Negotiating Inspection Issues: Less is truly more...

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Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Premier, Realtors

Preparation is everything. I counsel first-time buyers that their home inspection is primarily an opportunity for them to learn about their new home. The inspection will result in an owner's manual (the written inspection report) which they should save and review once each year that they own the property. This will help them keep up with the necessary maintenance of their home.

I remind them that their inspection contingency does protect them, in the unlikely event that the home has serious problems which we did not discover prior to making a purchase offer. If that is the case, the buyer can request that the seller either remedy the problem or make a financial adjustment in the buyer's favor. If a seller does not fix the problem, the seller risks losing the buyer plus has the burden of disclosing the property defect to any future buyer for the home.

With the benefit of also representing many sellers over the last two decades, I want buyers to concentrate on their top 3 priorities when making an inspection request. Over the years, I have seen most sellers are willing to correct 2 or 3 minor flaws in their homes. They are usually not willing to upgrade the house however (if they are not selling a new house, they won't be willing to bring the electrical system up to the current building codes for new construction).

Buyers who present the seller with a laundry list of 10 to 20 items to be repaired are not real buyers in the seller's eye. They are simply bad-faith negotiators, who offered an intial price and terms which they never intended to pay, planning to use the inspection results to re-open negotiations. In this instance, many sellers will refuse to do anything on the buyer's list, reasoning that since the buyer is not real anyway it doesn't matter how they respond.

The buyer ends up having to either walk from the property, be out-of-pocket for inspection and appraisal fees, receiving only their deposit back for their time and emotional investment (or move ahead with the purchase despite the seller's refusal to make any repairs).

Moderation in all things is still good advice (& applies to home inspection requests)!

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Brent Bell

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