How Do You Handle the Home Inspection Request for Repairs?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with HomeRome Realty

 How Do You Handle the Home Inspection Request for Repairs?

                                                      Home Inspection Repair Request

In the past 10 days, I have had three sales and that means three home inspections..2 were my listings and one for a buyer.. aka future seller. All three were handled quite differently! 

There have many discussions about home inspections, who should attend, who should not attend, liability, who should be talking, who should be commenting..etc.

This discussion is how to respond the home inspection.

If you are the buyer's agent...how do you go about requesting needed repairs? Do you have a discussion with the buyers? Do you go over the report and decide what items are important to have corrected by the home owner? Do you discuss which items are normal maintenance, or normal upgrades that you would like to have addressed? Do you discuss what has to be an immediate repair and what can wait as a maintenance item? You know... like cleaning the gutters.

Or do you just take the entire report and ask that every single item, mentioned on the home inspection report, be corrected by the home owner?!

That's what happened to me. The inspection (my listing) lasted almost five hours but the agent did not get his report back for 7 days after the inspection. (He was in the time frame of the contract.) The entire report, as required, was attached with a brief statement to fix EVERYTHING listed on the report! Well not everything...only defective and marginal items!!

The Definitions explained on the report..

Defective-Item is either non-functional, a safety concern, a liability and will require Professional servicing to restore,repair or replace it.  Marginal-Item is in need of routine maintenance or minor repair work.

 

(Note about my other inspections... they were handled with the inspection request presented  (and resolved) within 2 days and each were spelled out what the buyer requested along with signatures.)

 

This is not a new home but one that has been beautifully maintained and shows pride of ownership. The report is 15 pages and describes the condition of the exterior, the roof, the electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, the bathrooms, the kitchen and all the items that go into inspecting a home that is over 30 years old. Many of the inspector's comments were addressing upgrades and routine maintenance. Some noted that an item was older and to budget for replacement in the future.

I might add that we have a back up buyer.

 

How Do You Handle the Home Inspection Request for Repairs?

 

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  1. Barbara Martino-Sliva 08/07/2011 11:29 PM
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Rainmaker
300,739
Jenifer Lower
Bozeman Montana Real Estate .net - Bozeman, MT
Team Service Above Expectation

I have a home inspector I trust impletely!  I have him go over the findings, recommend what is important and what is not, then let the buyer decide what we request.  It leaves me out of the decision making process and just into the negotiating phase, perfect for my job description!

Aug 09, 2011 12:25 AM #19
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Ellie McIntire
Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate - Ellicott City, MD
CDPE, Howard County Homes for Sale

With a buyer we do review the report together. The home inspector has been paid to discover defects about the home as well as provide them with an education on the home they are about to purchase. The addendum that is prepared for the seller is broken up into two parts. (I use the specific GCAR addendum) The first part addresses items that fall under paragraph 21 in the MAR contract. The 2nd part are items that the buyer would LIKE to the seller to fix. Generally the first part is taken care of.

Aug 09, 2011 05:55 AM #20
Rainmaker
1,628,170
Debbie Gartner
Floor Coverings International Westchester NY & Stamford CT - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring

as a non agent/non inspector, it does seem to me that you need to be choiceful abt what is requested.  It seems to me, the top prioirty ones woiuld be safety. It also seems that if either the list is too long or too expensive that they will kill the negotiations.

Aug 09, 2011 06:36 AM #21
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Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Crofton, MD 21114 - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

In today's market, buyers know they're in the drivers' seat.  Home sellers know a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. What a buyer asks for, a buyer usually gets,  That's why they call this a buyer's market.  Sure, I have my home inspection strategies, based on years of experience, but it all goes back to timing.  In a seller's market, the seller can refuse to repair; in a buyer's market, the buyer can demand (and expect to get) almost anything.

