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Pre-Listing vs. Pre-Offer Home Inspections

Pre-Listing vs. Pre-Offer Home Inspections

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.

Boiling Decisions Down to Dollars and Cents

Boiling Decisions Down to Dollars and Cents

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.

Home Inspections Are Not Pass/Fail

Home Inspections Are Not Pass/Fail

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.

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