Real estate activity and prices are finally on the increase after years of a struggling real estate market. Many people who have stayed in their homes simply because they didn’t think they could afford to sell are starting to consider putting their homes on the market.

If you’re one of those people, it’s important to know that the market is still somewhat sluggish, and that your home needs to be presented and priced appropriately if you want to get a buyer in a reasonable time. Consult with your real estate professional for advice on pricing and staging to get maximum traffic through your home and to get your best chance of a solid offer in a reasonable period of time.

But, if your home is older, or if you’ve lived in your home for a significant number of years, you may also want to get a home inspection done before you put your home on the market. This may seem like an unnecessary step, since your buyers will most likely order their own inspection, but it can actually save you time, money and a lot of headache to have an inspection done yourself.

If you have an older home, or you’ve lived in your home for a long time, you may not realize that potential problems have developed. Having a home inspection performed will alert you ahead of time to what the buyer’s inspector is likely to find. By having the inspection done yourself, you can anticipate problems, and even fix them so that they are not an issue for the potential buyer.

When you wait until the buyer’s inspector finds problems, you run two risks. The first is that the buyer may be so upset by the problems that they back out of the contract. The second is that you may be forced to spend money on repairs that you didn’t anticipate having to spend in order to keep your buyer. This can be a real blow to the wallet, especially if your buyer has already been able to negotiate down the price of the house.

When you have your own inspection performed, you may be able to save some money by making some of the repairs yourself, too. You’ll likely find that you don’t have time to make all the repairs yourself once you’re headed for closing with your buyer.

We all think of the inspection as the buyer’s job. But smart sellers know when having their own inspection performed is in their best interest.