The majority of the homebuyers in the Brooklyn area have learned, if you are going to buy a home costing several hundred thousands of dollars. Having a home inspection done for a few hundred dollars is a good idea. What they haven't learned is how to react to the pages of information the home inspector is going to give them. Chances are good the home inspector is going to find some little faults in every house they inspect. They may only be minor things, such as an electrical outlet, which isn't grounded, a furnace needed additional insulation, a door with dry rot, a less-than-perfect roof.
When should the buyer demand the seller make repairs and when should the seller refuse? Real estate brokers in Brooklyn will tell you if it is a buyer's market, the buyer will have more room for negotiation. If it is the seller's market, the buyer is limited in the clout they have over negotiations.
If all things were equal, buyers in Brooklyn, should ask sellers to make repairs and the buyer should pay for any upgrades.
It is advisable for seller to have home inspection done prior to putting the house up on the market. This enables the seller to make minor repairs before the negotiating table. They can also give the buyer a complete disclosure list, which is often a requirement of the contract.
As a seller, you want to work at providing a complete and thorough disclosure as possible so buyers will know what to expect. When a buyer finds something on their own, they begin to wonder what else he hasn't been told. You don't want the buyer to be suspicious you might not be telling him or her the whole truth.
As a buyer, it is still a good idea to schedule a home inspection of your own even thought, the seller has already had one. In some cases, the seller had a home inspection done, and then the buyer had a home inspection done. The only difference between the two was the roof. The first inspection reported the roof to be in better condition than the second inspection. So the buyer and the seller split the cost of the roof.
It is a good practice for buyers to always make their offer contingent on the results of a home inspection. As soon as the offer is accepted the buyer should schedule the home inspection. Should a problem arise, the buyer will have the opportunity to have the seller do the repairs, or back out of the contract all together.
Buyers and seller can search for their own home inspectors or they can go with the advice of a realtor who will recommend one for them. The cost of the home inspection will vary with the size of the house and the location. Usually a home inspection will run from $485 and up.
Once you have found your home inspector, it is a good idea to be present for the home inspection so that you can follow him around as he does his inspection of your possible new home. You will get to see first hand any problems he may uncover and you will get a detailed look at some of the mechanisms of your home, such as the water cut-off valve and the location of the septic tank.
After the inspection, it is pretty much up to the buyer to decide about the repairs they will ask the seller to have done. Trivial flaws are not even worth mentioning. Major problems, such as the roof, heating system, electric or plumbing you will want to give a second thought.
Sellers have a choice to make about the repairs. They may feel the market is hot and refuse to pay for anything. They may split the cost with you or they may agree to take care of everything.
When looking at the home inspectors report, you should note the difference in a repair and an upgrade. With an older home like many you will find in Brooklyn, a number of the items pointed out are upgrades, such as double-pane glass windows for an older home is an upgrade.
Necessary repairs not mentioned in the contract in the disclosure are generally the responsibility of the seller.
Written By Inspector Dennis Kanakis
Olympian Civil Home and Building Inspections
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