Tip for Sellers - Inspection

By
Real Estate Agent with Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com 10301213186

You hired a listing agent to manage your house sale. Your home was cleaned, painted and staged. The listing went on the market, you had showings, accepted an offer, and now the buyer is conducting an inspection. Why would they even want an inspection? Your home is new, updated, in great shape, or perhaps it's even an "as is" sale. What is this inspection really all about?

Reasons for an inspection

 

Almost all buyers will want an inspection. Typically there are two main reasons why a buyer might hire an inspector.

 

Tip for Sellers - InspectionThe first is to make sure they know what they are purchasing. Regardless of how wonderful the home is, buyers want to know if there are any major concerns they should be aware of, either now or in the future. What kind of maintenance budget will they need to set up? Are there items that should be fixed as soon as possible? What issues are observable by the inspector that perhaps the untrained buyers were not aware of? Something will need repair or attention at some point, and buyers want to know what those items are.

 

The second is to decide whether they want to still purchase the home. If their offer is contingent upon a home inspection, they may decide there are just too many things in the home that will need to be addressed. They might determine that because of that, they'd rather find a newer (or smaller, or different style) home. For buyers, especially first-time home buyers, the inspection process may even make them decide they are not ready for the responsibility of a home.

 

What happens at the home inspection?

 

Not all inspectors work exactly the same. That being said, an inspection will typically take between an hour and a half to two hours. During that time, inspectors will do a complete review of the home, from top to bottom, and inside and out. Their job is to observe and document whether the home is in satisfactory condition, or whether there are issues that will need to be addressed. The following is not fully-inclusive, but is provided to give a sense of the breadth and depth of an inspection. Inspectors often check out the following.

 

Tip for Sellers - InspectionThe roof. Are there any missing or damaged shingles? How old is the roof? How many years might be left? Is the flashing attached properly and in the right area? Are there any signs of leaks? Are there appropriate vents, rain caps, or anything else of interest?

 

The grounds. Is the land graded away from or towards the home? Are there plants that are too close to the siding? Are roots growing into the foundation? Are there water issues of any kind? What kind of condition is the driveway in? Are there patios or paths, and if so, are there cracks or structural issues? Are decks and fences sturdy and structurally strong?

 

The exterior: Does the home have appropriate gutters? What is siding made of, and what condition is it in? The same question for windows, caulking, fascia, foundation as well as exterior equipment such as the air conditioning unit. Is there a chimney, and if so, is it in need of any servicing?

 

Heating/Air Conditioning. What kind of units are in the home, and how old are they? Do units that can be tested work correctly? As an aside, if it's the middle of winter, the air conditioning cannot be tested and if in the middle of the summer, the same is true of the heat. Are the filters, piping, controls, venting, valves and other parts of the system all working properly?

 

Plumbing. The inspector may run water in faucets for a significant amount of time to ensure there are no leaks. They'll check the parts of the plumbing system (water tank, pump, etc) to ensure they appear to be working properly. In addition, they will check to confirm that water pressure, flow and drainage are all appropriate.

 

Electrical Service. Inspectors will check outlets to ensure they are grounded properly. They will make sure GFCI outlets work as intended. They'll check the electric box, remove the panel, and make sure there are no double taps, old wiring, spaces with no covers, or other issues.

 

Everything else: Inspectors may confirm that appliances that are staying with the home operate satisfactorily. They will check out the attic and basement for cracks, leaks, water damage, insulation, wiring, venting, and anything else that may be in evidence. They will test windows to ensure they open and seals are not broken. Inspectors will look at flooring, door frames, doors, ceilings, and anything else in the home to see if there are any items of concern.

 

In addition, buyers might also wish to get well water, septic, pest and radon inspections. The above is not an all-inclusive list but does provide some insight into what an inspector looks at when in your home. It also helps explain why an inspection takes so long to complete!

 

With a day or two, the buyers will receive a copy of the inspection report. They may just move forward with the deal with no repair requests at all. Conversely, their agent may contact your agent to share their requests for repairs.

 

What kinds of repair requests might be made?

 

Every single home sale is different, not only because every home is different, but because the same is true of all the people involved. There are some buyers who are so excited about the home, they are just going to move forward "as is". There are others that will attempt to ask for everything under the sun to be repaired. And some others will only ask for things they feel are really critical in order to be able to live in a safe and comfortable environment.

 

To get an idea of what types of requests buyer might make, here is a list of some real-life requests that buyers have made in the past. These are in no particular order.

