The stage of a home sale where a home inspection is often conducted is where most canceled sales occur. Home inspections can reveal some things about a home that a potential buyer doesn’t have the money, time, or patience to handle. It can also help either side significantly in a sale. A home inspection that comes back with all systems in excellent condition can justify the asking price set by the seller. On the other hand, a home inspection that recommends minor to major repairs can serve as a negotiation tool for buyers to either get a better deal on the house or have some upgrades or home repairs performed at no cost to them.
Since there are several avenues of potential outcomes, here are a few tips that home inspectors want or wish people kept in mind about the home inspection process—or its results.
Sellers, this will be one of the longest times a potential buyer will be in your home—and will specifically be looking for issues with a professional home inspector at their side. While home inspectors provide a fair analysis of the home, as buyers walk room to room with them, they may notice little things that they were first blinded to when they first fell in love with the home. Remove clutter, keep surfaces clean, hid personal décor and belongings—when a home feels less like someone is still living in it, the more a buyer can imagine themselves in it. And that’s a feeling you don’t want them to lose if they are spending a few hours in your home during the inspection. Also, before the inspection, make any small, inexpensive repairs like replacing a burnt-out lightbulb, repairing a dent in the wall, and replace outlet covers—things you were able to overlook until you eventually got around to it but could be added to what feels like an endless list of minor nuances that your buyer will have to deal with and that may get under their skin.
Buyers, the home you are hoping is the one? It probably (and very likely) has problems. Most homes do—welcome to homeownership. Maintenance issues may be spotted, and even some of the more major issues may be found (like mold)—don’t panic and cancel your contract. Most things can be fixed! Large issues that require extensive repairs may provide a great opportunity to knock off a few thousand from the asking price so you can cover the cost of repairs—or negotiating the repairs to be done in advance. It may also open another avenue for financing the home, qualifying you for a home mortgage that includes additional funding for upgrades and repairs into the total amount borrowed.
Unfortunately, home inspectors don’t always have all the answers. While we can provide the condition of the roof or HVAC system, we can’t guarantee exactly how long it will last. We can provide you as much information as can be inferred about the home based on our knowledge, training, and experience which can help provide a rough estimate on the remaining lifespan of different systems. We can also help you to prioritized which repairs and upgrades should be done first.