Benefits of a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

Benefits of a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

When you’re trying to sell your home, should you hire your own home inspector? It’s a good question, and it’s one many homeowners ask their real estate agents before putting their houses on the market. As it turns out, there are a lot of great reasons to get a pre-listing home inspection before a buyer makes an offer. We’ll tell you everything you need to know below for a smooth, hassle-free sale process.

1. You won’t be surprised.

There are certain flaws about your home you’re already well aware of, but what about the things you know nothing about? When you order a pre-listing inspection, you get a top-to-bottom report of hundreds of features and systems in your home. If any problems are revealed, you’ll have a chance to repair them or build repairs into your asking price. This is especially good for DIYers, who can save a lot of money by completing simple repairs themselves.

2. You can price your home more accurately.

Pricing is one of the toughest parts of selling your home, but a pre-listing inspection makes it easier. Once you have a full picture of your home’s strengths and weaknesses, you can be a lot more confident that you’ve arrived at the right price point. If a buyer sees that you’ve priced your home transparently based on an independent inspection, they may also be less likely to submit a lower offer.

3. You’ll save money in the long run.

Having to deal with a surprise repair that only comes to light during the buyer’s inspection can be more expensive than taking care of the problem yourself. Whether the buyer insists on an expensive contractor rather than a DIY repair or wants more money taken off your asking price than you think is fair, relying solely on a buyer’s inspection can be costly.

4. You’ll save time and stress on negotiations.

When all parties are fully informed about the home being sold, the process of selling goes much faster and cuts down on stress. Without a pre-listing inspection, the one question that’s bound to be on your mind is “what if there’s a sale-killing problem I don’t know about?” And if you do know about a problem that’s likely to affect a buyer’s decision, it’s better to get everything out in the open from the get-go.

5. You’ll make your real estate agent’s job much easier.

There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes when you’re a real estate agent. When working to sell a home, an agent can spend days researching not only the house itself, but the neighborhood, schools and values of other homes in the area, too. When you add a pre-listing inspection to the data your agent is collecting, they can form a better idea of what your home will reasonably go for in the current market, which makes the process go smoothly for everyone involved.

Call National Property Inspections for a Full Assessment of Your Home

Your local NPI inspector has the professional training and experience to help assess the condition of your home’s structure and major systems. Give us a call today to schedule your pre-listing inspection.

October 2018: Autumn

Ask The Inspector

Everything You Need to Know About Attic and Roof Ventilation

We all understand the importance of a healthy roof for keeping a home in great condition. But what’s one often overlooked area that plays a huge role in a roof’s performance and efficiency? Ventilation. Here, we’ll go over how to determine whether you need better roof and attic ventilation. Learn more

The Overly Disclaimed Home Inspection Report

Because home inspectors may be held responsible for damage or problems that are visibly present at the time of inspection but not included in the inspection report, some inspectors include an overabundance of disclaimers in their pre-inspection agreements. Here’s how to navigate disclaimers. Learn more

Benefits of a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

When you’re trying to sell your home, should you hire your own home inspector? As it turns out, there are a lot of great reasons to get a pre-listing home inspection before a buyer makes an offer. We’ll tell you everything you need to know below for a smooth, hassle-free sale process. Learn more

Expert Advice

Folding Fitted Sheets Made Easy

Here’s a familiar sight—your sheets are fresh out of the dryer, and now everything needs to be folded. You take care of the flat sheet, no problem. Pillow cases, easy. Fitted sheet? They may be unruly, but there’s a better way to fold them that’s a snap to learn. Stop crumpling once and for all. Learn more

Wet Bar vs. Dry Bar: Which One is Right for You?

If you’ve been thinking about updating your basement or patio by putting in a bar, you have a lot of options, starting with whether you want a wet bar or a dry bar. But what’s the difference? Read on to learn the difference between wet bars and dry bars and which one will suit your home best! Learn more

How to Organize Your Garage in One Weekend

The garage is one of those spaces that often serves as a “dump” zone. Not only does it house bikes, tools and lawnmowers, anything that can’t be stored inside tends to get shuffled off there. We have a few tips to help you organize your garage in a stress-free way that makes sense. Learn more

Snapshots From The Field

Our inspectors are always sharing interesting finds from the field.

