March to a Solution: Inspections

Real Estate Broker/Owner with 406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® RRE-BRO-LIC-75443

This post is being submitted for the March 2023 ActiveRain Challenge: March to a Solution. The goal is to write about scenarios that could come up during a real estate transaction and how we might resolve the issue.

My first post had to do with making assumptions. This post has to do with Inspections.

I can't point to a specific purchase or sale that made me aware of what is or isn't important in an inspection and that inspections are nothing to be worried about, so I'm going to just provide a few examples to back up what I'm saying.

Inspections are mostly important to the buyer. They spend money to hire an inspector whose job is to let them know what issues currently exist in a home, and what appliances might be nearing the end of their average useful life. With that data, a buyer and his/her agent will determine whether the buyer should move forward with the purchase, should ask for repairs or a credit at closing to resolve any major issues, or should move forward with the sale as is.

Inspectors can find all sorts of issues with a home. That's what they're there for! Some of them could be outlets that don't work or aren't grounded properly, windows with broken seals or those that don't close properly, leaks, potential mold, potential foundation issues, kitchen drawers that don't close, burners that don't light, railings that are not up to code, hot water heaters that are far beyond their average life, and more. Reading a report can be overwhelming for buyers and some want everything to be fixed. What I learned somewhere along the way is the importance of keeping the responses to an inspection focused.

Sometimes a lot of emotions can be tied up with an inspection. The seller really wants to sell, or the seller wants to get a lot of money without spending any. The buyer really wants the house and doesn't want to find anything major wrong. If buyers and sellers can take emotions out of the equation and just focus objectively on what is or isn't wrong, that can help this part of the process go much easier. There is no house that has no issues.

So how can we keep things focused?

I make sure buyers and sellers know that the items that buyers will often ask to be repaired are typically those that affect safety or structure. When buyers go through the house on their initial showing, they might see a window with a cracked seal. If they want it fixed, the repair request should be part of their initial offer. Or they may see ruined floor boards or dripping faucets. The same is true - anything they see should be addressed up front if desired. What they need to do with the inspection report is to stay focused on those things they were NOT aware of already.

For example, if the electric box has all sorts of wiring issues, it's unsafe and perfectly fine to address that with a request to the seller. Or if there are foundation cracks or structure issues, those can be addressed. If items are found to be missing or inoperable, then asking for a repair or credit may make sense.

Here are some real life examples of requests that have been made based on an inspection report.

1) A buyer asked my sellers to place concrete posts at the very back of the garage in front of the water heater so that if his wife "drives into the garage and is on her phone she won't smash into the water heater." The answer was no. The sale went through.

2) My buyers asked the seller of a home to have the attic inspected for mold as there was lots of black stuff under the roof and on the insulation that looked suspiciously like mold. The seller said no. The buyer walked.

3) My buyers (different ones) asked the seller of a home to have the attic inspected for mold as there was lot of suspicious fuzzy stuff up there. The seller said yes. The inspection determined there was mold and the seller remediated. The transaction went through.

4) My buyers asked that a toilet be repaired because when it was flushed, water poured out of the tank onto the floor. The sellers agreed and made the repair.

5) A buyer asked my sellers to "fix the leaks in the kitchen" but the inspection report made no mention of leaks and the sellers could find no leaks. Their answer was no. The deal closed successfully.

6) My buyer of brand new construction asked for a lot of missing things to be completed but one in particular stood out. She wanted one of the kitchen cabinet doors replaced. Why? Because someone during the installation/ construction of the kitchen put a big scrape in the door and tried to cover it up with a magic marker. The builder replaced the cabinet and the deal closed successfully.

Lessons Learned?

There are so many things that could be brought up in an inspection. Much of it is not critical. Regular wear and tear should be expected when purchasing a resale home. The inspection's real value is in finding things that are not that obvious to a buyer and agent during a showing. And when those items are of critical importance to the buyer, they can be addressed with the seller. And if a critical item is not going to be addressed to the satisfaction of a buyer, then it's perfectly find to walk away from the deal (assuming of course they have an inspection contingency).