 

 

Aug 09, 2011 06:44 AM #22
Rainmaker
94,977
Dan Falco
Assist-2-Sell Buyers and Sellers Advantage - Newtown, PA
Assist 2 Sell Full Service Discount Broker

Margaret, I think the buyer needs to be speciffic in spelling out exactly what they want. When discussing inspections with my clients (buyers or sellers) I try to make them fully aware of the pros and cons of their decision. A buyer asking for perfection in a 30 year old home may have the same affect as offering a ridiculously low price, which is to possibly cause the seller to dig in their heels and not give an inch. A seller refusing to take care of all items could cause the buyer to walk. In other words "do what you want" but here is what can happen if the other side does not agree.

Aug 09, 2011 07:55 AM #23
Rainer
85,369
Michael and Ceili Yablonsky
RE/MAX SunQuest - East Grand Rapids, MI

Margaret,

It sounds like the Buyer has never been informed that no home will be perfect even a new one. 

We have had to draw up repair addendum's for our listings in the past to deal only with safely and clearly broken items (windows and locks). 

You are on the right track it is just time consuming.

Aug 09, 2011 08:01 AM #24
Rainmaker
193,734
Alan Kent
Keller Williams Realty Lake Oconee - Greensboro, GA
Lake Oconee Real Estate

I always tell the Buyers up front that we are looking for mechanical and structural issues, and not cosmetic issues! Then, I have a very good home inspector handle the inspection. He knows what to do, and provides all parties a copy of the report via email no later than the next day. He goes over the report with the buyer, then I find out which items are of most importance to them to have repaired/fixed/replaced. I really prefer all parties to attend, since small non-significant issues can be shown on the spot, and they are usually a non-issue. The parties seem to think in terms of worst case scenario, if they are not present to see what it is the inspector is talking about. My inspector uses photos with arrows to show exactly what he is talking about - it sure helps!    

Aug 09, 2011 08:46 AM #25
Rainmaker
893,729
Michael Setunsky
Michael's Commercial LLC - Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Margaret, I've found a laundry list of items including walk-thru items often upsets the sellers. I would include repairs in an addendum and notify the seller of the walk-thru items separately that require repair per the contract.

Aug 09, 2011 08:50 AM #26
Rainmaker
1,088,861
Bryant Tutas
Bryant Tutas-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc - Poinciana, FL
Broker/REALTOR, Tutas Towne Realty, Inc

Margaret. When agents do that to me we just have the sellers send it back and ask for an addendum signed by the buyer with their repair requests. In my opinion that is the only way to ask for repairs. It's not my job or my sellers job to interpret an inspection report.

Put it in writing and be specific.

Aug 09, 2011 09:13 AM #27
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Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Evanston & Northshore of Chicago real estate

I, too, have recently had a buyer ask for the entire candy-store list on the inspection report.  They basically handed us the inspection and said "fix it".   We, too, had a two-word response.

Aug 09, 2011 09:19 AM #28
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Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi & Corinna Birgit Cromartie
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Palm Harbor, FL
Palm Harbor & Dunedin FL Residential Real Estate

Most contracts down here right now are 'as is' contracts. That said, buyers still want major repairs taken care of and if the seller wants to sell, they get gone. Naturally, they need to be major things, not cleaning the gutters or repairing minor things.

When I am the listing agent, I let my seller know that even an 'as is' contract isn't really 'as is' unless it is an REO!

Aug 09, 2011 09:34 AM #29
Rainmaker
614,753
Barbara Altieri
RealtyQuest, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Margaret -- As a listing agent, I ask for any inspection issues they want resolved presented in writing. I don't accept a copy of the report. I do, however, ask for excerpts from the report proving the issues that were identified or just a reference to those issues in the report if they want to provide me with the whole copy. Nevertheless, just giving me the whole report and telling my clients to address almost everything is not acceptable. 

As a buyer's agent, I always ask for any health and safety issues to be rectified BEFORE closing. I present the issues on a separate report with the report excerpt included. I always tell my buyers they are buying a used home and the inspection report is not meant to be a laundry list of items presented to the seller that needs to be addressed.

Aug 09, 2011 10:59 AM #30
Rainmaker
313,710
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

It depends. Sometimes fixing a lot of stuff, will keep the deal together for the seller. Sometimes, the buyer just wants to know there is nothing major facing them down the road. I think motivation plays a big role here, too.

