top of page
  • Writer's pictureZephien Team

What is a pre-inspection and why do they matter

What is a Pre-Inspection?

A pre-inspection is an essential step in the real estate selling process that can help save time and money for both the buyer and seller. This type of inspection, also known as a pre-listing inspection, is conducted by a licensed and reputable home inspector prior to listing a property for sale. A pre-inspection report provides valuable information about the current condition of the home, including potential and major defects, hidden issues, and repair costs. Let's explore the benefits of conducting a pre-inspection for both buyers and sellers in the real estate industry!

pre-inspection houses

Benefits of Conducting a Pre-Inspection

Conducting a pre-inspection is beneficial for both buyers and sellers in the real estate industry. This type of inspection can provide peace of mind and help make informed decisions during the sale process. By hiring a licensed and reputable home inspector, buyers can gain knowledge about the home's current condition before making an offer. At the same time, sellers can address any glaring issues that could potentially affect the sale of their home.

One of the primary advantages of pre-inspections is the identification of problems and giving time for necessary repairs. Sellers can address issues prior to listing, which can save time and money during the negotiation process. The pre-inspection report can also help the seller determine a reasonable listing price by ensuring transparency and avoiding surprises later on. This inspection could be the difference between a contract of the sellers' dreams closing, or falling through.

For the buyers, a pre-inspection can identify major defects, allowing them to make an informed decision about whether to proceed with the purchase of the home. This helps avoid any surprises that could potentially cause stress or financial burden later on. Additionally, a clean bill of health from the pre-inspection report can provide peace of mind to buyers that the home is in good condition.

By conducting a pre-inspection, both buyers and sellers can enter the negotiation process with knowledge of the home's condition and potential issues, making more informed decisions. Pre-inspections can also provide a level of transparency that can be helpful in building trust between the parties.

The benefits of conducting a pre-inspection are significant for both buyers and sellers. It allows for informed decisions, gives peace of mind, helps set reasonable prices, and avoids surprises. By investing in a pre-inspection, both parties can be confident in their understanding of the home's current condition and avoid stress and potential financial loss during the sale process.

How to Prepare for a Pre-Inspection

Preparing for a pre-inspection is crucial for both buyers and sellers alike. Adequate preparation can help ensure the process goes smoothly and can give a better understanding of the home's current condition. This section will provide preparation tips to help both parties get ready for the pre-inspection process as well as give an overview of what to expect during the inspection itself.

Preparation Tips

A pre-inspection agreement is an essential document that outlines the scope and terms of the inspection. Here are some effective preparation tips that can help you make the most of your pre-inspection agreement:

1. Have the agreement reviewed by a reliable attorney

To ensure that your pre-inspection agreement is clear and concise, it is recommended that you have it reviewed by a reliable attorney with knowledge of current state codes. A qualified attorney will be able to help you identify any loopholes or vague language, and ensure that the agreement is legally binding.

2. Organize your text

It is essential to organize the text in your pre-inspection agreement in a logical and easy-to-understand manner. Use appropriate fonts, spaces, and headings to make the agreement easy to navigate. Technical details like inspection timelines, the scope of work, and deliverables should be clearly explained.

3. Identify key elements of the home inspection

Be sure to identify key elements of the home inspection in the agreement. These may include the inspection of major systems like plumbing, electrical, and HVAC, as well as the inspection of structural elements like the roof, foundation, and walls. Clearly outlining what will and will not be inspected can help avoid any misunderstandings or disputes.

4. Clean the house

Before the inspection, it's essential to clean the house thoroughly. This will allow the inspector to access all areas of the home without any obstructions. A clean home also gives the impression that the home is well-maintained, which can improve the overall impression of the property.

5. Test all lighting fixtures and appliances

Make sure to test all lighting fixtures and appliances before the inspection. This can help identify any potential issues and ensure that the inspector can make an accurate assessment of the overall condition of the home.

6. Open closed spaces

It's important to open all closed spaces like attics and basements before the inspection. This allows the inspector to access these areas and evaluate their overall condition. If these spaces are inaccessible, it can lead to incomplete inspection reports and potential issues with the home sale process.

By following these preparation tips, you can ensure that your pre-inspection agreement is well-prepared and effective in protecting both buyers and sellers in the real estate transaction.

