Table of Contents Show
As a seller, the minute you and a buyer come to an accepted offer, you see the dollar signs dancing. Does this person want to buy my home for a million dollars? I can’t wait! But, as we all know, an accepted offer is often just the first stage in a lengthy process. You may sit on tenterhooks for weeks as you wait for the appraisal, the buyer to get approved for financing, and the home inspection. Insert horror film music.
Why do sellers fear a home inspection?Why do sellers fear a home inspection?
As a seller, let’s face it – just the phrase “home inspection” often wants to make you run for the hills. You know that you’ve done an excellent job maintaining your home, but that doesn’t mean you want a professional snooping around – what if they tell you that, without your knowledge, your home’s foundation shifted. Now the buyer doesn’t want it anymore? It’s not like you purposefully moved your home!
But home inspections are just for HOMES – not apartments.But home inspections are just for HOMES – not apartments.
In New York City, real estate agents don’t necessitate a home inspection in large cooperative or condominium buildings. In a mid-rise or high-rise building, the roof, walls, and common elements are the responsibility of the building itself. If the roof needs fixing, the building should be paying for that out of its reserve funds or potentially levying a small assessment on the residents. However, this rarely worries residents because there are so many apartments, so each homeowner’s responsibility for the cost is tiny.
However, a purchaser will likely want a home inspection in a small apartment building with only eight apartments. If something in the building goes wrong, the purchaser is now responsible for a much more significant percentage of any repair costs. Even though the responsibility of common elements still technically falls on the building, smaller buildings are likely to have much lower reserve funds. So a buyer may want to ensure that the building is in good condition and bring in an inspector.
So, should I be worried about the home inspection if I don’t live in a big high-rise?So, should I be worried about the home inspection if I don’t live in a big high-rise?
A good home inspector’s job is never to kill a deal. A good home inspector will point out what you should be looking for. For example, at a recent home inspection in the West Village of a small building, the home inspector pointed out a crack in the wall, which means the structure likely slightly shifted. Does that mean the purchaser shouldn’t buy it? Yes and no.
Of course not! Owning a piece of history, like a 150-year-old home, whoever is purchasing this likely understands that along with history comes character, and with character comes imperfections. In an old building, this slight shifting is typical, and so long as the structure is reinforced correctly, there is no reason to worry about it.
I’m Worried that My home is a money pit.I’m Worried that My home is a money pit.
If you’re worried that your home may come with costly repairs, hire your home inspector before you put your home on the market. That way, they can identify potential problems for you, and your agent can let buyers know about them upfront. In my experience, it’s not the inspection that kills deals – it’s the difference between expectation and reality for the buyer. If your buyer walks into your home knowing they may have to make $50,000 in repairs, but you’ve taken that into account in your pricing, they won’t be surprised when their home inspector finds that.
On the contrary, if you try and hide these issues and your buyer finds them, that’s when you’re likely to lose the deal. Not because of the problems themselves but because of the problems with expectations.
What if the buyer doesn’t want to buy the home?What if the buyer doesn’t want to buy the home?
A great agent should remind a buyer that a home inspector will likely find small problems with a home. Minor issues with a home are common, and if terms need to be renegotiated, they can be. Every home has a problem but is suitable for somebody at the right price. The truth is that all homes that aren’t brand-new are likely to have issues. If buyers are prepared for this, they are less likely to be shocked when these issues arise.
Your agent should ensure that the buyer knows that common and even extreme problems are fixed for the right price. Might you have to renegotiate the terms of your sale if your buyer finds $100,000 of unreported repairs? Yes – but this dooes not need to be a deal killer.