Imagine what happens when there is not a pre-listing inspection. The buyer contracts for the home with a provision for professional home inspection. When it is made, there could be things that the buyer didn't expect or even, anticipate. If it doesn't trigger an action to terminate the contract, the buyer will inevitably, ask the seller to make all the repairs.
When presented with the buyer's request, the seller may take the opposite position of not wanting to do any of the repairs. The buyer could accept the property in its "as is" condition or negotiate the repairs or a reduced price with the seller.
Any experienced agent can tell you that sometimes a mutually agreed negotiation is reached and other times, an impasse is met that cannot be resolved. The contract is terminated, and the house has to go back on the market but this time, a disclosure has to be made to all parties looking at the home which may deter showings.
Taking a pro-active approach, by obtaining a pre-listing inspection, the seller can find out about things that will probably show up in a buyer's inspection. They can get them repaired before the home is shown and it will help the buyer feel more confident with the home. Another option would be to disclose them as not working and make a price adjustment, either way, the seller is in control and is taking a position of transparency with potential buyers.
In some cases, the pre-listing inspection may show things in working order that the buyer's inspection indicates as needing repair. With two disinterested parties having opposing opinions, negotiations have a more likely chance for a mutual agreement.
Disclosing things that are not in working order can reduce liability in the future. Some deficiencies with the home are not discovered prior to the closing and the surprise issues could lead to liability. The pre-listing inspection by a professional combined with the seller disclosing it properly can reduce potential liability.
For the small investment in the pre-listing inspection, the benefits are well worth the expense. You and potential buyers will have a better idea of the condition of your property and know what to expect. You can present the property in a transparent way that will build confidence with the buyer. You'll avoid unpleasant surprises as well as possible delays. Pre-listing inspections can lead to faster sales and satisfaction for everyone involved.
For more information, download the Sellers Guide.