People sell homes for so many different reasons. Some people simply outgrow their home. Some people need to downsize. Some people relocate for a job… or love. Sometimes it’s due to a divorce. Other times people have to sell a parent’s home after their passing.
No matter the reason, most of the time a home inspection will be involved, and while everyone hopes for a smooth transition, sometime unexpected problems pop up. Some of the most common are that the roof needs to be replaced or that termites are discovered. More recently the dreaded phrase “Kitec plumbing” has surfaced. Sometimes an Inspector will uncover a problem with a foundation.
If you find yourself in the unenviable position of being the recipient of bad news, let’s be honest… it’s usually a gut punch for the seller. Particularly if they had no idea the problem existed. So before your world starts spinning, here are some tips to help you deal with the issues at hand.
1.) Take a Breath
I know it was probably the last thing you were expecting, but the best thing you can do to successfully deal with the situation is to keep a clear head and not loose your temper. You can’t un-say something that could potentially kill the deal, so remember, people rarely regret things they didn’t say.
2.) Get More Information
Anyone can make a mistake, even professional Home Inspectors. If you feel the reported item or items were not accurate, or you just don’t understand them, try to speak with or meet with the Inspector, so you can be sure you understand exactly what was reported. I am constantly surprised at how people can simply misunderstand something in an inspection report.
In one inspection report many years ago, we had reported that the property had an ungrounded electrical system. The buyer assumed that meant the service lines from the pole in the alley to the house should have been run underground and were run overhead instead. I was very glad he called us to clarify before he asked the owner to relocate the lines underground!
3.) Think Outside the Mail Box
See what I did there?
Some things in a traditional real estate deal are non-negotiable. If a buyer is financing a home, the roof must be insurable. If the Inspector and three roofing contractors say your roof needs to be replaced, your roof will have to be replaced before closing. Period.
However, if you have a cash buyer, an adjustment in the purchase price to cover the repairs after closing can be arranged. Did your Inspector find termites? Treatment can cost a pretty penny! In our area it can run between $800.00 and $1,200.00. Don’t have the cash for that? Ask if a less expensive spot treatment will solve the problem. If not, some companies will perform the treatment, then submit their invoice for payment at closing. If that’s not an option in your area, if your buyer is really in love with the house, they may be willing to pay for the treatment themselves to be able to stay in contract. (Some types of financing don’t allow this option, so talk to your Realtor.)
As a Home Inspector, I would be remiss if I neglected this opportunity to once again remind my readers of how a premarket home inspection could circumvent many of these problems, but I digress. Well, I will after the following:
The point is, not everything that needs to be addressed has to be an out-of-pocket expense for the seller. Sales price adjustments can be agreed upon, allowances at closing can be arranged, or a buyer may just decide they are willing to deal with it after the sale, as long as they know up front what they’ll be taking on as a home owner. The most important thing for the buyer is ensuring that their home owner’s insurance company will insure the house, as is. So don’t skip that step!
So, should you get some bad news after your inspection, remember, there are many was to reach a happy resolution. Just keep calm, be flexible and keep your eyes on the prize: A big fat “SOLD” sign in your yard.
Thanks again for following this blog, and if you haven’t followed it yet, you can by signing up at the top of this page. As always, I’d LOVE to hear from you. You can use the comment section below or please email me your questions, comment or experiences in real estate at thehomeinspector lady.com . As always, I wish you a safe and happy home!