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Home Sellers - Understanding Home InspectionsBy ROB SWAN, Contributing Writer, Qualifying Broker S

By ROB SWAN, Contributing Writer, Qualifying Broker Swan Realty

As part of the home buying/selling process there is usually a home inspection involved. The purpose of a home inspection is to uncover any defects that may not be apparent in order for the buyer to have a better understanding of the true condition of the home.

Sellers tend to be wary of home inspections due to the fact that a defect could jeopardize the sale or prompt the buyer to ask for compensation to make requested repairs. So what should sellers do?

To begin with, you as a seller have a legal obligation to disclose any known material defects, not doing so could create legal liability and a subsequent civil case, so let’s avoid that.

As a seller you obviously want to obtain the highest price possible and one way to do that, is to come as close as you can to insure the house is issue free. All older homes have issues, if you as the seller are aware of these, do your best to either repair or mitigate. One thing I always suggest is to obtain a pre-listing inspection. A pre-listing inspection will uncover unknown defects and give you a chance to deal with them prior to going on market. This inspection report can be made available to any prospective buyer and can also detail the steps that were taken to repair or mitigate any defects. There is a chance the buyer may accept the existing report and waive any further inspections. A home inspection will cost between $500 and $700 in our area.

Keep in mind that the inspector's job is to find any and everything he possibly can. In my entire career, I have never seen a report come back without uncovering problems, even on brand new houses. As a seller, focus on the major issues and those most likely to raise objections with a prospective buyer.

If you as a seller opt not to do a pre-inspection, do your best to repair all known defects as they will most likely be uncovered during the buyers inspection. Many times you can do the repairs yourself or hire them done for less than what will be asked for as compensation by the buyer.

So now the house is perfect and the buyer still wants his own inspection. No problem, the buyer has a right to an inspection. The inspector subsequently did the inspection and found defects (remember, that’s his job) and the buyer is now asking for compensation, Grrrr … . Don’t get your feelings hurt, this is very normal, it’s just business. At this point do your best to negotiate with the buyer and hopefully come up with an agreement you can both live with.

Keep in mind, if the sale falls through due to any inspection turning up a material defect you were previously unaware of, you are required by law to disclose this to any subsequent buyers so you don’t get yourself in trouble.

Next month I will be discussing the buyer's side of home inspections.

Questions? Please feel free to contact me anytime.

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