What to Expect During the Inspection

Knowing what to expect during the pre-inspection process is crucial to preparing adequately and getting the most out of the inspection. One of the first things to do is to hire a professional home inspector who is certified by reputable organizations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).

The home inspector will perform a comprehensive evaluation of the property, covering items on a checklist specific to the areas of the home to be inspected.

The inspection will cover critical areas of the house, including the structure, electrical and plumbing systems, as well as appliances, garage, basement areas, rooms in the house, yard, deck, and porch.

During the inspection process, the inspector will pay special attention to identifying any potential issues, such as visible damages, defects in the foundational structure, potential safety hazards and repair needs.

Upon completion of the inspection, the home inspector will prepare a report containing all the essential findings, noting the significant issues detected, and any recommended repairs.

By having a clear understanding of what to expect during the pre-inspection process, as well as hiring a professional home inspector from reputable organizations such as ASHI or InterNACHI and specifying areas to inspect and inspection items, one can adequately prepare for inspection and be assured that any issues will be thoroughly identified and documented.

Who Should Do the Pre-Inspection?

When it comes to pre-inspections, it is essential to find a professional home inspector who can provide an objective and thorough assessment of your property. Choosing the right inspector is critical as it can make or break the sale process. Therefore, it is recommended to hire a qualified and experienced inspector who understands the intricacies of the real estate industry. In the following sections, we will discuss what to look for in a home inspector and the qualifications that make them reliable and trustworthy.

Choosing a Professional Home Inspector

A pre-inspection is a valuable step in any real estate transaction as it allows potential buyers and sellers to gain a comprehensive understanding of the current condition of the property. However, the quality of the inspection and the inspector's expertise can heavily influence the selling process. Therefore, it is crucial to choose a professional and qualified home inspector.

One way to ensure the inspector's reliability is to look for inspection professionals who are members of either the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). These organizations maintain high standards of practice and ethics, which guarantees that the member inspectors perform their examinations to an expected level of excellence.

Additionally, your real estate agent can be a great source of reliable home inspector recommendations. Agents work with inspectors regularly and can provide useful insights based on their experience. Nevertheless, while receiving recommendations from real estate agents can be useful, it is still essential to do your research by asking potential inspectors about their qualifications, experiences, and references before hiring them.

A qualified and professional home inspector should have a license to perform inspections, specialized training in the field, and vast practical experience. Verify with the inspector if they possess the requisite skill set and knowledge to evaluate aspects such as structural integrity, major systems, and potential issues that can impact the property's value.

By choosing a professional home inspector that is a member of NAHI, ASHI, or recommended by your real estate agent, you can be confident that you will get a detailed, trustworthy pre-inspection report. Interview potential inspectors thoroughly and select a qualified inspector to make an informed decision when it comes to buying or selling a house.

Qualifications to Look For in an Inspector

When choosing a professional home inspector, it is crucial to ensure that they possess the necessary qualifications to conduct a thorough and reliable pre-inspection. The qualifications to look for include membership in either the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

Inspectors who belong to these organizations are required to undergo specialized training and adhere to strict ethical standards. As a result, they can be trusted to perform the pre-inspection to the highest industry standards.

Aside from membership in these organizations, it is also essential to choose an inspector who has experience and a good reputation in the industry. An experienced inspector is more likely to detect problems that may have been overlooked by a less seasoned inspector. Additionally, by choosing an inspector with a good reputation, you can be confident that you are working with someone who has provided reliable and high-quality inspections to past clients.

Another crucial qualification to look for in an inspector is their knowledge of local building codes and regulations. An inspector who is familiar with these codes and regulations can help identify any issues that are not in compliance with them. This can help ensure that you are aware of any potential concerns that need to be addressed before selling or buying the property.

By choosing an inspector with the necessary qualifications, experience, knowledge, and insurance coverage, you can have peace of mind knowing that your pre-inspection is conducted to the highest industry standards.

Major Systems Covered in a Pre-Inspection Report

A thorough pre-inspection report covers a range of major systems within a property, providing potential buyers with the necessary information to make an informed decision about their investment. The report should detail the current condition of the structure, as well as its various components and systems. The following sections will outline the key points to look for when reviewing a pre-inspection report, including structural components and foundations, plumbing systems, electrical systems, heating and cooling systems, and roofing systems. By understanding these major systems, buyers can better assess any potential issues and make the best decision possible.

