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.