Tips for Selling Your House

Changing Housing Market Calls for Changing Sales Strategies

Home Experts Encourage Sellers to Have Their Homes 'Pre-Inspected' to Make Them More Appealing in a Slowing Market

Sellers are faced with new challenges to ensure their home sells for the best price.

Kathleen Kuhn, president and CEO of HouseMaster(R) -- the oldest and most experienced name in home inspections -- advises that sellers get an objective professional home inspection prior to listing their home in order to determine underlying conditions that may need repair or replacement in order to get the best price.

"The real estate market is finally beginning to pick backup" says Kuhn. "Buyers will likely be more concerned with the home's condition and be in a better position to negotiate now that the market is more balanced."

Kuhn estimates that for every $100 of repairs a home needs, a buyer will likely try to negotiate $200 off the asking price, and high-ticket items-like a new roof, moisture problems, or electrical repairs-can potentially cost the seller thousands of dollars. Having the home inspected before listing is a way to ultimately avoid any unexpected negotiations.

Since one's home is often the biggest investment of a lifetime, Kuhn offers these important tips for selling your home:

  * An inspection helps set a realistic selling price.  The market analysis
    prepared by the real estate agent will help in determining a fair
    selling price for the home based on the prices that other homes have
    sold for in the area.  However, such comparison doesn't usually reflect
    the true physical condition of the home and its systems, which may not
    be readily apparent to the untrained eye. A home inspection for the
    seller can give an accurate, overall picture of a home's condition.

  * The listing price should reflect deficiencies.  If a house has
    deficiencies, the price should reflect them for a faster sale. The
    combination of a professional inspection report and a listing price
    that reflects the true condition of the house can help minimize any
    re-negotiation of the sales price late in the deal and, possibly, even
    speed up the process.  No one wants a house that sits on the
    market for months  because of an unrealistic price.

  * Disclosure is key.  It has become a legal necessity to disclose, up
    front, any problems that buyers will most likely find out on their own
    or through their own inspection.  Failure to disclose these
    items/defects can mean problems for the seller later on.  By having
    their own inspection done, sellers will be aware of any issues -- which
    the buyer's home inspector will likely find anyway or that will become
    apparent once the buyer moves in.

  * Make repairs before you sell.  Sellers can turn lemons into lemonade
    with their own home inspection.  For instance, if the roof needs major
    repairs or if the bathroom has an ongoing leak, any potential buyer is
    likely to negotiate the cost of these repairs off the listing price up
    front.  The seller may save half the profit by fixing the roof and any
    other items on their own, positioning re-caulked bathroom tiles and new
    roof shingles as new upgrades or improvements instead of as a needed

"By having a home inspected in advance, the seller can justify a higher listing price by documenting that the home is in good condition, or it can serve to minimize re-negotiations by disclosing defects at the time of listing. It really works either way, and goes a long way towards reducing exposure for non-disclosure with the agent and seller," suggests Kuhn.

"HouseMaster's inspection reports are completed at the time of the inspection, then posted to a password protected Web site, so sellers can easily share their findings with whomever they choose, including potential buyers and real estate professionals," says Kuhn. "We can also help sellers promote that their home has been pre-inspected with yard signs and logos to place on online listings."

About HouseMaster:

HouseMaster has franchises in more than 370 cities in North America. Each franchise is an independently owned and operated business. Collectively, HouseMaster has performed nearly 2 million inspections since 1979. .