HOME INSPECTIONS - TO HAVE OR NOT TO HAVE….
When I started my real estate career nearly 15 years ago, home inspections were not a part of the process. Homes were bought after looking at the property a couple times and bought “as is.” Chances are, a termite inspection was done. While termite inspections continue to be completed (cost $50-$100), slowly home inspections (and radon) started to become part of the contract (cost $400-$500). Much like the internet, home inspections have changed the look of a real estate transaction.
A home inspector puts together a report for all aspects of a home, including, but not limited to the following: grounds, exterior, roof, garage, structural, attic, insulation, fireplace, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and all individual rooms in the home. Any deficiencies are noted. Normally the buyer walks thru the house with the home inspector so questions can be answered for any deficiencies. After a home inspection is completed, an addendum is often requested by the buyer for items the seller should fix in the house. These items may be as minor as a carbon monoxide detector added to each level of the home (post January 1, 2017, all homes being sold must have a carbon monoxide detector on each level of the home) or as major as a new roof. So, after determining a sales price prior to the home inspection, we go back into negotiations. What items should a seller be responsible for?
On a tangent, as I have discussed before, the type of loan a person is getting can also determine what kind of items need to be fixed in order for the buyer to get the loan. An appraiser for a rural development, VA, or FHA loan is not only determining the fair market value of the property, but also inspecting the property for any deficiencies or items that are unsafe. One of the goals to these loans is to make sure the property is safe for the buyer and they will not have any major updates for the first five years they own the property.
Normally, I recommend to the seller to fix the items that are not up to code. For example, GFCI outlets near sinks or open electrical junction boxes. But what about deferred maintenance such as clogged gutters or chipped and peeling paint? These items seem to be about on the same level, right? As a home owner, I am probably more concerned about clogged gutters because that can cause water to enter the basement. But, in order for a buyer to get a special type of loan as mentioned above, any chipped or peeling paint must be scraped and repainted in order for the buyer to get the loan. Is it the sellers responsibility to repaint the property in order for the buyer to get their loan? It is a question often asked and we tend to go back into negotiations over this subject.
When listing a house and presenting an offer contingent upon a home inspection, I discuss the many different directions that the agreement can go following any inspection. This discussion is meant to prepare the seller and not scare them, which it often times does.
One solution that I see with making sellers more comfortable with a home inspection is for them to get one prior to selling their home. Yes, this will cost the seller approximaetly $400 which would normally cost the buyer, but may end up saving the seller in the long run. The seller can fix any deficiencies prior to selling the house and also offer a copy of the home inspection to the buyer.
As you can tell, a home inspection can completely change a transaction!! Be a prepared seller or buyer and discuss your options with your real estate professional!! That’s me!
Lynn N. Wilhelm