Structural Components and Foundations

Structural components and foundations are critical parts of any home inspection. During a pre-inspection, it's important to thoroughly examine these areas to identify any major defects or potential issues that could affect the sale. Any savvy real estate agent knows that a property cannot be listed for sale without first checking its structural integrity and foundation.

In a pre-inspection of structural components and foundations, the inspector will examine the foundation walls, support beams, and columns. They will need to identify any cracks in the walls or floors, uneven floors, or moisture issues in the basement. These problems can be signs of major defects and must be addressed before the property can be listed.

A major defect in the foundation could drastically impact a property's value, and in some cases, even the safety of its inhabitants. For example, if one or more foundation walls are severely cracked or crumbling, it can indicate that the entire foundation is failing. Similarly, if support beams have been compromised or aren't properly fastened, it could lead to major structural issues down the line.

Other potential issues to keep an eye out for during a structural and foundation inspection include weak flooring, sagging rooflines, and bulging walls. These common problems can be detected early on and can be resolved with timely repairs. Addressing these issues is crucial for maintaining the value of the property before listing it for sale.

Plumbing System

Inspecting the plumbing system during a pre-inspection is crucial to ensure that the home's value and safety are not compromised. Potential plumbing issues, such as leaks, corrosion, and clogs, can be detected during a pre-inspection. These issues can be indicators of deeper problems that can ultimately result in costly repairs and affect the sale of the property.

Leaks in the plumbing system can be hidden and result in water damage or even mold growth. Corrosion can affect the water quality and lead to health hazards. Clogs can cause plumbing backups that can damage the home's interior. Addressing these issues before listing the property can prevent any further damage and make the property more appealing to potential buyers.

If any major issues are found during the pre-inspection, it's essential to have a licensed plumbing professional address them. These professionals can evaluate and repair any plumbing defects to ensure the system works properly. They can also provide recommendations to improve the plumbing system's efficiency and lifespan.

During a pre-inspection, the plumbing system's key components should be inspected, including the water heater, pipes, valves, pumps, and toilets. These components play an essential role in ensuring the overall plumbing system is functioning properly. Additionally, checking the age and condition of these components can assist in determining the property's overall value.

Electrical System

The electrical system is a fundamental part of any home, powering all lights, appliances, and devices. As a home inspector, evaluating the electrical system's current condition and identifying potential issues should always be a priority in the inspection process.

Inspecting the electrical system is vital as it ensures that the property's occupants are safe from any electrical hazards. Faulty electrical wiring, outdated systems, overloaded circuits, and inadequate grounding can all lead to a host of problems for the homeowner, including electrical shocks, power surges, and even fires. Therefore, thoroughly examining the electrical system can provide valuable insight into the property's safety and value.

When inspecting the electrical system, an inspector should look at the electrical panel, wiring system, and GFCI outlets, among other components. Inspecting these ensures that they are in proper working condition and that the home's electrical system functions safely.

Potential defects that an inspector may find include faulty wiring, damaged or outdated systems, overloaded circuits, and inadequate grounding. An inspector should also check for visible corrosion, damaged wiring, and the presence of ungrounded or two-pronged outlets. Identifying these issues and reporting them in the inspection report can assist in informing potential buyers and sellers of any repairs or upgrades that may be needed.

Heating and Cooling System

The heating and cooling systems are crucial to a home's livability and comfort. As a pre-inspection is conducted, it is essential to give these systems proper attention as potential issues can significantly impact the value of a property.

Inspectors should start by ensuring that the HVAC unit is functional and well-maintained. This includes checking the furnace, air conditioner, heat pump, and any other components that make up the heating and cooling system. The inspector should also verify that the units are the appropriate size for the home and that they are in good condition.

Next, it is essential to inspect the ductwork, thermostat, and air filters. Ductwork is responsible for distributing hot or cold air throughout the home. It should be evaluated for any leaks, poor insulation, or blockages, all of which can negatively impact its efficiency. Concerning the thermostat, it's vital to ensure it is functioning correctly and that it is correctly calibrated. Inspectors should also remind potential buyers to check the location of the thermostat, as it can significantly impact energy efficiency.