 

  • Repair, replace, or install GFCI outlets in the kitchen, bath, garage or laundry room.
  • Add a handrail to stairs leading to an upper level.
  • Hire a mold inspector to determine whether the growth in the attic is mold, and remediate if it is.
  • Install a bumper guard in the garage in front of the boiler so the buyers won't smash their ca into the boiler if they drive into the garage while speaking on their phones.
  • Repair the bathroom fan which is venting directly into the attic; ensure it is vented outside the house.
  • Replace the rusty and leaking water tank that is in the basement.
  • Repair the firedoor that goes into the garage; it needs to close automatically.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Replace the window that has a large hole in it.
  • Treat and retest the well water; water test showed coliform and ecoli.
  • Repair the outlets which had no ground or had open ground wires.
  • Install a radon mitigation system; the radon results were over 4 pCi/L.

 

How should you respond to repair requests?

 

You have several options in terms of responding to a list of repair requests.

 

  • You can agree to repair all requests, or specific requests only.
  • You can offer to reduce the price or make another financial concession to the buyer, in lieu of making the repairs.
  • You can reject any requests, or specific requests only.

 

To provide a little more insight, here is how the above requests were responded to (again, these were real life requests).

 

  • Repair, replace, or install GFCI outlets in the kitchen, bath, garage or laundry room. In almost every instance of this request, sellers have agreed to have the issues repaired. Some mortgage products will not allow the process to proceed without these repairs, and they could be safety issues for the new owners if not repaired.
  • Add a handrail to stairs leading to an upper level. In this case, the stairs were dangerous without the handrail. The seller agreed to make the repair.
  • Hire a mold inspector to determine whether the growth in the attic was mold, and remediate if it is. In this case, the seller decided not to agree to a mold inspection. Because of that, the buyer decided not to purchase this home, and the deal died.
  • Install a bumper guard in the garage in front of the boiler so the buyers wouldn't smash their car into the boiler if they drove into the garage on their phones. The seller said no. Vehemently. The deal went forward anyway and closed successfully.
  • Repair the bathroom fan which is venting directly into the attic; ensure it is vented outside the house. In one case, the seller agreed to make the repair. In the other, the seller said no but deal went forward anyway.
  • Replace the rusty and leaking water tank that is in the basement. The seller said no, and the deal moved forward successfully.
  • Repair the firedoor that goes into the garage; it needs to close automatically. The seller said yes. This also is a safety issue; all doors between the garage and home should close automatically.
  • Install carbon monoxide detector. The seller said yes.
  • Replace window that has a large hole in it. The seller said no but offered a small price reduction to enable the buyer to repair when they moved in. The buyer purchased the home.
  • Please treat and retest the well water; water test showed coliform and e-coli. This has happened multiple times, and the sellers have always agreed to take care of the treating and retesting. Many mortgages will not close if there is no clean bill-of-health for the water. It is also a safety issue for the new owners.
  • Repair the outlets which have no ground or have open ground wires. Electrical issues can be safety problems, and in most instances (this is a common request), sellers will ensure the issues are corrected.
  • Install a radon mitigation system; the radon results were over 4 pCi/L. This is also an issue that happens relatively frequently in my area. Sellers have agreed to this request, since any buyer who purchases the home will want this to be remedied.

 

Summary

 

Having an inspection can be a time of some concern, for both sellers and buyers. For you, the seller, you don't want a huge list of requests that need to be repaired. Although every transaction is different, at a high level, items that could be safety or structural in nature do deserve your attention. If you decide not to fix something important, and you want the deal to proceed, you could also offer a credit to the buyer (or help pay closing costs) instead of making the repair. Buyers do sometimes think things will cost more to repair than they actually do, so having an estimate from a licensed contractor, or other appropriate professional, will help determine the correct amount to offer.

 

The goal of the inspection results for the seller, is to make sure the buyer is comfortable and ready to move forward to the closing table. Your listing agent can help you work through whether there are repair items that are truly critical to repair, so you can get to the next stage of your life!

 

If you need any assistance selling your home in the Monroe NY area, feel free to call me at 914-419-0270 or email me at kat@thehousekat.com. My goal is to make selling your home as simple as possible.

 

 

Originally published at thehousekat.com.

Posted by

 

Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat

Licensed Associate Broker, CBR®

Grand Lux Realty, Inc.

428 Main Street

Armonk, NY 10504 *

* still supporting Monroe NY, Orange & Rockland counties.

 

914-419-0270 (cell)

email: kat@thehousekat.com

www.thehousekat.com

facebook    Kat's Homes

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Rainmaker
2,734,465
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I don’t recommend leaving any stone unturned In the above respects. Very thorough. Really good!

May 16, 2019 10:34 PM #8
Rainmaker
2,734,465
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

A quick message to everybody going:

May you all find what you need and learn and grow and process everything and get something substantial out of it!

May 16, 2019 10:35 PM #9
Ambassador
3,041,730
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
RE/MAX Northwest. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

I have learned so much from the hundreds of home inspections I have attended; I really enjoyed even the bad ones Kat Palmiotti 

May 16, 2019 11:34 PM #10
Rainmaker
1,402,295
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

I sent you an email, Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP !

