HOME INSPECTIONS - SIMPLIFIED

Dated: 07/07/2019

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HOME INSPECTIONS - SIMPLIFIED

There are many things that play an important role in the sale of any home. The home inspection one the most common contingencies of a sale. A vital part of the process, what the inspector says can make or break a deal.

I recommend the home inspection for buyers and sellers. Agents should attend every inspection. I try to because it’s part of my job. You hired your agent to be your advocate. Not all agents who miss an inspection are terrible at their job or derelict of their duties to a client. Sometimes, it’s better to move forward with the inspection rather than reschedule it, which can result in a delay of closing.

STARTING POINT

If you’re the buyer, you know what you’re getting into. It’s a great negotiating tool used by most agents on behalf of the buyer. If you’re buying a handyman special, you’ll know exactly what repairs take priority and a rough idea of what you want to or can afford to put into a home.

As a seller, you’ll know what needs to be completed in order to maximize your effort in retaining your power to stay on point with your asking price. If you’re not able to complete the suggested repairs, your agent may advise you to adjust the price according to the expenses needed or agree to give a buyer a credit for the needed repair/replacement.

IS IT REALLY A LIABILITY?

You may have heard some agents say they won’t attend because it’s a liability for them. That’s non sense. It only becomes a liability when the agent steps outside their field of expertise and starts ad libbing to what is being said or adding newly noticed flaws. Don’t use this as a deterrent to ask questions. If an agent doesn’t understand what’s being said, how can they properly and professionally negotiate it? The only stupid question is are the unasked questions.  We can’t advise you on what to do with the ungrounded outlet in the bedroom, we’re not electricians - a good agent will tell you that you need to speak with an electrician. That’s where the liability either ends or begins. An agents job at the home inspection is to watch, ask questions based on what the inspector is talking about, and learn.

A fine example of how this could end up:

Buyer’s attorney: “ Ms. Buyer’s agent were you present for my client’s home inspection”

Buyer’s agent “Yes sir, I was there”

Buyer’s attorney “Did you point out these two defects during the inspection to the buyer?”

Buyer’s agent “ Yes sir I did”

Buyer’s attorney “Why did you not point out the mold on the wooden beam in the basement due to past water damage?”

Buyer’s agent “ I’m not a home inspector sir - that’s not part of my job”

Now that we see how a buyer will win their lawsuit. We can assume that there may be licensure consequences. It’s good practice to go with flow and let the inspector do their job. Ask questions when appropriate

BENEFITS OF ATTENDING

Both the seller’s agent and buyer’s agent should be in attendance. How can your agent negotiate without hearing first hand from the inspector what’s wrong? They can’t.

The inspector will be all over the place looking for issues, hopefully explaining the proper maintenance to the buyer, taking notes, and making decisions based off what is found. I’ve found the inspectors I’ve worked with have been very informative in explaining what’s wrong, why it’s wrong, how it should be, how to fix it, if it’s something that can be done yourself or if you need to hire someone. 

Generally, the buyer know nothing about the house, the agents involved in the transaction are dependant upon the seller’s disclosure, but, the seller has lived there and/or remodelled the home - having intimate knowledge of the home. Sellers are only responsible for disclosing what they know. Unless they’re some sort of expert in the real estate Industry, most are doing the best they can. It’s easy to understand why we depend on home inspectors to relay the information in a way that in accurately understood. 

It’s very important not to exaggerate the details or the issues found by the inspector. We understand it’s a lot of information to decipher causing anxiety. This can be especially true for first time home buyers who are already anxious and are venturing down the road of homeownership not knowing what lies in wait at the next stop. 

Your agent may ask the inspector questions for clarification. Also, we can help you understand what repairs should take priority, what issues will affect the price, and how those issues stand up to the comps.

THE REPORT

At the end of the home inspection, the inspector will tell your buyer that they’ll be receiving the report within the day or next time, if you had an inspection later in the day. As an agent, I always ask if they can send a copy to me. The inspectors are very happy to do this. 

The report can be as many pages as the issues found. Don’t let this deter you. It can be daunting. Every one has a job to do, theirs is to make you aware of issues. They must disclose whatever issues they do find. 

An inspection report will include color photos, an outline describing the issues, recommendations for repairs, a referral for a specialist (such as an electrician or plumber). 

An agent job doesn’t end at the inspection. This is the jumping off point for negotiations. 

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Ashley Pugliesi

Serving southwestern Pennsylvania I've been a Realtor with eXp Realty since 2018 in Pittsburgh, servicing Allegheny and the surrounding counties. As a resident in the Edgewood/Swissvale area, I have ....

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