When working with sellers, I always recommend they consider doing pre-sale inspections.
Why, they ask, when the buyers will typically order their own set of inspections during the contingency period.
Inspections are a risk-management tool, allowing the homeowner to discover unknown issues that might have an impact on the price down the road. Typically, I see sellers able to rectify problems using their own contractor at a lower cost than waiting for the buyer to make the initial discovery and then attempting to renegotiate their offer price.
The general home inspection should include an assessment of all the systems including the foundation, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, crawlspace, interiors, exterior siding, doors, windows, appliances and framing. In some circumstances, the home inspector might recommend getting a specialist to further evaluate an issue outside his or her area of expertise.
A pest inspection is another that I always recommend. These inspectors look for subterranean and wood-destroying termites, beetles and other insects, plus mold infestations, water damage and dry rot.
When working with buyers, I strongly recommend they order any and all inspections and reports that will give them the information they need to feel comfortable when moving forward with the purchase. In addition to home and pest inspections, I also suggest they consider inspections of the chimney, roof, sewer lateral and a pool/spa if there is one on the property. The inspectors I work with spend hours at the property, factually reporting their findings and offering recommendation on repairs, replacements, or other specialists for further investigations. Once we know about issues needing repair or replacement, I arrange to get a couple of contractors to bid on the work in order to justify any price adjustments.
An agent has a duty to complete a visual inspection of each home they help a buyer purchase or a seller to sell. However, we do not crawl under the house, up in the attic, pull pictures off walls, etc. We are not licensed, certified inspectors. We understand there is a cost to all inspections, but it is still the best bet to avoiding future surprises down the road.