Thank you Laura Cerrano - it is important to learn while at an inspection!

Me too, Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS !

May 17, 2019 03:31 AM #11
Rainmaker
3,519,434
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Kat. This is terrific and very well written. This could be a handout.

May 17, 2019 04:53 AM #12
Rainmaker
1,486,615
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Good morning Kat Palmiotti, I'm working with a buyer right now who does not want to get a home inspection to save money.  Big mistake! Congratulations on the well-deserved feature! 

May 17, 2019 05:48 AM #13
Rainmaker
2,093,235
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

A well deserved feature!

I've had inspections work against me and work for me...depends on the inspector and whether you are seller or buyer.

I would never buy a home without one and I cannot imagine being lucky enough to sell a home without the buyers having one.

May 17, 2019 06:11 AM #14
Rainmaker
281,794
Shirley Coomer
Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living - Phoenix, AZ
Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az

A great post packed with useful seller information.  Whenever possible I encourage sellers to get an inspection before the home goes on the market.  So many items we routinely see on a report are things the seller is aware of, ie roof issues, missing GFCIs, etc.  

 

May 17, 2019 06:44 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,515,002
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Kat, congratulations on your feature - well deserved! This post is full of pro tips and extremely thorough. I wish more sellers would get a pre-listing inspection. I've never seen one who has regret it. No home is perfect and a home inspection will bring issues to light that's for sure. 

May 17, 2019 06:49 AM #16
Rainmaker
495,929
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

As I'm reading your blog I am just waiting to go check on an inspection at my listing that's under contract.  B/c I list older homes (60-100 years) I always prepare my sellers for the main issues that can come up: sewer line, termites, wood rot, etc.  So they aren't so surprised when they get three pages of 'problem' areas.

May 17, 2019 09:32 AM #17
Rainmaker
2,444,802
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

It is vital that every buyer have an inspection completed on a home that they want to purchase, even if it is a brand new home!

May 17, 2019 10:06 AM #18
Rainmaker
3,238,750
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Kat - a home inspection is not just for buyers - a seller must be prepared.  Afterall it's a part of the real estate transaction and that prepation(often upfront) is an important aspect.  

May 17, 2019 10:49 AM #19
Rainmaker
1,402,295
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Thank you Sheila Anderson - I'm glad we can put this kind of information on the web, so we don't have to print out all that paper!  :-)

Beth Atalay - I only know of one buyer (of mine) who refused an inspection. He was investor and decided he didn't need it. Everyone else has always used an inspector.

Sharon Tara - The end result of an inspection really does have a lot to do with the specific inspector, and the personalities of the buyer, seller and agents. 

 

May 18, 2019 03:51 AM #20
Rainmaker
1,402,295
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Shirley Coomer - I agree; there are a lot of things that can be found by an inspector that are not obvious to a buyer.

Thank you for commenting Amanda S. Davidson - you are right that no home is perfect, and the inspection will bring any issues to light.

That's a good idea Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR - preparing sellers is key to keeping them calm when those requests come in.

 

May 18, 2019 03:53 AM #21
Rainmaker
1,402,295
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Brian England - I agree. In a brand new home that my buyer was purchasing, the inspector found scratches on kitchen cabinet filled in with a sharpie, tubs with no grout at all, etc. Just because it's new does not mean it was built correctly.

Yes, Michael Jacobs - the inspection impacts both the buyer and the seller!

May 18, 2019 03:55 AM #22
Rainmaker
1,833,704
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Beware the inspector who tells you that this or that MUST be done and HOW to do it!  The inspector's job is to observe and report.

This is a good list.

And I'm a bit embarrassed if the inspection only takes two hours!  Maybe on a condo...

May 19, 2019 07:45 AM #23
Rainmaker
612,132
Brian L. Sirota, Esq.
Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney) - Orange, CA
For Solutions: (714) 501-7660

Kat, this is a terrific roadmap for those who might otherwise have glossed over important items.   Having such a checklist is a testatment to thoroughness, competence and skill.   I don't believe anyone doubts, you're one of the finer agents around.  ;-)

May 19, 2019 09:40 PM #24
Rainmaker
1,402,295
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Thank you Jay Markanich for reading and commenting - I'm happy that an excellent inspector such as yourself read and concurred! 

Brian L. Sirota, Esq. Thank you for your kind comment! I appreciate you.

May 20, 2019 03:00 AM #25
Rainmaker
966,585
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Excellent post Margaret. So important to get a home inspection for all the reasons you list.   Buyers should always get a home inspection!  It's my practice to attend every inspection, but not the entire inspection. 

May 23, 2019 04:57 PM #26
Rainmaker
1,402,295
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Thank you Jan Green ! Buyers should definitely get a home inspection - it's worth it!

May 24, 2019 02:56 AM #27
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