Pat Kennedy - Your Washington, DC Real Estate Connection


Should You Rely On The Sellers' Pre Inspection?

When you are buying your Washington area home, should you rely on the seller' pre inspection?

You've found a perfect place.  It' gorgeous.  You love it.  The price is right.  And your agent (rightly) expects there will be a bunch of offers.

Oh No!  Bidding War! 

And it's the equivalent of buying a certified pre-owned Mercedes.  The seller has a report from a licensed home inspector saying there are no problems - the house is perfect.  

So as you are thinking about how to craft a winning offer in a competitive situation.  Do you fore-go the home inspection?


Some of my favorite clients bought a FSBO without me, and they relied on the seller's inspector's report.  When they sold a few years later, the buyer's inspector came up with stuff that should  have been, but was not, on the original report.

So if you were my client, I would advise you to get your own report.  If you are in a competitive situation, you can always have the house pre-inspected by your own inspector, and if you are  OK with what he finds, you can put in an offer without a home inspection contingency.  

If you are not in a competitive situation, include a home inspection contingency, again,  UNLESS JAY MARKANICH  DID THE PRE -PRE-INSPECTION for the seller, hire him to do one for you!



Comment balloon 21 commentsPatricia Kennedy • May 16 2011 10:45PM



A home inspection performed by a Seller should build confidence in a buyer. 
It should make the Buyer confident that they are not wasting time and money on their OWN home inspection.  Seller preinspection is never a substitute for Buyer inspection.

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 9 years ago


Wow, what a cool shoutout for Jay. Very nice. Jay is a rare breed who, being not a agent, built excellent following

Posted by Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL, Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices (Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408) over 9 years ago

A pre-listing inspection is a great idea, but a buyer should always get his own. No inspection reveals everything, so two is good!

Posted by Leslie Ebersole, I help brokers build businesses they love. (Swanepoel T3 Group) over 9 years ago

Patricia, great plug for Jay.  Home inspections reveal so much.  I never recommend my buyers purchase a property without having a home inspection done (unless,l as you say, they have someone like Jay who has already inspected it.)

Posted by Vickie Slade, Service You Can Trust ~ Someone You Can Depend On (Colorado Landmark, Realtors) over 9 years ago

Patricia, seller's inspections have a different motive - to identify if any issues with the home and conditions of big ticket items (that's what I recommend.)

Buyers sure should not rely on seller's inspections - or should I say, pre-list inspections?

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) over 9 years ago

Seems to me that, if a buyer is going to rely on a seller's inspection report, they might as well rely also on the seller's list price, the seller's recommended loan officer, the seller's selection of title company, etc. 

Oh, and the seller's agent too!

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Yes, it's best to have your own objective inspector.  Nice shout out to Jay.  he's a great one to have on your side.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 9 years ago

I just ran across this Pat!  Thank you very much!  By the way, your second link gives people the opportunity to write a blog post for me!  Pretty cool, but shouldn't I write my own?    ;>)

For years I have tried to break into this "pre-inspection" market, without success.  But my objective would be to tell people what to do prior to listing, not to give them a bill of health!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Definitely have another set of eyes! Period. Even with the best of intentions, something  can be missed so have your own inspection.

Posted by Dick and Dixie Sells, Realtors, Tampa Bay Florida Homes For Sale (Sells Real Estate, LLC) over 9 years ago

Pat, I consider a pre inspection more of a tool for the seller to use before listing the house. I would not suggest buyers rely on it! You did a great job of pointing that out!


Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 9 years ago

Good morning Pat,

I agree with Andrea. I've always considered a pre-inspection strictly as a marketing tool for the seller. The buyer should still get the home inspected!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899) over 9 years ago

What a great plug for Jay!  And well deserved.  I think every inspector will find different issues, and a pre-inspection gives the buyer peace of mind that the seller cares enough to lay the cards on the table, but yes, they should get their own too unless really pinching pennies.

Posted by Coral Gundlach, Real Lives. Not Just Real Estate. (Compass) over 9 years ago

I definitely would not rely on a seller's inspection regardless of who did the inspection.  I think both inspections have different intentions.

Posted by Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh, A doctor who makes house calls. (Century 21 New Millennium) over 9 years ago

A pre-inspection is a good idea for the seller to understand what they need to fix.  For our buyers, we always recommend a new inspection.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 9 years ago

Oh my - of course your own inspection is always best.  Having both to compare is always good too.

Posted by Paula McDonald, Ph.D., Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Beam & Branch Realty) over 9 years ago

For sure. For one thing, if there is a huge mistake made, the buyer has no legal standing with the previous report done for another client. They will be sobbing in their curdled milk and that is all they can do.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 9 years ago

I have heard of Jay.  Isn't he a star or something?  I will have to check out his blog.  Thanks, Pat.

Posted by Ron Marshall, Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire (Marshall Enterprises) over 9 years ago

I agree completely, but not for the reasons stated. I have my sellers do pre-inspections all of the time, and it never fails that they 1/ either do not everything as they promise me they will, or 2/ some darm inspector just can't read my lips when I say "pretend we have a buyer with you".

Posted by Virginia Gardner, Realtor, Charlottesville, Serving Central Virginia (Roy Wheeler Realty Co.) over 9 years ago

Hi Pat, Great endorsement for Jay. We don't have licensed home inspectors here in CA. They get a certification after a course and competency test. I always recommend Licensed Contractors or Engineers for my Buyers. If a seller had a report, I would still recommend a Licensed Contractor or Engineer to do the report but the Seller Inspection can be useful as a starting point in the Buyer's investigation of the property. ( BTW, their inspections and reports are about the same $$ as others)

Posted by William Johnson, Retired Real Estate Professional (Retired) over 9 years ago

Pat - from the raving reports I have gotten from both you and Cindy, Jay is indeed the man to hire up in your area!!! What a great post!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 9 years ago

Patricia, Even when it is a relocation and a complete inspection has been done I still recommend the buyer's have their own inspection.  We do have licensed inspector's here in Texas but they still vary to the degree of what they inspect.  I recommend a guy who many agents won't use because he is nit picky but I make my clients aware that he is going to find all kinds of stuff and it is a used house. They can then make their own decisions based on what he finds.

Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) over 9 years ago