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Home Inspections: Not Just For Buyers

By Mike Auger

Over the years performing home inspections in Rhode Island, I have noticed a similar theme, not during my inspections per se, but rather after when the client gets the report: the home inspection report is often used to re-negotiate the sale price. I have seen buyers ask sellers for concessions far beyond the cost to actually repair the defects. I've seen them get it too. Sellers often feel like they have had their feet put to the fire so to speak during the inspection response period.

OK, so the buyer (my client) has me do the home inspection. They then re-open negotiations if there are significant defects and create a more difficult buying process for the seller. Remember my clients who are buyers were once sellers in most cases, and had someone do this to them too.

If only the seller had an inspection, or at least a consultation, with a home inspector first... a pre-listing inspection is the same as a buyer's inspection, same detail, same report, (same fee) etc... a pre-listing consultation is more of a walk through, no written report, I spend about 1 - 1.5 hours and it's only about half or less than half of the fee.

By doing this, the seller could find the issues that may arise and take action in advance at their own schedule. Think of the benefit to them:

  • Having the time to find a good contractor and get quality estimates. Then work could either be done, or not, but if negotiations occur from the buyer's inspection, the seller could then use the estimate they got previously to debunk the inflated figures asked for by the buyer.
  • The seller would be far less likely to be surprised and have the deal killed altogether.
  • The seller could have their home ready for the inspection, little things like replacing light bulbs to avoid inspection defects because the light doesn't turn on.
  • The seller could possibly handle some DIY type items as well.
  • I have actually seen multiple occasions where my inspection report for a seller was handed to the buyer (or copies even left out on the kitchen counter during open houses), who then waived their own inspection, based on having a quality report right there already.

I know, realtors are thinking, "Oh no, what if the pre-inspection consult reveals a big item and then we need to disclose what you found?" To that I say:

  • If it's a big-ticket item, the buyer's inspector will likely find it too, only now your seller will have more time to remedy it.
  • The seller can simply disclose the issue and the home is priced with the potential issue, then it is taken off the negotiating table altogether. No big deal.

Think about it, should we have been doing this all along? I say yes.

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My pre-RI home inspection career prepared me well for my current profession. I grew...

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