What’s wrong with this picture?

You’d be surprised by how common this one is! Pictured here is an overhead light and electric ceiling fan in a bathroom . . . that’s been installed over a shower and tub.

Installing a suspended light and fan over an area where showering and bathing occurs is incredibly dangerous. Since electricity and water are a lethal combination, even a minor malfunction could lead to electrocution. While overhead lighting is obviously a must in every room of the house, including the bathroom, it must be well out of the way of the shower and/or bath, and preferably “wet” or “shower-location” rated by a professional. Local codes can vary when it comes to clearance, so be sure to do your research.

Maintenance Matters

How to Flush Your Hot Water Heater the Easy Way

We’ll bet on the fact that you haven’t thought about flushing your hot water heater in awhile—if ever. But, while it’s one of those tasks that’s easy to forget, it’s necessary for maintaining an efficient system that lasts for the duration of its life expectancy (about eight to 12 years). Learn more

What You Need to Know About Sandblasting

Sandblasting is the process of sanding a surface to remove rough edges or foreign materials. Sandblasting makes sanding much easier, as it is pressure-driven and easily reaches hard-to-sand areas like nooks and crannies. Learn more about the best uses for sandblasting. Learn more


Monthly Trivia Question

Question: True or False: The difference between a wet bar and a dry bar is that a dry bar has a sink built in.

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbucks’s gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.

March 2017: Spring Cleanups and Maintenance

Ask The Inspector

Spring Cleanups and Maintenance

Q. What tasks should I do around my house this spring?

A. That’s a great question, and the timing is perfect for our spring home maintenance checklist. Whether you’re a seasoned home owner or a first-time home owner, here are some of the things to check and prepare around the house as the weather warms up.

Ask The Inspector

Inside the house: Investigate the attic and the basement or crawl space for dampness or leaks. Check and change the furnace filter, as a dirty or clogged filter reduces the efficiency of your furnace. Make sure the sump pump (if present) is operating correctly — the last thing you want is for melting snow or heavy spring rains to flood your basement. Clean the clothes dryer exhaust, duct, damper and space under the dryer.

Walk around the exterior of the house: Inspect the foundation, basement and garage for signs of termite infestation. If you notice evidence of termites, call an exterminator. Check the windows for loose or missing putty/glazing, broken glass, foggy glass and damaged screens. If you have a deck, look for loose railings, wobbly stairs and deterioration, and make repairs as necessary. Other things to check are your walks, patios and driveways. If you notice cracks or broken areas, it’s time to fix them.

It’s also important to check your home’s siding for damage after winter’s storms. Check vinyl and aluminum siding for cracks. Check wood siding for peeling paint and damaged wood. Check brick veneer for cracks that are wider than 1/16 inch. Also, check for soft mortar joints or missing mortar.

Look up: Inspect the roof, flashing, chimney and gutters. Look for missing or lifting shingles; loose or missing flashing; cracks or damage to the chimney; and damaged or sagging gutters. Clean out debris from gutters and downspouts. Any of these problems can contribute to leaks and moisture inside your house.

Walk around the yard: Check the grading around the house — the ground should slope away from the house for proper drainage and to prevent water intrusion around the foundation. Check for overhanging tree limbs and trim any that touch the roof of your house or block pathways. Clean leaves and other debris away from the outdoor air conditioning unit.

Prepare equipment for yardwork season: Check the outside hose faucets for freeze damage. If you didn’t disconnect your garden hose in the fall, you may find a cracked hose bib. Check your gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment and tools to be sure they are ready for spring and summer use.

Be Advised

The Importance of Property Inspection

Any property requires maintenance to maintain comfort and value. Regular maintenance inspections by an unbiased inspection professional can help clarify and prioritize maintenance projects.

Be Advised

Living in a home, or walking in to a business each day, means tenants get used to minor imperfections, like uneven steps, cracks in the pavement or sticky doors. These easy-to-fix items may be more easily pinpointed by a new set of eyes – before they lead to greater safety hazards.

