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.
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.
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!