Five ways we help buyers navigate tricky inspections
by Sara Ifert
on Tuesday, October 6th, 2020 at 1:17pm.
The home inspection is an important milestone in the home buying and selling process, and sometimes it can be a big sticking point. It’s not uncommon for a home inspection to reveal a few issues that buyers feel need to be addressed and the sellers say, “no way.” How can buyers and sellers work through this apparent impasse? A few of our realtors share some of the strategies they have used to help buyers navigate their inspection contingency - without jeopardizing the sale.
Five ways we help buyers navigate tricky inspections
1. Be professional
Sometimes inspections bring forth issues that sellers weren’t aware of, or disagree with. Sellers can even be offended by the results. We help by focusing the conversation on issues that negatively impact the safety, value, and structural integrity of the home. Even if the seller is emotional or defensive, it's best to remain respectful and clear in communications with the listing agent and seller. Sometimes a compromise can be reached when the buyer takes the high road.
Alan Feder: I do my best to remain objective. Clients sometimes get emotional after the inspection, and they are looking to us for guidance. We cannot represent them well if we get caught up in the emotion of it all. Clear, concise and frequent communication is helpful. In my experience, a phone call is always better than a text or email when dealing with heated issues.
Dan Miller: Sellers are much more likely to negotiate with a buyer agent who maintains a professional and positive tone when advocating for their client. If the buyer agent tries to play the role of a tough negotiator, the offer very often falls apart. It's been our experience that when deals fall apart, it is often due to the actions of the agents, not the results of the inspection.
2. Be patient
Sellers may seem inflexible at first, but there is often room for negotiation. Give the process time. Often, sellers are more willing to negotiate after the dust settles from the initial inspection results.
Chris Venden: Many sellers aren't willing to do too much these days, especially when they get competing offers. However, it is in their best interest to take care of any significant issues for the buyer, as that may be the best offer they get.
Dan: We use a calm and steady approach as we negotiate the issues that impact the safety, the market value, and lifespan of the home. Sometimes it's just a matter of being patient and letting the process play out. Most sellers don't want to cancel their offer over an inspection, and they'll be ready to negotiate once they have some time to process the report.
3. Keep the process moving
We work to make sure the inspection doesn’t derail the purchase of the home and keep things moving as smooth as possible. We can help come up with cost estimates for specific repairs to bring clarity to the situation. Sometimes we are able to extend the inspection contingency and buy a few more days of time can help bring the two parties together.
Chris: We work in our client's best interest, yet try to make it a win-win for both parties, so that there isn't animosity through the rest of the transaction.
4. Schedule early, and attend the Inspection
Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your inspection. Scheduling early leaves plenty of time to negotiate repairs, a price reduction, or credit. We often try to attend the inspection with the buyer to help provide context and come up with a strategy for negotiation. Also, it is important to remember the goal of the inspection - to focus on the significant issues that impact safety. Check out this article for more information about what to expect on the day of the inspection.
Alan: I think it's important for buyers to attend their inspections so they can see anything that might be considered a defect. Also, I attend inspections with my clients for the same reason.
Chris: I do my best to set the expectations of the buyer through the process. I remind buyers that the inspector is looking for significant issues, but will note things that need maintenance.
5. Get creative with negotiation.
We have many tools available to help navigate a tricky negotiation. It depends on the severity of the issues at hand, but often there are ways to come to a positive resolution, with a little bit of creativity.
Dan: Sometimes we bring in outside contractors to more closely evaluate a defect. This lends some objectivity and removes some of the emotion from the negotiation. If the seller doesn't repair defects prior to closing, we gather estimates to negotiate an appropriate credit or price reduction.
Chris: Some sellers are more willing to give buyers a credit so that they don't have to deal with coordinating contractors. Others prefer to coordinate the work themselves instead of issuing a large credit. I talk through options with the listing agent to see where both sides are at and try to come to middle ground.
I may also request that the seller provide a home warranty. In cases where there are older mechanicals/appliances, a home warranty may be less expensive to the seller and provide the buyer with more peace of mind - at least for the first year.
Looking for a Realtor that can help you make your home buying dreams a reality? Contact us for a free consultation, and we’ll discuss all the ways we help buyers like you successfully navigate the home buying process.