As a real estate agent representing my client (the buyer), I would be remiss if I didn’t instruct my client to get an inspection report for a property that they intend to put an offer in to purchase. During the buyer consultation, the buyer is made aware that it is customary to include a home inspection contingency with the offer. This is important because it will alert the buyer of problems that may need to be addressed. So, now that the inspection is complete let’s dissect what this long and extensive inspection report tells the buyer. While reading this keep in mind that no home is perfect unless you are buying a new construction home.
The inspection report will address the entire home from the roof to the foundation. The home inspection takes approximately two to four hours and it is highly suggested that the buyer be present during the home inspection. The inspection will address the HVAC system, interior plumbing, electrical systems, roof, attic, and floors. What should realtors advise their clients to include in repair requests? What’s asking too much?
As a general rule, problems with non-functioning systems and safety issues are legitimate negotiable concerns. If you discover substantial structural defects or serious hazards, this may be a good indicator to back out of the contract. On the other hand, some issues may be disclosed on the sellers’ disclosure report and may not derail the transaction if your goal is to reach the closing table.
1. Normal wear and tear.
Keep in mind that things that are obviously visible when the offer was made are not the sellers’ responsibility to repair with an As-Is- Contract offer. Things like chipped paint on the baseboards, a cracked mirror, scratches on the hardwood flooring, or minor cosmetic defects are things that in my experience the seller is unwilling to negotiate on.
2. Smoke and Carbon monoxide detectors
Although smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are considered safety concerns for most municipalities during the home inspection these safety items may be insignificant to bring to the seller’s attention at that time, instead of settling for cheap replacements, you can shop for a system that satisfies your long-term preferences while living in the home.
3. Landscaping modifications.
It’s unreasonable to expect sellers to trim foundation plantings, level out uneven walkway bricks, or repair a loose fence board. Again, these items were visible when you toured the home and will likely irritate the sellers.
4. Code updates.
In many locations, inspectors are obligated to list any item in the house that does not meet the current code requirements. That doesn’t necessarily mean the house needs to be brought up to code. Typically, these items are grandfathered into the purchase.
5. What to include in repair requests.
Things that may require negotiation during the inspection period are electrical system issues like aluminum wiring, reversed polarity, improper wiring, double-tapped circuit breakers, ungrounded or exposed wiring or splicing. Generally, these are considered safety issues and some of these issues may also become a factor when looking for home insurance as well. The age of the roof or major damages to the roof may be of concern to the home buyer. The HVAC, plumbing and water heater age or major problems may be items to negotiate with the seller about. When these issues come up in the report the seller is usually open to negotiating for repairs or credits to move the transaction forward.