Home inspections are one of the most anxiety-ridden prospects of the home buying and selling process. For the seller, you're worried that your home inspection might find problems that will scare away the buyer. For buyers, it can either be a bargaining chip or a disappointment and waste of money. I have been on both sides of the coin when it comes to inspections and it can be massive source of stress. I have seen so many deals fall apart because of inspections. Some of those failed transactions were for the better and some not. A lot of inspections reports make small issues sound like costly problems. While a buyer should want and need to know of any major issues with the property, it is beneficial to remember that the house is a used product (unless you're buying new construction) and there will indubitably be small issues (at least). These are no reason to run away just yet. A lot of people do not know that the inspector can be held liable for some issues at a property that they have inspected and it is in their best interest to point out the worst possible scenario. Another useful source of information that many buyers and sellers are unaware of is the property condition disclosure statement. When a home is listed on the MLS with an agent, it is required (though, not in some circumstances) that the seller fill out a form know as the property condition disclosure statement. The intention of this document is to disclose any known problems with the property and if (how, when, etc.) those issues were remediated. This information should be relayed to the buyer as soon as possible. If any major issues are disclosed, the inspection shouldn't be as surprising.
Realtor.com release an article recently written by Jamie Wiebe titled "7 Things Your Home Inspector Wishes You Knew," which gives both buyers and sellers a few tips from the perspective of a home inspector.
- Put the pets away
- It is just considerate of your inspector to make sure that your pets are put away when they're visiting the property. The inspector needs to be in and out, which can be difficult when avoiding letting the animals out. It can also be difficult for the inspector to get around with pets present.
- Clean up
- You would be surprised how many sellers don't take the time to arrange their homes while it's on the market. You might have been lucky enough to receive an offer on a dirty home, however, when you're in the selling position you definitely do not want to do anything to keep the property from actually selling. Having a messy or smelly house can cause the inspector to write a less favorable report, whether consciously or not.
- There will be problems
- Like I said before, there will ALWAYS be some problems in the inspection report. That doesn't mean that the home isn't a great purchase. Remember that homes are where we live and unless you're looking at a new construction home, it will have been lived in.
- Everything can be fixed
- Any problem that comes up in a report can be remediated. The problem is how much will you need to spend to fix the issues. There are many buzzwords that scare people away like mold, asbestos, foundation issues, etc. Fixing many of those types of problems are actually less expensive than remodeling a kitchen. And if you have a good realtor, they can always try to re-negotiate based upon the findings of the inspection.
- Worry about water
- Water damage is not always a big deal. Most of the time, fixing a water leak is really not very expensive. The problem with water damage is that it can ruin literally everything it touches if it happens for too long. What was a very small and cheap fix could now be a very large and expensive fix. Also, water draws termites and termites are a real nuisance here in the Southeast. Just have your inspector check the extent of the damage. That's what you're paying him for!
- Inspectors can't catch it all and they can't see the future
- Inspectors get blamed pretty often for problems that present themselves later. Inspectors inspect the property on the day of the inspection and in the conditions that are present on that day. Maybe the roof didn't leak on the day of the inspection because it wasn't raining, but the next time it storms, your ceilings get saturated. That's no good, but it isn't the inspector's fault. They can not predict what problems you might have later nor can they predict how long things there will last.
- Think both logically and emotionally
- My girlfriend is going to laugh at this when she proofreads it because I think almost exclusively logically. I don't really mean to. I'm just sort of a Vulcan. The point is; when you're buying the home that you want to stay in for a very long time, try not to let the problems cause you to mentally override the emotional draw of the home. There is a reason that you've made an offer on that home. You obviously like it. Don't let something manageable repel you from the home that you love.
That's all for today. I hope this helps some of you folks out there handle the stress of inspections. The best offense is a good defense. If you're selling, just try to address some of the things that you know will be reported by the inspector. And when you're buying, just remember that you are buying a lived-in home. If you prepare well, you can rest assured that you did the best you could.
As always, if you or anyone you know needs help buying or selling a home, let me know! I'm more than happy to help! My clients are my priority and their needs come first.
Troy Franklin Gandee