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Home Inspections: What to Expect for Buyers and Sellers

Home Inspections tend to be one of the most contentious parts of a real estate transaction, even if both parties have relatively realistic expectations going in or if the home is in great condition. Sometimes we all know deals can fall apart when it comes to the home inspection, even if the transaction is an As-Is transaction. We wanted to share some points for expectation setting with both buyers and sellers, so they can find success in their home sale even through the potentially rocky road of negotiations after a home inspection.

It’s so important for sellers to be honest and accurate about everything they know that’s going on with their house - just like if they ever had a previous leak, electrical issue, had to treat termites in the past, etc. It’s important to disclose that information up front, because it’s likely the buyer will find out that there has been a previous issue anyway. That’s a bump in the road that can potentially be avoided if the seller is upfront about past issues ahead of time. This leads to less tough conversations to have, and less time for the buyer to think about things that might be a defect of the home rather than focusing on how excited they are about their home purchase.

Another important thing for sellers to keep in mind is that not everyone looks at issues in the same way. Let’s say that there is something that’s bothered them for a really long time, such as they don’t like something about the porch, or there’s a crack in the ceiling that has been there forever - something that may really bother the seller, may not bother the buyer. But on the flip side, something the seller doesn’t care about at all, such as loose tiles or crooked floors, may very well be an issue for the buyer. It may come as a surprise to the seller because they may never have thought about their house that way, but suddenly are being confronted with negotiations from the buyer about something they never thought twice about. One of the biggest issues we see with home inspections are sellers being taken by surprise about what issues the buyer decides are their priorities - and it’s important to keep an open mind and not take the buyer’s concerns personally.

The seller should always remember the buyer is coming from a totally fresh perspective on the home. They haven’t lived there for years and haven’t put the effort into repairs that the sellers have, but the buyers also have their own life experiences and own context they’re coming from. So, the buyers may have different priorities than the sellers when it comes to the condition of the home that they’re purchasing.

From the buyer’s perspective, they are approaching somebody about making repairs or giving credits for something that is brand new to them. Occasionally, sellers can get defensive. But, having reasonable expectations as a buyer means focusing on the fact that home inspections are about safety hazards/issues and things that are not working. So, just because something is outdated, such as the water heater being 10 years old, but it’s still functioning properly, it wouldn’t be fair, nor is it the point of inspections, to ask the seller to replace it. If there is a hole in the roof, absolutely!

We want everyone to have a great home buying experience as well as being safe and happy in their new homes. We try to guide all of our buyers and sellers successfully through home inspection negotiations. Hopefully by taking in these few home inspection expectation tips, a resolution can more easily be reached that works for everyone. And not all Home Inspections are contentious! We’ve steered transactions through the smoothest of seas and some very rough waters - and we can handle it all.

If you ever have any questions about home inspections, or real estate in general, I am always happy to answer them for you! Call/text me anytime - 443-878-5088.

Have a great weekend!

- Elisabeth Yeager