For both buyers and sellers, perhaps the most stressful part of selling a home is the home inspection. Home buyers want a property with no issues, and sellers want to sell their home without making additional repairs. The home inspection process is ripe with potential surprises on both sides.
A home inspector’s job is to find every conceivable problem in a home and report back to the buyer. From electrical to plumbing, furnace to roof, the inspector looks at all of the components of the home and provides a lengthy, detailed report. Rarely will an inspection report highlight all of the items that are in great condition. Instead, it can be a lengthy list of everything that is wrong.
A home inspector will also lean towards the negative aspects of the property. While they may point out new or upgraded items, their job is to find the issues that could affect the new owners down the road.
Inspections – The Seller’s Perspective
As a seller, the inspection can be an unwanted laundry list of issues and surprises. Getting a fifty-page report of the problems they didn’t know about their home can become personal. After all, more often than not, the sellers have lived in that home and haven’t been aware of the problems. The information from the inspector can seem to be nit-picking, over-the-top and unfair.
Here are three tips for sellers when going through the home inspection process:
1. Do your own pre-inspection before listing the property. By hiring an inspector ahead of time, many of the issues they buyers will find will show up and can be addressed beforehand. It’s always good to know what to expect and avoid unwanted surprises.
2. Know what you are willing, and not willing to address, for a buyer. Often, health and safety issues like broken windows, missing smoke detectors and exposed wiring, are must-do items, and will prevent a buyer from getting loan approval. If you are not willing to fix the issues, look for cash buyers.
3. Don’t take it personally. Remember, the inspector’s job is to point out every issue they can find on the property. It’s all about the transaction and isn’t a personal attack.
As a buyer, the inspection is a one-time opportunity to find everything that may be wrong with the home before they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. The buyer will rely on the home inspector to provide a thorough review of every potential problem, and will in turn ask the seller to fix the problems. With an inspection report that is fifty pages or more, it can make the home look like it is riddled with problems.
Here are three tips for buyers when going through the home inspection process:
1. Always do an inspection. Waiving an inspection is a sure way to end up with a property full of problems. Also, do the inspection early in the purchasing process, so there is time for repairs to be made by the seller if needed.
2. Be reasonable in repair requests. While issues should be addressed, an unrealistic list will provide an opportunity for the seller to back out of the transaction altogether.
3. Be willing to back out of a sale if the issues are too big, or the seller isn’t willing to help correct major problems. While the home you buy will never be perfect, don’t fall into a money pit.
The home inspection is a difficult period in the home buying process. Finding an electrical panel that is known to cause fires, or discovering the roof has reached the end of its useful life and isn’t covered by insurance are just a couple of examples that can kill a deal. Being willing to negotiate on both sides, plus being reasonable with requests, will help keep the sale moving forward to a successful closing.
Jim Brown is a Realtor® and Success Leader at Private Label Realty in Denver, Colorado. He advises, assists and mentors agents at all levels to help them succeed and grow their real estate business. He routinely performs his own stunts and writes crazy amounts of content. www.JimBrown.me