The Home Inspection reveals the doorbell doesn’t work… better ask for all new wiring, new furnace, water softener and a Jacuzzi tub.
While this is a joke, unfortunately there is a hint of truth to it in what agents have to deal with when working with buyers for a property and the home inspection is done.
In short, the home inspection is probably one of the most important steps in the transaction timeline for buying (and selling) a home. This is the buyers chance to have the house evaluated and detect any possible problems the house might have.
A few things as to what the home inspection is, and what it is not.
What it is.
It is an opportunity to have a neutral third party check the major components of the house for defects. Such as the roof, siding, foundation, wiring, and HVAC, to name a few. The inspector’s job in a nutshell is to look at the house in its current state, and tell you what would need to be fixed. This includes any and all things no matter how minor it may seem. Their job is to mention anything that isn’t perfect.
And in any house, even new ones, there will be imperfections. Buyers need to remember that.
The inspection is a chance for the buyer to get some of the important things fixed before they purchase it. I say a chance, because contractually, the seller is under no obligation to make any repairs. However, refusing to do so might jeopardize the transaction.
What it is not.
This is not a chance for the buyer to have every single imperfection of the house remedied or used in further negotiations. Unfortunately, this is how numerous buyers go about it.
While it is certainly in the buyer’s right to ask for repairs, or to renegotiate the purchase price to encompass repairs they will have to do, there needs to be a balance in how things are negotiated.
A good rule of thumb for buyers is this. When you are reading through the inspection report, make three columns on a sheet of paper. Label those columns as such:
- Must have repairs.
-These are repairs that you cannot (or will not) do yourself, and must be done for you to purchase the house. These are the big items, like the roof, HVAC, electrical. These either need to be done, or the cost negotiated into the purchase price.
- The things you ask to be done, but can do yourself if need be.
-Here are the smaller items that you would like to have done, and might ask the seller to do, but ultimately could let go and do yourself if the seller says no. Definitely not deal breakers. Things like adding caulk to a leaky window, filling in dirt around the foundation for water run-off, fixing a loose deck step fit in this category for most homebuyers.
- The things that the inspector must mention, but you don’t worry about or can easily do yourself for little cost.
– Here is where the things go that you are not at all worried about because you can easily do them. Things like tightening loose doorknobs, paint touchups, or nail holes in the wall from hanging pictures. While I agree that a seller should have probably done this prior to listing their house, things get missed.
The point of this exercise is to get you in a good frame of mind for when you go back to the seller to ask for repairs. Especially if there are big items to be dealt with, such as the roof, HVAC, etc. Being able to forgo some small things to get the bigger thing certainly increases your chance of getting it. Because in the end, you want to make sure you get the important things.
In closing, it is important to remember that both the buyer and the seller need to enter into this inspection period with an open mind and with the intent to keep the deal together. Too many times we find that one party or the other digs their heels into the ground and make everything a bigger deal than it needs to be.
No house is perfect, or will ever be perfect in every way so there is no point in trying to make that happen.