The Home Inspection. In many ways, this is one of the most dreaded phrases in a real estate transaction to everyone involved, the Home Buyer, the Home Seller, and yes the Realtors. Why, you may ask? Obviously because it can be a deal breaker if too many problems are revealed about the house, and also if both parties – the buyer side and seller side, have the wrong attitudes from the onset. First of all, unless you’re buying a brand new home, issues both small & sometimes big, (hopefully not, right?) inevitably will be revealed during the home inspection. If a first time home buyer is realistic about this probability from the beginning, (and that’s where us realtors come in), it will save everyone a lot of heartache. Secondly, if Home Sellers are diligent in taking care of at least the small things BEFORE they list their house, that will benefit everyone & especially them!!! Simply put, if you’re (Seller) a handy person and your door hinge needs to be repaired, or you have outlet covers missing, make sure you REPLACE them before listing because these things, minor as they are, will always be called out during a home inspection. A buyer who is not a handy person, may just interpret these minor “call-outs” as “too many issues with the house.” Why, you may ask? Because in many cases, all they see on that Inspection Report are “red check marks” and let’s face it, multiple “red marks” strike alarm in everyone’s mind, whether minor or not! Many people then freak out & lump together all the minor issues with the bigger issues of the house and it’s rarely good from there. It’s all about mindset.
So with all that being said, let’s now talk about what happens directly after a Home Inspection. The results are usually emailed to the Buyer’s Agent & the Buyer (within 48 hrs). The Buyer & their Agent review the results and the Buyer decides what issues they want the Seller to fix or credit them for. I always advise my clients to focus on the most expensive fixes, and things that may pose safety concerns now or in the future. Depending on the type of loan the Home Buyer is getting, some issues will have to be fixed/credited prior to the close of escrow. If the Seller wants to move forward with the sale of their home, it would be of course in their best interest to comply. But what about issues that don’t affect the Lender’s involvement? These issues will have to be negotiated between the Buyer and Seller parties. And that’s where a good strategy comes into play with the Buyer’s Agent. Here are some of the things the Buyer’s Agent should do:
- Forward the Home Inspection results to a trusted General Contractor and ask him/her to draw up an estimate based on the results of the inspection, from most important, most expensive fixes to the least.
- Consult with their client to decide which fixes to include on the Request for Repairs that the Buyer’s Agent should be drawing up and sending to the Seller’s Agent as soon as possible.
Finally, it is very important that the Buyer understand that the Seller may or may not choose to fix or credit everything requested – and they’re not legally obligated to; these issues will need to be agreed upon, of course in writing. It’s imperative that the most significant issues are addressed on the Request for Repairs and minor things, like missing outlet covers, are left off! Please also note that if the house is priced under market value, it might have been priced this way for a reason, meaning the sellers don’t want to “give away” their house, but may not want to deal with the cost of repairs, therefore, the under market price. That’s something the Buyer’s Agent should be aware of and bring to the attention of their client so everyone can keep an open mind.