Home Inspection Responses have been nothing but a thorn in my side for my listings and with my agents this summer!
To me – home inspection responses are nothing but re-negotiation of the original contract. The “cleaner” the response is, the easier your negotiations will be. We are even blessed in our market to have a formal form for the buyer’s response called “Buyer’s Response to Home Inspection and Request for Repairs.” Unfortunately with 7 years existence of this particular form: SOME AGENTS STILL DO NOT KNOW THIS EXISTS!!!!!
Here is my “DO & DON’T List” for home buyers & home sellers when reacting to a home inspection:
DON’T – yell, scream, negotiate verbally or put repair requests on a “generic addendum.”
DO – Put repair requests on the formal addendum specifically designed for home inspections. Oh, and be nice. You catch more flies with honey than you do with sh*t.
DON’T – exceed your repair allowance limit added to the original purchase agreement, unless there was some serious findings that inhibit habitability or financing of the property.
DO – show good faith to the sellers that you wish to adhere to the contract. If you need a COE extension or additional items down the road from the sellers after you negotiate repairs, they may not grant you the additional terms you need if you go overboard now.
DON’T – say “all items in inspection” as your response – this is NOT NEW CONSTRUCTION.
DO – pick and choose your battles and carefully choose the items within or as close to your original agreed upon repair allowance.
DON’T – request for the home to be professionally cleaned in the home inspection response.
DO – remember that the formal response is only for material defects and that aesthetic issues should be taken care of in the original purchase agreement.
DON’T – withhold the entire home inspection report from the seller. It looks shady and I have had two people try to pull that one over me this summer and then ask for repairs at walk through and hold the close hostage after other repairs were completed.
DO – deliver the entire home inspection report to the seller. Sometimes sellers may surprise you and fix more than you have requested. Sometimes.
DON’T – ask for a credit that is beyond your original agreed upon repair allowance. This seems to be a new “negotiating” tactic in our market to get additional closing costs or more off the price of the home.
DO – deliver contractor proposals when you request the credit to prove your case.
DON’T – form your own interpretation to the home inspector’s findings. (IE a buyer may interpret that a light fixture needs replacement when it just needs a new light bulb.)
DO – point out and copy verbatim inspector’s findings and allow listing agent or sellers to get clarification from home inspector, contractor or handyman if needed.
DON’T – reinspect the house yourself after repair completion.
DO – ask for an invoice & have your inspector go back to reinspect. We just had an instance where the listing agent owned the handyman company and they did a BAD job at repairs and knocked the water heater out of the venting while installing earthquake straps. This was leaking carbon monoxide into the garage. It probably would not have been noticed by an untrained eye.
DO- LEAVE YOUR EMOTIONS OUT OF NEGOTIATIONS! Logic and common sense with proper expectations with the home inspection repair request will lead everyone to less headaches & a smoother close in the long run.