Negotiating the successful close of a home sale begins with price and contract terms and doesn’t end until the deal closes. In the second part of this two-part blog, I’ll be looking at the home inspection process from the point of view of the seller.
Very few home inspections are “clean,” meaning there’s not a thing wrong with the home. And, many of the items mentioned in the reports are minor or boilerplate warnings common to almost every home inspection.
After the home inspection the buyers will look over the home inspection and decide if anything in the report is a deal breaker for them. If it is they’ll ask you as the seller to fix it.
A Matter of Compromise
It’s amazing to me how old, ugly and scary a home inspection photo of an electrical outlet wall plate can look. Each smudge, every crack and that itty-bitty- chipped-corner, when resized to enormous proportions, makes it look like it’s ready to eat the house.
The real estate agent for the buyer that insists that the seller replace that piece of plastic or that the seller buy and install a globe lightbulb in the outlet over the front porch, should counsel her client that the inspection report is not a repair list for the seller.
Typically, requests to rectify small cosmetic issues can be refused and a buyer will still want the house. Denver is currently an intense sellers’ market. You are in the driver’s seat. Sit down with your agent and discuss the buyer’s list of fixes.
Most buyers won’t walk away from a home if you don’t replace an electrical outlet but cosmetic fixes like that can be used to gain credibility and good faith with buyers on larger, more expensive items.
Any major repairs such as needing a new roof, furnace, or sewer line is more than likely going to be non-negotiable for buyers unless the home is being sold as a fix-up project with a fix-up project price.
If you don’t have the money to replace a sewer line before closing the contractor’s payment can be held in escrow at closing and paid then.
Or you can give the buyer a credit to repair the defect in the future.
Once you’ve been notified that a major system of the house is failing or has failed such as the sewer line then it is your legal duty to disclose that to other buyers. So refusing to repair the items, putting the home back on the market or taking a backup offer with the hope that the new buyers won’t notice isn’t really an option.
Offering a home warranty
Offering a home warranty is a win-win way to address those requests for replacement of an item that, although it may be nearing the end of its functional life, still works.
An aging water heater, for instance, may concern the buyer. A home warranty might ease their anxiety and save you money in the process.
As always, consult with your real estate agent about all possible responses to a buyer’s request for repairs.