A record of regular maintenance inspections and follow-up re-inspections to insure that any safety issues or other findings are corrected promptly can help sell the property at a higher price in the future. Consider scheduling maintenance inspections at least once every 5 years or before starting a major remodeling project.

When hiring an inspector, look for someone who is a member of a professional organization, licensed if your state has licensing laws and complies with clear Standards of Practice and a Code of Ethics. Inspectors should also carry insurance and be willing to answer any follow-up questions after the inspection.

Snapshots From The Field

What’s Wrong With This Photo?
Snapshots From The Field

  1. This is better than no downspout.
  2. This downspout is probably not large enough to adequately disperse water out of the gutter.
  3. This is large enough to handle any amount of water collected in the gutter.
  4. This pipe makes it easy to connect any size downspout to the gutter.

Correct Answer 2.This downspout is probably not large enough to adequately disperse water out of the gutter.

Noteworthy News

Hiring Out Small Jobs

Spring is approaching quickly. It’s a great time to consider completing some of those remodeling and maintenance tasks that have been on the back burner. Not every project requires a contractor to oversee and coordinate. A local handyman may be able to handle one or two-day projects such as: painting, carpentry, hanging fans, drywall, hauling and yard work. The key is finding a trustworthy professional.

Noteworthy News

Try these tips to start:

  • Make a list of projects you need completed
  • Decide if you need a specialist, someone to paint hard-to-paint surfaces, or several rooms at once, or a generalist, a person who can organize and complete several small projects over a couple days.
  • Ask friends and family for the names of people they have used in the past.
  • Interview prospects in person to get a feel for their communication skills and professionalism.
  • Request references and follow up with them.
  • Check with the local Better Business Bureau to see if the person has had any negative feedback.
  • Ask for a written estimate and contract.
  • Never pay in cash, and withhold final payment until all work is completed.
  • Ask for proof of liability insurance.

Sometimes a specialist is needed on a job, but often a local handyman or general contractor can help you complete your projects. Take an inventory of all of the plans you’d like to get off the ground and start asking around for recommendations. Find the right professionals in your area to help make ideas become a reality.

Maintenance Matters

Gutter Maintenance

Keeping gutters clean and free of debris is essential to preventing them from failing. When gutters fail, water may be allowed to run into walls and windows, damage the paint, or filter into the foundation. However, not everyone has the time or the skill to balance on a ladder to periodically clean out the gutters. Several products are available to cover or guard the gutters and reduce the amount of maintenance.


  1. Open gutter guard systems use mesh screens, or screens with diamond or circular shaped holes to cover the top of the gutter. Water drips through the screen, while larger debris, such as leaves and nuts, falls over the sides of the gutter or eventually blows away in the wind. These systems must be properly anchored and rigid enough to avoid sagging under the weight of wet debris.
  2. Closed gutter guard systems have solid tops. They rely on the principle of surface adhesion. Water flows over a curved edge into horizontal holes on the sides of the guard while unwanted debris simply rolls off the edge.

Before selecting a specific gutter guard, consider the variety and amount of vegetation that exists on a particular property. Gutter covers or guards are good at keeping large and medium-sized particles out of the gutter. Smaller particles may find their way through the holes. Other options are increasing the size of the gutter itself, or hiring someone to periodically clean the gutters.

For Your Information

Be On The Lookout For These If You’re A Homeowner

Your home may be the largest purchase you ever make, so it’s worth your time to keep it in good repair. What you don’t want to do is create more work for yourself. The following are some common mistakes home owners often make in the name of maintenance or home improvement:

Ceiling fans: Ceiling fans are not ordinary light fixtures. Their weight, size and motion require extra support. Never hang a ceiling fan from a light fixture box or install it without the proper electrical connections or support. Improperly installed ceiling fans will be noisy and potentially dangerous.

Wooden fences: To help prevent wood-destroying insect (WDI) problems, keep wood — including fences — away from the walls and foundation of your home. Use decorative rocks or other materials instead of wood mulch, and avoid nailing wood fence posts to the walls of the house.

Permits: Before starting any home remodeling project, determine what permits and inspections are necessary. Check with your local building department or other regulatory agency to ensure that your project adheres to the proper safety and local building codes. This can save you money in the long run, and prevent problems when you sell the house.

