A home inspection is like an annual physical with your doctor. The point of the entire procedure is to make sure everything is well with the patient - in this case, the house you’d like to buy. If there are early signs of possible disease (and defect), a home inspection lets us know what work needs to be done to avoid future serious problems. It also tells you when some part of the patient (home) is falling apart or can’t be repaired.
In the course of the inspection, issues may be found that need to be addressed by the seller. When that happens, it’s stressful for everyone, but especially the seller who worries they may lose the entire deal. Whatever a home inspection shows, a buyer should expect that problems will be addressed to their satisfaction. With that said, though, it’s important to be fair to sellers and realistic with your expectations.
Taking the Home Inspection Too Far
On two different occasions, we’ve worked with clients where minor and fixable problems were found during the home inspection. Correcting these issues would prevent any future damage and maintain the high quality and integrity of the property. In the first situation, the home inspector found a couple of cracked tiles on the roof. Otherwise, the roof was fine and solid, with several more years of life in it. When the buyers found out, they requested that the entire roof be replaced.
In the second scenario, the air condition was in less than great condition. It wasn’t running efficiently and looked dirty. Ultimately, after the home inspector took a look at it, all it needed was to be serviced and a filter replacement. When the buyers saw the home inspection report, they asked the sellers to replace the entire air conditioning unit.
What It Means to Be Reasonable
As a buyer, you’d love a new roof or a new air conditioning unit. Wouldn’t we all? But in real estate, it’s never going to work that way. The repairs you ask for should correct the problem, fix past damage, and prevent serious and immediate future issues. A home inspection that finds minimal problems isn’t going to lead to a new roof, AC, pool, deck, or any other part of the home you’d like updated.
Let’s get back to our annual physical example. You visit the doctor and after the exam, they tell you, “It would be great if you lose a few pounds and quit smoking. These two habits may lead to a heart attack one day, if you’re not careful.” If you responded like the two buyers above, your response would be, “Great, let’s schedule the heart transplant for next week.” Of course, that’s not reasonable, and neither is demanding expensive and big replacements to correct small issues.
A home inspection is an excellent way to know more about the home you want to buy. Some problems may be too big to overcome. Others can lay the groundwork for further negotiation and even a drop in price. But both sides need to be realistic. Sellers know they may have to make some repairs or concessions. As the buyer, let’s make sure the items and fixes you’re asking for after the home inspection are fair to both parties, too.
Are you ready to buy or sell? Want to work with someone who will work hard to get the best and most fair deal for you? Let’s talk.