That's it! Inspections are nothing to be afraid of. They are an objective report of issues with a house, and the buyer can decide what to (or not to) address and a seller can decide what to (or not to) fix.




Comments (24)

Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Kat,

Inspections will be conducted it's just part of the real estate transaction. They are nothing to be scared of! Buyers look the report over see what safety and structural items are a concern and ask the seller to make the repairs. I always tell my sellers expect some items, wouldn't they expect the same thing in purchasing a home? If everyone is reasonable and rational, the issues can be resolved. You provided some good examples..well done!

Mar 18, 2023 08:58 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Thank you Dorie Dillard Austin TX ! Sometimes people do get all worried as to whether or not the house will "pass" inspection. .There's really no such thing!

Mar 18, 2023 09:10 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Kat and great blog on inspections and they are so important, I had one father that insisted he could do it himself, I pay for a inspection for my buyers after dad did it and he missed alot.

Mar 18, 2023 09:05 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Will Hamm - yes, unless the home buyer IS an inspector, it's best to get a professional inspection done!

Mar 18, 2023 09:10 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

It is surprising how many sellers are surprised by what is found in an inspection report.  I like to have my selling clients have an inspection before the home goes on the market.  If they do not, they could be surprised when the buyer does the inspections.  Surprises are not good in a transaction.

Mar 18, 2023 09:37 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Ray Henson -yes, good add. An inspection ahead of listing can be quite helpful.

Mar 18, 2023 09:42 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Kat,

I have learned so much over the years by attending inspections.  You are right.  A lot of items can be remedied easily.  I do remember an inspection with 50 pages of detail.  It was not my favorite report to read. Haha!

Mar 18, 2023 09:51 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Sheri Sperry - MCNE® - our inspectors have at least 3-4 pages of caveats before the inspection report even begins!

Mar 18, 2023 01:59 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Kat those are excellent example of requests after a home inspection.  I have seen Seller refuse very reasonable requests, and I have seen Buyers make very unreasonable requests.

Mar 18, 2023 11:45 AM
Kat Palmiotti

George Souto - so have I! Thanks for commenting!

Mar 18, 2023 01:59 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Another good entry in this month's contest. I have hardly been on an inspection where I haven't learned something.

Mar 18, 2023 12:14 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 - Indeed! There's always something new to learn.

Mar 18, 2023 01:59 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Kat Palmiotti - A Licensed Home Inspector is an advocate for the Buyers, whether that is for pre-existing homes or new construction. Uncle Bob who likes to tinker, is not qualified. 

Thank you for another educational post for the March to a Solution|ActiveRain March 20023 Challenge

Two down. Hopefully one more to go!

Mar 18, 2023 01:39 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Thank you Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP !

Mar 18, 2023 02:00 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Well done, Kat- it's important that buyers understand the purpose of the inspection report and that not every item will or should be addressed by the seller. It is not a tool for leverage. 

Mar 18, 2023 05:09 PM
Kat Palmiotti

So true Kathy Streib but there are those that think it is!

Mar 19, 2023 05:12 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Kat:

Congratulations on a well-done featured post. You've shared lots of wise advice about the importance of having inspections plus some real-life examples of issues that came up...and the consequences. Not only are inspections so important for buyers they are a great learning experience.


Mar 18, 2023 05:38 PM
Kat Palmiotti

I enjoy inspections Jeff Dowler, CRS - I always learn something!

Mar 19, 2023 05:12 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Kat, personally I love inspections the more detailed the better, I do not like dramatic delivery of the bad news.... just give the facts..... another reason I love inspections it takes the liability off my shoulders. Oh btw congratulations on the Gold Star, Endre

Mar 18, 2023 10:40 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Thank you Endre Barath, Jr. - I didn't even know there was a gold star!

Mar 19, 2023 05:13 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Thank you to the gold star giver!