Did You Know?

Proper Length of Downspout Extensions

What is the proper length for downspout extensions? The short answer is, “as long as it needs to be to divert the water away from the home’s foundation.” But how long is that?

It depends on the grading around the foundation. Gutter extensions will need to be longer for yards that slope toward the house than ones that slope away. Typically, the rule of thumb for downspout extensions is a minimum of 2 to 3 feet; however, if your grading is sloped toward the house, the extension may need to be 4 feet or longer to prevent water from accumulating around the foundation.

Monthly Trivia Question

To preserve its natural beauty, one of these 3 states has banned all outdoor advertising billboards.

  1. New Jersey
  2. Alaska
  3. Rhode Island

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbuck’s gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.

Radon Testing

Here are the U.S. EPA recommendations for radon testing during a real estate transaction.

Radon levels vary across the United States. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that all homes be tested for radon regardless of geographic location because of the link between radon and lung cancer. The EPA also recommends the following:

  • If you are buying a home or selling your home, have it tested for radon. You may purchase your own testing kit or hire a professional tester.
  • For a new home, ask if radon-resistant construction features were used and if the home has been tested.
  • Fix the home if the radon level is 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher.
  • Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases, may be reduced.

Take steps to prevent device interference when conducting a radon test. For more information about radon testing and buying or selling your home, visit the EPA’s Radon and Real Estate page.

Wood-Destroying Insects – Termites

In many states, a termite inspection is required as part of the loan approval process.

Wood-destroying insects, like termites, carpenter ants or wood-boring beetles, bore into or eat wood and cellulose products including wooden beams or floors in buildings. These insects’ territory covers a large part of the United States. If left untreated, wood-destroying insects can damage the integrity of a structure. If found, they are readily treated using a number of options.

A termite inspection allows both buyer and seller to know whether termites are present. Inspections should be done by a certified inspector who has been trained in the biology and habits of termites and other wood-destroying insects. The inspector will look for the presence of termites or evidence of their presence.

To help prevent wood-destroying insects from entering your home or business, eliminate soil contact with the building’s wood structure. To prevent moisture and insect damage, wood and soil should never come into contact. This includes fences, deck supports and porches. Wood siding should stop at least six inches above the soil. Bushes and trees should be trimmed back from the house, and wooden fences should never be nailed to the house.

Preparing for Your Home Inspection

A home inspector looks at the exterior, interior, and major systems of a home.

Home inspectors are not required, nor advised to move items blocking access to areas that need to be inspected. Failure to provide access to these areas during the inspection can lead to incomplete results, call-backs, additional fees and a frustrated buyer. To make the process as smooth as possible, it’s important to provide clear, open access to the following:

  • Attic access doors, which may be in a closet, hallway or garage
  • Crawlspace access doors
  • Water meter and main water line
  • Hot water heater and surrounding area
  • Furnace and surrounding area
  • Air conditioning units and surrounding area
  • Main electrical panel
  • Electrical sub panels
  • Remove decorative items from doors and windows (including sun catchers, plants, etc.)
  • Kitchen countertops, oven and dishwasher
  • Foundation walls, especially the corners of the basement
  • Garage overhead and service doors

Provide a Safe Place for Pets

Whether a prospective buyer, home inspector, appraiser or real estate agent is coming into your home, it’s important to provide a safe place for pets. This may mean a sturdy, appropriately-sized kennel in the home. It can also mean taking the pet to a friend or relative they are comfortable with until things are more settled.

Please remember, many of these professionals will need to view both the interior and exterior of the home, so simply putting pets in an open yard is not enough.

Home Inspection Checklist

A comparison sheet for consumers looking to find the right home. This checklist is intended to help homebuyers remember the positives and negatives of several properties.

Home Inspection Checklist

Infrared information

Infrared technology helps trained professionals scan the inside of walls and ceilings to find evidence of water intrusion, missing insulation and electrical hot spots. As a result, consumers have more information to make safety and energy efficiency improvements.

Infrared Imaging Information

NPI Sample Report

A PDF excerpt from an NPI residential property inspection.

NPI Sample Report