A Home Inspection is an important part of buying a property. You’re a Home Buyer after all, not a professional inspector who has been trained and tested to inspect for safety, systems and latent/underlying defects. The Home Inspection is an expected contingency on a contract to purchase a property.
When a Buyer makes an offer on a home it should be based in part, on the visible condition of the home. When I walk through a home with a Buyer, we take note of wear and tear, maintenance that has been done or neglected, water stains, dated/renovated rooms and appliances, slope of the lot, odors, condition of windows, exterior, decks etc. We make our offer in part, based on this visible condition as we know and can see it.
This same scrutiny is done when working with a home owner in determining the market value of his home. Sellers complete a property disclosure describing the age and systems of the house and disclose any renovations and repairs as well as known defects or malfunctions. All this and more are considered and weighed against the price recommended to list the home to get it sold. If the property is in need of repairs, it is priced lower to compensate for them. Often a property will be priced aggressively at a significantly lower price than comparables because of the renovations and/or repairs the Seller recognizes the home needs.
The Selling and Buying of a home should be a very thorough process on both sides. In 2013 homes in Carroll County sold at an average of 95% of list price. That’s a good indicator that home values are mostly in-line with their list prices. There is some misconception however that a Home Inspection is used primarily as a renegotiating tool and that can undermine the purchase and sale.
Keeping in mind what a home inspection is designed for… to inspect for safety, systems and latent/underlying defects … a Buyer should not expect to renegotiate after inspection on issues that he was aware of when he made the original offer. Worn/stained carpet, or dated kitchens and bathrooms, are items that are apparent before the offer is made- and not to be negotiated after the inspection. It’s also true, that unless a Buyer is purchasing a new home, the Buyer is NOT purchasing a new home. In this case a Buyer looking at an older home should not be surprised if the inspection comes back noting the wiring is old. And in many cases, this has already been spelled out in the seller property disclosure.
However, an example of a latent/unknown defect in an inspection that merits renegotiation of an original offer may be the discovery of a failing furnace that has reached the end of its life or should be replaced due to gas leakage. A Buyer would likely be unaware of this when he made his offer and renegotiate the price based on the replacement of the furnace.
The Home Inspection is aimed to help reveal hidden defects, safety hazards, and major structural problems. It’s an important part of the purchase and sale process. It’s a tool to aid the Buyer in knowing what he is inheriting so problems that are significant or too expensive to fix can be negotiated in the purchase and sale agreement. It is a misconception that minor maintenance items should not be expected in the resale of a home or, that visual defects noted, should not be considered in a Buyers original offer to purchase.
Remember to keep small things small, but pay attention to the serious issues.
“going the extra mile is worth the run”