Mar 19, 2023 05:13 AM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

The inspection period has always given me the most angst during transactions, haha.

Mar 19, 2023 06:21 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Brian England - I like inspections!

Mar 19, 2023 08:08 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Kat... I always alert my buyers to the fact that the purpose of an inspection on a resale home is not to ultimately deliver them an "as new" home. It's there to tell them what issues they might need to deal with down the line. If the inspection identifies code issues, safety issues, structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing issues that could be considered material, we ask for those repairs.

Mar 19, 2023 06:28 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Exactly, Nina Hollander, Broker - I agree!

What about if the sellers have flannel hanging in their closet? "Material" issue?

Mar 19, 2023 08:09 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I arrived for a condo inspection yesterday to find that a pipe had broken in the building and water was dripping from the light fixture in the bathroom. Happily - ceramic tile floor so no water damage.  Buyer is going forward I think....

Mar 19, 2023 05:55 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Lise Howe - Congratulations on being able to go forward! Water damage is no fun.

Mar 19, 2023 05:59 PM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Inspections are important to a buyer so that they get a better understanding of what they are buying. Some buyers look at an inspection as an opportunity to renegotiate the contract as they want everything perfect and unless the house was marketed as perfect that is unrealistic,

This line from the post says it all:

If buyers and sellers can take emotions out of the equation and just focus objectively on what is or isn't wrong

Mar 19, 2023 06:58 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Good morning Ed Silva - your first sentence is so true, and yes to the second -some buyers to do want to renegotiate so they get a perfect house but that doesn't work well!

Mar 20, 2023 05:07 AM
Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Hi Kat Palmiotti. This is an excellent post about inspections. Every buyer should get one, even on new home construction. As you mentioned safety and structure are the biggest concerns for any buyers. Electrical, roofs, and foundations are major concerns for most buyers. Inspectors here will always inspect by today's standards and codes. Therefore, I have never seen any home pass those inspections. I inform my buyers that these inspections are to let them know the condition of the property they are purchasing, and to be concerned with major things that are discovered. 

Mar 19, 2023 07:38 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Jerry Newman - thank you for your comment! There is no home that doesn't have SOMETHING wrong!

Mar 20, 2023 05:05 AM
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Evolution - 447 Boston Street Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

Hi Kat Palmiotti 

I have always explained to my buyers that home inspections by a trained professional home inspector are for a trained eye to uncover those things an untrained eye would not see. 

Mar 20, 2023 07:31 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Exactly right Doug Dawes !

Mar 20, 2023 08:07 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Hello, Kat Palmiotti I am delighted to see the Feature Fairies blessed this post with a Gold Star. 

This is an outstanding entry to the March Challenge illustrating the importance of getting home inspections, what to focus on, and the types of "issues" buyers and sellers may or may not agree to remedy. 

Thank you for your participation! 


Mar 20, 2023 09:16 AM
Kat Palmiotti

And thank you so much for your kind comment Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist !

Mar 20, 2023 10:48 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

No licensing for home inspectors in Maine and that makes for a wide range of problems, variations in the results. Sad to see a home that should sell suddenly get bogged down in the pickiest items when the major ones and the value is over the top Kat Palmiotti !

Mar 22, 2023 05:55 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573 - I don't believe they need a license here either - I was talking to one recently who indicated he was trying to change that. Referrals to good ones are a MUST!

Mar 22, 2023 06:12 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Kat Palmiotti - I was certain I congratulated you on a great FEATURE on ActiveRain. Apparently, I did not. My apologies. I admire your logic and how you explain things in details that anyone can understand. The Home Inspection process is a great topic to explain and share your expertise learned from the Licensed Inspector. No matter how big or small, regardless of the price, the cost to get a Home Inspection is worth every penny. Being able to explain things and answer your Buyers questions puts their trust in you!

Congratulations on a GREAT FEATURE. You are truly worthy of recognition!!!

Mar 23, 2023 07:22 PM