It is always an honor to help someone who has known me my entire life buy or sell a home. In the case of my buyers who just purchased a brand new home in Carter’s Mill in Haymarket, one of them was actually my fill-in babysitter when I was a kid. When his sister wasn’t able to fulfill the duties, it was up to him. The giant age difference as kids to teens means nothing in land of fifty plus years.
He and his wife reached out to me in February. His mother had moved in with them and was having a hard time with the stairs in their home. While he had planned to retire and sell his home a couple years ago, mom moving in with them put the new retirement home in a different place. Retiring at the beach wasn’t fair to mom, taking her away from all that was familiar and her daughter. So they started looking for a home in the active adult communities in Western Prince William County. It didn’t take but a couple home tours for them to identify that they really preferred a new home and the location of Carter’s Mill, a Del Webb/Pulte community off of John Marshall Highway.
They went under contract to purchase their Carter’s Mill home in early March. They fully expected to be moving in at the end of the year. Pulte got the job done quicker than anticipated and today, they closed on their brand new home before the end of September. Everything they need is on one level and they have a fully finished, walk out basement as well. Pulte built them a great composite deck and were still tweaking the details midday today to make sure my buyers were one hundred percent satisfied.
One thing that my buyers were so happy they did was to hire home inspectors for both a pre-drywall inspection and final inspection before closing. And the great thing I noticed was that Pulte was not put off by this at all. Their construction manager welcomed it, went over the home inspection report and corrected issues found. It was never a sore spot for the builder, but a chance for them to rise to the occasion and continue to make my buyers happy.
For anyone looking for fifty-five plus communities in Western Prince William County, I would definitely consider Carter’s Mill. If you want representation while buying, feel free to reach out.
Anyone who has listed with me as a seller or been trained by me as a new agent knows that when it comes to listing brochures, I am not a fan. In an age where the answer to anything lies in the palm of your hand with just a few touch screen pokes, what possible good is a printed brochure for a listing doing except making your seller happy? Online brochures are all you need. Be visible online and the home will sell. Save some trees and cut down on the trash in buyer agent car floor boards.
A few days ago, during a home inspection, I found an outstanding use of the brochure the listing agent had in the home. As the buyer’s agent, I attend home inspections to take in the information the inspector gives. However, the inspection earlier this week was different. You see, the entire family was at the inspection. Mom and dad, who are my buyers, and their three children ranging in age from two to seven. One might woner, why would a child attend a home inspection? As it turns out, the family home my buyers were selling was also being inspected the very same day by their own buyers. They all had to be out of the home.
The kids were great for as long as you might expect kids to last in an environment with only the few toys mom brought and nothing else. They were growing restless and I jumped in to help. It was time for a game of brochure scavenger hunt. The kids all got a brochure. I would point to a picture and ask them to find that room. It was made all the more challenging by the fact that the rooms were vacant during the inspection. Talk about a lesson in observing details and spatial relations! We had to pay attention to window treatment colors, placement of windows, color or walls. It was interesting to watch their minds work.
After twenty minutes, the kids had found all the rooms pictured and then began to wonder why some rooms weren’t on the brochure. Good question with not a great answer that a seven year old would understand. Time for another game. This time, the seven year old had a great idea. Brochure hide and seek. He hid the brochure and we had to find it.
As it turns out, having brochures in the house that day was a life saver. I am still one hundred percent positive these things do nothing to get a seller more money or get a home to sell quicker, but at least it came in handy as I became a home inspection camp counselor to my three youngest clients.
In the seller’s market that Bristow/Gainesville is currently experiencing, there are a lot of buyers making offers that are not contingent on home inspections. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the buyer doesn’t want a home inspection. A trick many buyers agents use is getting in for an informational home inspection before HOA documents are delivered. This gives buyers a right to void under HOA documents if they find out something during a home inspection they didn’t like. The one thing wrong with this line of thinking is that some agents don’t put the inspection for informational purposes into the contract. And here’s what the Residential Sales Contract says under Access To Property:
“Seller will provide Broker, Buyer, inspectors representing Buyer, and representatives of lending institutions for Appraisal purposes reasonable access to the Property for comply with this Contract.”
In simpler terms, if there is an inspection a buyer wishes to have, not expressed in the contract, the sellers are not contractually obligated to give access for it. This is the very thought that was lingering in my mind when I was reading agents touting the right for buyers to have pre-inspection offers. What permission is the seller giving for such inspections? Seems to me if a seller didn’t give permission for an inspection, especially if the property is not under contract, it is dangerous territory for a buyer just viewing the property to bring an inspector for the purposes of a pre-offer inspection.
Of course, that thought gave rise to another. If sellers are truly wanting to have a contract where a buyer is purchasing with eyes wide open about what they are getting and minimize buyer’s remorse, pre-listing home inspections make a ton of sense. Seller hires the inspector, addresses any issues they want to, and divulge that inspection report to every buyer interested in making an offer. To me, this makes a lot of sense.
What makes sense when you are about to list your home in the Bristow/Gainesville seller’s market? Let’s talk it over and see what works for you.
In a competitive market, buyers are often having to forego a home inspection with the right to ask a seller for repairs. Instead, most are having to do with a Right to Void Only home inspection. So how does a buyer evaluate whether or not they should void their contract or move forward in a deal?
Essentially, it all comes down to dollars and cents. Any good home inspector presents buyers with a life span estimate on the major components in the home and tells them to budget for replacement. Roof, kitchen appliances, HVAC and water heater. So the question becomes, how many of these systems are already showing signs of failure, nearing the end of their useful life or have surpassed their useful life? If more than you can reasonably afford, you have your answer. Void the contract and move on.
Bottom line, a buyer should never try to talk themselves into a home if they can not afford the impending costs of keeping it up in the near future.
There is a common misconception among buyers, as well as sellers, that there either a pass or fail outcome from a home inspection. Many times home owners that are listing their homes with me will ask, “What if our home fails inspection?” My answer is always, “There is no such thing as failing a home inspection. A buyer can ask for repairs. You can say yes or no. The only things you must remedy, according to our Residential Sales Contract in Northern Virginia are HOA violations and non-working smoke detectors.”
Truly, there is no such thing as a pass/fail outcome for home inspections. As more and more buyers are going with Right to Void Only home inspections, which really is an indication that no repairs will be requested, you will find that even that is not cut and dried like pass or fail.
Say a first time buyer has a home inspection that reveals that a major component of a home is not working, at the end of its life and needs replacement. If the buyer doesn’t have money to replace that system, say an HVAC system, then their buyers agent may let the listing agent know that the buyers are ready to void and here are the reasons why. Smart sellers will fix the problems. Why? They know that if they do not, they are issues that they as sellers will have to disclose and/or may be issues that will come up again. And once a seller loses one deal, you can bet that buyers out there are wondering what is wrong with the home that made the buyers walk.
Regardless of the market or what type of home inspection was requested, everything revealed in a home inspection is subjective. Some buyers can handle more issues than others. Some buyers are unfamiliar with home repair projects and may ask for every little thing to be repaired. Whether a seller indulges repair requests is entirely up to the seller. However, in a strongly seller favored market, buyers shouldn’t get their hopes up that much will be taken care of by sellers. Major issues stand the best chance, but nickel and dime stuff, like lack of GFCI protection in kitchen outlets, no anti-tip brackets on stoves, and things like that are not likely to get resolved.