Buyers September 12, 2023

What Is a Pre-Listing Inspection?

A lot of information comes at you during the house hunting process. As you search for a home, you’ll likely come across the term “pre-listing inspection” here and there. It can be confusing, especially if you’re buying a home for the first time. So, what is this special report and why is it only found in certain listings? Let’s take a deep dive on the pre-listing inspection, how it factors into making an offer on a home and unravel why some sellers choose to conduct it.

What is a pre-listing inspection?

A seller’s pre-listing inspection is a report issued by the seller before listing their home for sale. A professional home inspector thoroughly examines the home, checking everything from the roof, foundation, and plumbing to its heating, cooling, and electrical systems to identify any repairs that need to be made or any larger issues that need addressing. During the more developed stages of a real estate transaction, you’ll have a professional home inspector perform an inspection to make sure you’re buying the home as advertised. With a pre-listing inspection, the seller is pre-empting this process.

Pre-Listing Inspection Benefits

There are three main reasons why sellers conduct a pre-listing inspection: transparencyrepairs, and pricing. It also helps to streamline the buying/selling process, especially in highly competitive markets. In these market conditions, it’s also more common for buyers to waive the inspection to sweeten their offer and get a leg up on the competition. Talk to your agent for more information.

  • By providing buyers with a clear picture of the home’s condition upfront, sellers are putting their cards on the table. This transparency helps to build trust with buyers interested in their home.
  • It’s also a way for sellers to identify outstanding repairs and make them before their home goes on the market. The seller can proceed through the selling process with a clear mind knowing they’ve already addressed the issues they found early on. Then, when it’s time for the buyer’s inspection, you can compare the results to make sure you have a full understanding of the home’s condition.
  • The findings of a pre-listing inspection also help to solidify the asking price the seller eventually sets; they either reaffirm its condition or show the areas where it’s lacking or needs attention. After you make an offer, the bank will order an appraisal of the property to make sure you’re paying a fair price.

For you, walking into the buying process with a pre-listing inspection in hand means you have intimate knowledge of the home’s condition right from the beginning, which will inform your strategy for making an offer. If the seller invested heavily in repairs, they may be less likely to budge on price. If there are several outstanding issues, that may be a negotiation opportunity for you and your agent.


A woman talks to a home inspector about a pre-listing inspection for her home.

Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: sturti


Who pays for home inspection?

The seller pays for the pre-listing inspection. You’ll want to conduct your own to see whether there are any discrepancies between the two. Even professional inspectors can miss something, so it’s worth it to double check their work. This inspection is just one of the costs of the home buying process, but it can save you from the significant costs of undetected repairs down the road. Besides, even in the short amount of time between the pre-listing inspection and when you make your offer, it’s entirely possible that something regarding the home’s condition changed. Getting your own inspection is crucial to gaining a crystal-clear understanding of the home before purchase.

So, should you trust a seller’s pre-listing inspection? Yes, but approach with caution. It shouldn’t necessarily be the final authority on the home’s condition, but it is mutually beneficial for both parties and allows you to make a better-informed decision on whether you want to move forward with your offer. Connect with me for guidance on how to navigate the home inspection process.