Sellers, if you haven’t lived through a home inspection or the after effects please listen up. These nice 40 page inspection reports can put a damper on the sale and on your otherwise lovely mood. I’ve seen it happen too many times and it’s so unnecessary I could just be sick.
Why can home inspections be deadly to a contract?
It’s not the inspection itself; it’s what the buyer and buyer’s agent does with the information or how the seller reacts that can be the hurdle. I’m talking about the demands many buyers’ place on sellers when they get the results. That combined with an over zealous real estate agent and seller’s nerves can be stretched too thin.
You, the seller are marketing a home you have enjoyed for 10 years, it’s in much better condition than when you bought it, but it’s 10 years older. So lets say you have a home that is 20 years old. The home inspector’s job is to carefully inspect all systems as well as the structure, electrical, plumbing and even appliances. So they see through eyes that are mostly black and white. It’s good or not. However, many like to report in subjective terms. So your homes been inspected and the inspector uses words to describe your roof; “looks like roof shingles have some wear and roof may be at end of it’s useful life.” I hate that; many would argue that this 60 year old realtor is at the end of his useful life, see where we can go with this. They may say the hot water heater appears old and close to end of useful life. The door knob upstairs bath is lose and on and on and on. Remember, this is a 20-year-old home we are talking about.
Don’t blame the inspector:
For the most part these inspectors do the best they can. I’ve argued with the best and their response is, “John, it’s my job to report what I find”, it’s the buyer’s job to decide what they want to do about it.
Avoid the drama by being prepared:
I have two suggestions for sellers. If you are very handy and have a critical eye you should be able to prevent many items on the list during the home preparation period. See my home preparation checklist. Let me be clear. You should not complete a full remodel of your home but you should take care of and repair any and all repair items that you are aware of before marketing.
Secondly, if you want to know how home inspectors think you could pay a seller’s inspection prior to marketing your home. Then focus your efforts on fixing and repairing the major items the inspector points out. Just remember if there are any material defects uncovered that you are not aware of you are obligated to tell your listing agent and the buyer.
Sellers can only control what sellers do:
My job is to prepare you for what may come and believe me, something will come. I discuss the pending home inspection with my seller early in the listing process.
Don’t take it personally; When you get the report you probably have already negotiated on closing costs for the buyer and the overall price so you are going to feel beat up, it’s just what happens. Keep emotions out of it, we are trying to get your home sold.
No knee jerk reactions:
please; Let us review the addendum requesting you fix a, b, c & d. Let’s not just go back with, heck no. The buyers were not prepared correctly if they ask for doorknobs to be tightened so we don’t want to respond in an equally unprepared manor. We will think it through and respond to reasonable items and possibly deny the balance. But we should discuss it at length before responding.
Posturing is 85% of the issue:
The buyer’s still feel it’s a buyers market and by god they think they deserve a near new house even though it’s 30 years old. So they push or worse yet their agents get them to push for every last thing on the list. Then often, seller’s respond with, “what the heck is wrong with these people, I’ve given them the moon.” Normal push and push back in today’s world.
So, let us not ruin an otherwise good transaction:
because we got a report or request for multiple items. Often it’s a smoke screen and the buyer is testing or they are scared. Home inspections have a purpose, whether you like it or not, in 90% of home sales, they must be dealt with. My suggestion is to remain calm, discuss your options with your agent and move forward.