Every step of the real estate process is crucial, but none is more critical than the inspection. It’s a simple task that fills both sellers and buyers with dread. The seller wants the sale to go ahead with as few hitches as possible, and the buyer wants to make sure their dream home isn’t a dud. Only after the inspector has issued their report can the actual negotiations begin.
Both parties want to close the deal, but the property must be checked first to ensure that there aren’t any potentially expensive (or dangerous) surprises. That is why many prospective buyers get home inspections.
But the process doesn’t end there. Here are a few things you should know to make it as quick and stress-free as possible:
1. Add a special clause to the contract
Some people close deals based on handshakes, but if you want to protect yourself, you need to put everything in writing. Inspecting the home is a normal part of the process, but you will want to add a contingency clause to the contract. It ensures that certain conditions have to be met before the deal is made official.
For instance, you could stipulate in the contract that you have a two-week window after the contract signing to check the home for any defects and structural abnormalities. If the inspector finds structural issues, the clause allows you to back out of the deal without any repercussions if both parties fail to agree on repairs or replacements.
2. Adjust your expectations
Even the most detailed reports won’t cover every part of the home. Many first-time buyers are under the impression that inspectors will uncover everything wrong with the property, but they are limited but what they can do.
They can only check what they can physically see or hold, so if the defect is hidden deep within the pipes or wiring, they might miss it. The only way they’ll be able to see everything is if they start to tear things down, and you don’t want that.
A report won’t say that the structure is a pass or fail, barring exceptional circumstances. The inspector will only present their findings, and it is up to you and your agent how that data is used.
3. Focus on the big stuff
Don’t let the small stuff potentially torpedo the deal. When it comes to negotiations, you only need to focus on significant problems like broken plumbing or a water heater replacement.
Minor issues like a broken light bulb or a dirty carpet can be easily rectified with minimal cost, so you need to know where to draw the line. If you start making unnecessary demands, the seller might start looking at other offers, and you’ll have to restart the process somewhere else.
4. Check again after repairs
You need to recheck the home after the seller has completed any repairs or replacement jobs. Maybe the contractor skipped a few steps or made a few mistakes, so this allows you to see that the repairs were done correctly.
A comprehensive inspection gives you a better picture of the home’s condition, and a positive result will put all parties at ease. But if the inspector brings up significant issues, this will allow you to walk away with your money intact. The small cost of a report is nothing compared to the thousands you’ll have to spend repairing hidden issues.