Pre-inspect your house to anticipate buyer's inspector

Here's an interesting trend: sellers paying for a pre-inspection of their home to prepare for the buyer's home inspector visit.

In other words, if you're selling a house, an interested buyer will have it checked out by a home inspector. If you're a seller, it seems logical to have a pre-inspection to learn what's wrong and possibly erase any leverage the buyer will suddenly have if they can say, "I'd love to pay your asking price, but I've noticed the roof leaks a little..."

As far as trends go, these pre-inspections have been around since at least the early 1990s (or that's when the media started picking up on the trend and began writing about the practice), but apparently, as it's getting more difficult to sell a house, it's happening with increased frequency. Scott Haiduck, who owns an AmeriSpec Home Inspection Service, in Chicago, says that from 2003 to 2006, he averaged 12 pre-listing inspections every year.

Last year, that figure nearly tripled to 34.