Recently we have had one sale to “fall through” and almost another due to a home inspection.  Rarely do buyers not have a home inspection when buying a home.  You may not have had one back when you bought the home you are in now.  I know I didn’t but today is different.  Here is how it usually works.  The buyer shops for a home and finally finds the house they want to try to buy.  They get excited and make an offer.  The contract is negotiated and the buyer and seller agree to terms.  The buyer is thrilled and ready to proceed!  The lender issues a preapproval letter for financing.  The home inspection is scheduled and completed.  The report is sent to the buyers.  The buyers open the report and to their surprise they learn that there are leaks, reverse polarity at electrical outlets, no ground wire in some places, no GFCI outlets where needed,  deteriorated wood at door and window trims, there is no pan under the water heater, the pop off valve doesn’t discharge outside the home, insulation is inadequate, the heating and cooling unit underperformed, there is water or excessive moisture in the crawl space, cracks in the foundation, the windows have broken seals and a host of other items including the home inspector’s multiple notes recommending further evaluation from a qualified professional.  Really, I thought this guy was a qualified professional?  And I’m convinced that the homeowner had no idea that the house was in this condition.  I mean, really, when is the last time you put on coveralls, got down on all four’s and crawled under your house with a flashlight?  So the buyer’s emotional condition changes from excitement, bliss and ready to call this house home to disappointed, frustrated (because they told their friends and family about how awesome the house is and what great condition it is in), doubtful and now wonders if this is a “sign” that they shouldn’t buy the house.  Now the sellers are also disappointed, frustrated and somewhat embarrassed (because it looks like they may have hidden some of these problems from the buyers).  The negotiation process starts all over again.  Maybe we are able to negotiate repairs.  Maybe we are not.  Another week has passed.  The seller is now stressed because closing is two weeks away and they are supposed to be out of the house (because they have agreed in the contract to give the buyers possession at closing), repairs haven’t been negotiated yet becasue the buyers are waiting on quotes from the heating/cooling contractor, electrician, plumber, Olshan Foundation Repair and the window contractor.  It is a disaster!

The buyer and seller probably could have avoided this emotional roller coaster and high stress experience with a prelisting home inspection.  The seller would have learned the condition of the house and been able to make necessary repairs before the house went on the market.  Furthermore, this is a report that the sellers could have conveyed to the buyers along with paid receipts for each repair.  If you were a buyer which house would you feel better about buying - a house that had been recently inspected or a house that had not been inspected?  When you buy a preowned car had you rather buy one that is a “certified” car and been through the inspection process or one that has not?  And by the way, research shows that the “certified” preowned cars sell faster and for more money!

Please understand, this is not a requirement.  Alabama law does not require you to inspect the home.  A seller isn’t even required by the law to disclose defects unless there is a latent defect.  I would hope our sellers would disclose but the law doesn’t require it.  But it is time and money well spent.  Could a buyer still want their own home inspection?  Sure they could.  Could the buyer’s home inspector have a different opinion than the previous home inspector?  Sure they can.  But chances are better that the buyer will accept the home inspection and paid receipts and proceed with the sale.  Call me if you are interested in discussing this further.