Home Inspection Woes

Real Estate Agent with Associated Brokers Of Pagosa

Often times the most difficult and emotional portion of the home selling process revolves around the time allotted for the home inspection. There is something about our human nature that cares nothing for our home being picked apart by a guy with a flashlight and a tool-bag, only to have a list of "deficiencies" thrust at us a few days later based on his findings.

It's a personal space - our house. One that has been lovingly cared for, painted and repainted. That tile work in the kitchen took us all Spring and we don't mind at all the small gaps in the trim. We love the creak the door makes when entering from the garage, it's a kind of "welcome home" greeting after a hard days work. Why would these potential buyers see it any different?

I represented a couple of sellers once that always come to my mind when thinking on inspection issues. Bob and Linda were their names and they had a home on a few acres that they asked me to help them sell. (Only the names have been changed to protect the parties involved, the rest is 100% true...mostly) Right out of the gate in the listing presentation I attempted to give them a little warning. "Guys, I want to encourage you on one issue" I said. "When inspection time comes I want you  to have mentally reserved some money for repairs, $2500 maybe even $3500 dollars." " Oh sure we understand Chris." was the reply.

Several weeks and showings later we had a bonified offer for about 11% more than most of my collegues said we would be able to get for this house...I was ecstatic for them. When the inspection came through and the buyers were asking for a rebate of $3000 to do repairs I was even happier. Bob and Linda...not so happy. It seems that they had no problem with many of the inspection issues pointed out, and on second thought, maybe they did not want to sell after all. They took it very personally and late in the process I was not sure that they were going to follow through and sell no matter what the facts were. Dozens of very emotional phone calls and late nights of tears ensued. Bob felt very insulted even assaulted that the buyers wanted a few things repaired and upgraded. I was caught trying to protect them from themselves, and the contract that they had very willingly agreed to, due to an emotional flare up frustration.

Bob and Linda turned out to be a rather extreme case but there is almost always a certain level of personal rejection when a seller is confronted with the  not so perfect attributes of their home...and we all have those nuances about our residences.

Here are three things to remember that may help you as a home owner gain a little perspective when it come to the inspection portion of your home during the selling process:

It's negotiable- Just because a buyer asks for something to be corrected doesn't mean you HAVE to do it. A seller will often times present what is called an "Inspection Notice" with a list of requests on it. Sometimes they are asking for things that are not necessarily "must haves" but only "would likes". Ask for a lot, and get a little kind of thing. If your REALTOR® has good rapport with the selling agent sometimes these differences can be deciphered which will give you a better position to negotiate from.

It's calculable-Nine out of ten times there will be a few things minor or major that you will be asked to correct after an inspector does his work. If you prepare for that monetarily before hand, it makes the process much more bearable. Just plan on holding back an amount of money to use for those repairs. Ask your REALTOR® to help you spot possible issues so that you can do these estimations in the beginning.

It's business- Don't take it personally. This can be very difficult but remember that the buyers have no emotional attachment to your home yet. They have never had a family event or even a meal around the table. The buyers are simply looking for the best value that they can get at this point, which means that they want it to be perfect if possible.

The inspection portion of a home sale can be very tough but it doesn't have to be. If you are listing your home to sell ask your real estate professional about some of these things up front. Find out their strtegies help you through this part and what some of their past experiences of been like. This is only one piece of a sometimes complicated puzzle but if your REALTOR® is ready and prepared to help you it will take a great deal of anxiety out of this process.

 Watch for my interview with a home inspector if you want to gain insight into some of the common hang ups that are encountered through this process....coming soon.

Comments (8)

Kay Bennett
First Realty Company - Cookeville, TN
Your Best Cookeville Area Agent!
The home inspection can be very tricky in making a sale. 
Feb 06, 2008 12:46 AM
Brad Snyder
Sierra Vista Realty - Sierra Vista, AZ

I am a real estate agent in Sierra Vista, Arizona and have a real estate radio show here. I am interviewing a home inspector this weekend on my show and I am curious if you did your interview and if you have any good questions that you asked or would ask a home inspector. Thanks for any insight.


Feb 06, 2008 01:19 AM
Chris Liverett
Associated Brokers Of Pagosa - Pagosa Springs, CO
Pagosa Springs Real Estate

Brad- I have not yet done my interview with th inspector. Sorry. I have not brainstormed on the questions yet either.

Feb 06, 2008 01:34 AM
Michele Burris
Certified Building Inspectors - Orlando, FL
Great write up, you have a way with words. For the reasons you mentioned, we advocate a Pre-sale inspection. It tends to lead to a smoother transaction.  
Feb 06, 2008 02:24 AM
Joanne Hanson
Coldwell Banker Colorado Rockies Real Estate - Frisco, CO
Summit County, Colorado Realtor
A great post Chris.  I find that with second homes the Buyers tend to be even more picky as they don't want to have to maintain a second home as well as the first one.
Feb 10, 2008 02:40 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
That's funny - I've found that 2nd home buyers here have been very easygoing - they see it, they want it, no whining.  Of course the homes and condos have been relatively new, so didn't appear to pose a problem.
Feb 19, 2008 12:04 PM
Frank Ross
Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection of SW Utah - Saint George, UT

I am a home inspector here in SW Utah. Been doing home inspections 4 1/2 years, 1547 inspections to date.  When I finish a home inspection I go through the report on-site with the client. One thing I tell them is the home inspection report is NOT a fix it list for them or the home sellers. That this report is my evaluation of the home. You should next go over this report with your Relator and have him/her coach you with items you should have the sellers take care of. I tell them that I do not get involved with the price of the home and your Realtor may suggest that you take care of some of the items on your own, especially if you got a great deal on the price of the home, in order not to loose the deal.

One thing that I hear now and then about home inspectors is that the home inspector is a deal killer. Well, in some cases non trained inspectors can nick pick a home to death OR they can write up something in a way that is too extreme or harsh. BUT if your clients received a honest home inspection and the home had too many concerns then it is usually a good thing that the deal was broken and the clients went to find another home. The last thing I am sure any good Realtor wants is a phone call about THAT HOME YOU SOLD ME.

check out my website. www.pillarposthomeinspection.com  I serve SouthWest Utah, the cities of Cedar City, St. George, Santa Clara, Ivins, Bloomington, Enterprise, New Harmony and more.


Mar 01, 2008 08:36 PM
Dena Stevens
Rocky Mountain Realty - Canon City, CO
Putting The Real Into Realtor Since 2004
The up side is that you got the sellers to do the inspection up front. If things had gone differently and the house passed with a 100% and they got !00% of asking price it would have been a different story.
Mar 02, 2008 05:01 AM