May 2, 2010

Inspection Day Tips

When buying a home, always, always, always get a professional inspection in the first 7 days after the contract date. And be prepared for a number of possibly unpleasant discoveries.

Here are some of my favorite tips to buyers taking that all important hard look:
1. Review the Seller's Disclosure. How old is the roof? Who installed the new air conditioning unit? When was that plumbing leak repaired? Ask for an explanation of anything that you don't understand.

2. Hire the best inspector possible. I've been through a lot of home inspections - as a buyer's agent, as a seller's agent, and quite a few as a personal buyer and as a seller. I seen a lot of home inspectors; some I would recommend and others I would not. An informed and active agent can recommend certified inspectors and their fees are all in close range of one and other. Never use an inspector whose company is also involved with making repairs.

3. Look closely at the big ticket items. Wall or ceiling cracks could be a result of normal settling or they could indicate major structural failures. Look to the professionals for guidance on issues like these. Often inspectors will suggest having qualified professionals evaluate some components in the house. However, they should be able to tell you which suggestions are merely standard (or state required) and which areas truly need an expert to take a look.

4. Don't panic. No home is flawless. Even a brand new home will often have issues that a good inspector will point out. In a verbal report, the inspector can give you a good idea of the overall condition of the property where any red flags appear. I like to ask, "If this were your home, would you be concerned about ....?"

If you are a seller, you may be sweating it out on inspection day. There isn't anything you can do about the inspection process, but here are some tips for sellers to avoid inspection nightmares:
1. Disclose, disclose, disclose. And when in doubt, disclose. Do yourself a favor and stay out the courtroom by disclosing all known defects or repairs to any potential buyers. If you don't disclose problems, the inspector will likely find them and then you may be faced with making the repairs or renegotiating the contract. And you'd be surprised how often the neighbors will let the new buyers know about the regular visits from the plumbing company or the previous flood.
2. Avoid renegotiating the contract if possible. It hard enough in this market to get a good contract. And now you've got the buyer’s home inspection to get past. Keep in mind that often buyers imagine repair costs to be higher than they really are. If you've disclosed repairs in advance, they shouldn't be an issue now. Make sure your agent knows what repairs may be lender required and when the buyers may be looking for you to fund an upgrade, not a repair.

On inspection day, the sellers should not be present, however the buyers should be there for the last 15 minutes of the inspection and go over the report with the inspector at the house that day.

1 comment:

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