Keeping Up With the Joneses, A True Life Home Buyer’s Story – Part Five – Working Through the Inspection Process

Keeping Up With the Joneses, A True Life Home Buyer’s Story – Part Five – Working Through the Inspection Process

A home inspection is most important.

Sometimes a problem with a home is obvious. Other times they are not. Do not assume anything. Get the home inspected.

It is essential to make sure your realtor negotiates for an inspection.  If the home is listed as an “as is” that does not mean you have to take the home if you don’t like the inspection.  The realtor can negotiate so that you have the option of walking away from the home if there is something you don’t like about the inspection.

In Kentucky there are 3 choices for an inspection on the purchase contract.  If the buyer chooses the first choice then they have agreed to buy the home no matter how bad the inspection is.  If they choose the second choice then if they do not like the inspection they can walk away.  The third choice gives the buyer the opportunity to negotiate for repairs.

Almost all “as is” sellers will agree to the second choice.  If not then the buyer should walk away from the deal unless the price is so good they are willing to take the risk of fixing up a very deficient home.

The Joneses’ inspection came back with three  items to be fixed that were critical and a few others that my buyers knew they could handle themselves.   The safety feature on the automatic garage door was not working.  (If a child were standing in the doorway as the garage closed then the door could have crushed them).  This is a very inexpensive thing to fix.  The second was a water leak behind the siding.  Removing the siding to find the source of the leak would take a professional.  The third was the chimney cap was rusting.  Our request to the sellers included this phrase. “The repairs will be made by a licensed professional….”

We asked the sellers to make the major repairs and to fix a couple of smaller items.  We asked them to replace the chimney cap but my buyers agreed to have it repaired rather than replacing it.  The sellers agreed to fix the garage door and the water leak and make a couple of other smaller repairs.

Reasonable sellers will almost always fix reasonable requests for repairs.  The seller fills out a Seller’s Disclosure form before listing.  The problems that are not disclosed by the seller that are discovered in the inspection subsequently would need to be posted on the seller’s disclosure form.  Therefore sellers will almost always go ahead and fix the issue since it is going to now be evident to all buyers.

Of course if the seller refuses to fix something,  the buyers can still negotiate for some money to allow them to fix the problem .  This requires an addendum to the contract stating that the money is in lieu of repairs.

Negotiating the repairs on this home took about the same time that it took to negotiate the price.  Experience has shown us at The Jubilee Team that it is not unusual to take longer to negotiate the repairs than it does to negotiate the price.  If there are major items that are in question then it can take several days to get the necessary information from contractors so that the buyer really knows  what they need to negotiate.

The buyer needs to always put themselves in the place of the seller.  They need to ask, “If I were the seller and I just learned about a major problem with my home what would I do?”

When the buyer is willing to take the time to educate the seller about the real condition of the home then the seller will be much more likely to accept the evidence.  The buyer and their agent need to be reasonable and give the seller time to understand and consider the facts.  When reasonable people are willing to negotiate the facts then truth and honesty will allow both parties the opportunity to succeed.

The purchase contract makes it very clear that the buyer has 48 hours before the closing to inspect the repairs.  This gives the buyer enough time to do some last minute negotiating if the repairs are not made to their satisfaction.

Please, always have a home inspection performed.  Do not assume someone you know can inspect a home.  Even the best home inspectors can miss something.  One of the first homes I helped sell in Lexington was for a family that had their father inspect the home.  He missed a major water problem in the crawl space and it cost this family $8,000 to get the mold remediated and the water problem abated.  The cost of a home inspection will be somewhere between $250.00 and $450.00.  This is a small price to pay when making such a large investment.

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