If there is only one thing I recommend anyone do in preparing their home to sell, it would be getting their home inspected and making as many repairs as reasonably possible prior to putting their home on the market. The benefits of doing this are twofold. First, it gives the seller more leverage to negotiate the best price and terms in the sale of their home. Second, it gives the buyer a greater peace of mind that the home is in good condition prior to entering into a contract to purchase the home. Furthermore, the contract is less likely to be renegotiated or fall through during the critical period of the due diligence process. Think of it this way, if you were looking to buy a pre-owned car from a reputable dealer, they will check it out and certify that the vehicle is in good condition before they sell it to you. Makes sense this would be the best way to sell your home for top dollar, right?
Having said this, I recognize that getting your home inspected before putting it on the market may not be the best course of action for every seller. For example, if the seller doesn’t have the money to make needed repairs, the seller should be prepared to expect the unexpected. If a buyer enters into a contract and their home inspector uncovers a lot of issues with the home, they will surely want to renegotiate the contract by amending the purchase price, or even worse, exercise their option to terminate the contract during the due diligence period. An exception to this scenario would be if the home is priced aggressively to sell where most of the issues are observable and obvious, such as noticeable wood rot, an old and worn out roof or HVAC, or foundation cracks. In this case, such deferred maintenance will be factored into the price and what you see is pretty much all there is. In this event both the buyer and seller would have a mutual understanding that the home is being sold “as is”.