you let your daughter by the house?”  Then, we stick to our policy and repeat “we can’t advise you to buy or not to buy. That’s just how we roll.”

We hope you agree with this approach. For more related information click on this link:

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Building Inspector completing an inspection form on clipboard inside living room

A Home Inspector’s Creed

All good home inspection companies have a philosophy they follow that guides their home inspection and reporting process.  Here is what Safe Harbor Inspections Inc. believes:

If someone orders an inspection, they have already picked a house, negotiated a deal, and are taking the next step towards the closing table. All this has taken place before we even get involved.

The buyer wants to buy the house, and the seller wants to sell the house. We don’t want to stand in the way of the deal. Far from it. Rather, we want to help our clients by truthfully, thoroughly, and expeditiously convey our inspection findings in a balanced, clear, calm and non-alarmist way.

Do you agree? I would love to get your thoughts!

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