The air filter should also be thoroughly inspected during the pre-inspection. A dirty or clogged filter can hinder the unit's performance and can also lead to air quality issues. Inspectors should encourage potential buyers to change the air filter regularly to maintain the system's efficiency and prevent potential health hazards.

To properly test the system, the inspector should turn it on at different levels of intensity and observe any unusual sounds or odors. Unusual smells or noises can indicate issues that may need to be addressed, including malfunctioning components, clogs, or other problems.

Besides assessing the heating and cooling systems' interior, it's also vital to evaluate the exterior components by inspecting the unit's condition, looking for signs of rust, damage, or leaks. Inspectors should look for leaks in the ductwork connections and ensure that the outdoor unit has proper clearance and access.

Roofing System

The roofing system is an essential aspect of any home's structure, as it protects the property and occupants from the elements. It is crucial to inspect the roofing system during a pre-inspection to identify any potential defects that may cause significant issues down the line. Roof repairs can be costly, and discovering defects after the sale can be a frustrating experience for buyers.

During a pre-inspection, it is critical to assess the condition of the roof thoroughly. The inspector should check for possible defects such as leaks, damaged flashings, missing shingles or tiles, or poor installation. Identifying these issues beforehand can help buyers negotiate repairs or renegotiate the asking price if necessary.

The inspector should investigate the roof deck, eaves, fascia and soffits, and chimneys during the pre-inspection. These areas can reveal potential issues such as water damage, rotting, or structural issues. Checking the gutters and downspouts is also crucial as they play a vital role in redirecting water away from the property. Visible signs of wear such as rust or cracks can indicate potential issues that should be addressed before closing the sale.

Potential Issues Detected During an Inspection

During a pre-inspection, there are a variety of potential issues that can be detected, ranging from minor repairs to major defects. Structural damages can be particularly concerning, as they can compromise the safety and stability of the property. Common sources of structural damages include termite infestations, water damage, and foundation issues. If any of these issues are identified during the pre-inspection, it's crucial to address them before listing the home or committing to a purchase as a buyer.

Plumbing and electrical problems are also frequently detected during pre-inspections. These issues can range from minor leaks or faulty outlets to more severe concerns such as outdated or hazardous wiring. Any problems with the plumbing or electrical systems can impact the safety and functionality of the home, so it's important to address them promptly. Depending on the severity of the problem, sellers may need to hire a licensed plumber or electrician to make repairs, while buyers may want to negotiate a lower price or stipend to account for the costs of repairs.

Roofing issues can also surface during pre-inspections. As mentioned earlier, the roofing system is a key component of any home, so any issues with the roof can be particularly concerning. Common issues include leaks, missing shingles, or other types of damage. These problems can lead to costly repairs if left unaddressed, making it essential for buyers and sellers alike to address them promptly.

Finally, major defects can be identified during a pre-inspection as well. These can include issues with the HVAC system, the foundation, or other major systems within the home. Depending on the severity of the defect, buyers may need to request that the seller make repairs before the sale or negotiate a lower price to account for the cost of repairs.

In summary...

Pre-inspections are a crucial part of the real estate process, as they help identify potential issues and defects before listing or buying a home. If any issues are detected, it's important to address them promptly to avoid complications down the line. Depending on the issue, buyers and sellers may need to hire contractors or specialists to conduct repairs, negotiate a lower price or stipend, or make other arrangements to address the issue before moving forward with the sale. A pre-inspection allows the seller to be prepared for all of the above in advance without jeopardizing any offers they wish to move forward with.

Modern House

Our Top Agent Program

Who's the expert in your neighborhood?

Our partner agents possess a combination of exceptional communication skills, market knowledge, and a proven track record of delivering exceptional results. They have years of experience and have established a reputation for excellence, working with numerous clients and property types to provide expert guidance and advice.

Their extensive knowledge of the local market and industry trends enables them to accurately price properties, develop effective marketing strategies, and negotiate the best deals possible for their clients. They have a proven track record of delivering exceptional results, often selling properties at or above the asking price and helping clients find their dream homes or investment properties.


Learn more about how we pick our partners here.




(833) 937-4436


For Home Buyers/Sellers:

For Agents:

For General Inquiry:

Meet your expert

Meet your expert


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Youtube
bottom of page