Aug 09, 2011 11:00 AM #31
Rainmaker
64,927
Crystal De Raffele
www.MyDutchessRealtor.com - Beacon, NY
NYS Lic. Real Estate Salesperson

Hi Margaret,

 

I enjoyed your article.  I explain to my buyers, they need to know BEFORE we walk into the home Inspection what the major issues they see in the home....we base their offer on UPDATES the home needs; and I explain this to the listing agent.  I explain, my buyer's offer is this price, based on current values, and condition of the home,  (i.e.) the home needs a new roof.  

In NY we take into account aesthic updates, kitchen, bath, carpet....and roll that into the offering price.  However, if the seller accepts their offer, and we go to Inspetion; we can only ask for issues unseen, such as, radon, termites, leaks not present during previous visits....

Sellers appreciate our straight forward offer....instead of a buyer that offers HIGH, then back tracks $10k, wasting everyone's time.  Which only results in offer lost. Seller Mad, Buyer Defeated. Listing Agent's moved on....and I'm out showing more houses to an upset buyer, that let the "right one" get away.

 

Better to  fully inform your buyer about being realistic in what they ask for ahead of time!

Aug 09, 2011 11:11 AM #32
Rainer
236,286
Donald Reich
Prudential Centennial - New Rochelle, NY

Look, you can ask for anything.... but don't be obnoxious. Every house needs something, but usually these things are taken into account in the price. If there is something  that was unknown, and signficant, then yes you should bring it up. But if you knew that the roof was shot when made your offer, don't expect to renegotiate it after the home inspection.

Aug 09, 2011 11:23 AM #33
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty - Baltimore, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Chuck, There is a first for everything..you are reminding of another blog post idea.

Jose, This is where sensitivity need to be combined with knowledge, kindness and fairness.

Wandanna, They understand because they have been educated by a knowledgeable pro!

Jenifer, You have found a great partner in your inspector.

Ellie, It would be a pleasure working with  you.

Debbie, Of course safety and defective items are to be taken care of. Many times the others can be addressed with everyone being satisfied. I think some of it is called finesse.

Margaret, Whether buyer market or seller market..we need to do the right thing for our clients. This property was on for a very short time and we do have a back up offer.

Dan, I do believe we call that the art of negotiation.

Michael and Ceili, It is difficult keeping it together when things are not spelled out.

Michael, This is where our sensitivity, kindness and knowledge comes into play.

Alan K., You are doing it the way that will get your clients to the settlement table.

Bryant, That is exactly what was done. It is not my job or the sellers to interpret the inspection.

Alan M, I am still enjoying yesterday's post. Are those two words...Thank You?

Barbara Jo,  In our true "as is" contracts, I like to put "home inspection for buyer's information only."

Barbara, You understand the process and how to councel your clients.

Sandy, They have not problem fixing requested items.

Chrystal, I would love to work with you and your informed buyers.

Donald, I don't mind them asking for everything but it needs to be spelled out.

Aug 09, 2011 12:55 PM #34
Rainer
279,274
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Leesburg, VA

Hmmm, just depends. The buyers vary with requests. If it's something that they are going to replace anyway, probably let it slide. But if it's something that will stay, and should be repaied by a licensed contractor, it will go on their request list usually.

 Some buyers don't want to nit pick and ask for minor repairs. They just want the house, and want a the closing to go as smooth as possible. But any requests that they do make should be specific and clearly understood by everyone involved.

 Many times a seller will just offer to fix this or that from the inspectors report, but again, those should be spelled out, and also specify that repairs are going to be done by a licensed contractor with all receipts to be provided to buyer and agent.

Aug 09, 2011 03:34 PM #35
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty - Baltimore, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Jeff, You got the point..." But any requests that they do make should be specific and clearly understood by everyone involved."

Aug 09, 2011 04:31 PM #36
Rainmaker
971,580
Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 TheHomeFunnel.com - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

Lots of very good comments. I typically will spend lots of time with my clients going over all the different options available and clearly spell out what they want fixed, repaired, replaced or what the seller will do and by whom. 

 

thanks

Aug 30, 2011 05:54 AM #37
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty - Baltimore, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Adrian, you do it the professional way!

Mar 16, 2014 05:05 AM #38
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