How to Prevent Home Inspections from Killing a Sale

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 03 November 2015 05:27

Home inspections routinely cause headaches, in some cases they can kill a deal. That doesn’t need to happen if expectations are properly set for both buyer and seller. No home, including a new build, will be perfect. Many defects can be spotted by an experienced agent, others need the eye of a skilled inspector. The trick is for both buyer and seller to be reasonable.

Home sellers are not required to complete a seller’s disclosure, some homes are sold “as is”. If a disclosure is available, buyers will review this along with inspectors as often this document notes issues or problems within the home. However, a seller should not place too much faith in these as there are things about the property the seller does not need to (and in some cases is not allowed to) tell a buyer in states like Georgia. Sellers are not required to disclose any condition of the property that a buyer would discover upon a reasonable inspection. This would include obvious things like holes in the roof, fire damage or similar clearly noticed things. More information can be found at seller’s disclosures; why Georgia home buyers shouldn’t put too much faith in them. Of course it is smart to check into the requirements in your state.

Given the laundry list of inspection items that will be found, it's good practice to focus the attention on safety and code issues. Routine deferred maintenance should be accounted for in price, it should also be apparent. Code and safety issues are more inspector specialty items and things that should be addressed. Remember, codes are always changing and a 40 year old home will not be code compliant to current standards. Be reasonable in this arena as homes are built to code at the time.

The role of agents in the resolution process cannot be overstated, they can make or break inspection negotiation. Open and honest communication between agents goes a long way toward resolving issues. The listing agent especially, can be a game changer with the seller as this can get emotional for them.

Once agreement on repairs is reached, settling the work is best done by a price reduction. This eliminates a seller doing the minimum and a buyer expecting the maximum. It also removes questions of quality or how well work is done and by whom. In theory a well written amendment spells out the who, what, where, when and how but the real world is much different. Contractors can do shoddy work, be late or not show up. By establishing a reduction in price, the buyer has full control of the repairs and the seller has one less thing to do as they leave.

Read more about how to keep home inspections under control and ways to reduce the headaches of the inspection process.


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Hank Miller, SRA

Hank Miller is an Associate Broker & Certified Appraiser in the north metro Atlanta area. Since 1989, real estate has been his full time profession. Hank´s clients benefit from his appraisal and sales experience; they act upon data, not baseless opinions. He is an outspoken critic of the lax standards in the agent community.

Hank remains an active certified appraiser and completes specialty work for FNMA, lenders and attorneys. He is a well-known blogger and continues to guest write for multiple industry publications as well as national outlets like the WSJ, NYT, RE Magazine, USA Today and others. He is a regular on public Q&A sites on Zillow, Trulia and many others.

Hank consistently ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the metro Atlanta area. He runs the Hank Miller Team and is known as much for his ability as he is for his opinions. He is especially outspoken about the lack of professional standards and expectations in the real estate industry.

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