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How to Avoid Home Inspection Deal-Killers

Avoiding Home Inspection Deal Killers

A home inspection is an opportunity for buyers to discover potential issues with a home before moving forward with a purchase, and a chance for sellers to address potential problems and negotiate strategically based on what their priorities are. 

Spotting problems ahead of time, and having a conversation about any concerns, can save buyers and sellers time, energy, and money. Our goal as your strategic guide is to protect you along the journey with trusted vendors, advice & resources. Below, we’ve put together some of the top reasons inspection reports cause transactions to fall through, and how you can empower yourself with a pre-listing or pre-offer checklist. 

Three Inspection Deal-Killers

When it comes to deal-killers in an inspection report, there are generally three reasons an inspection report grinds the process to a halt. 

The client: Each buyer sees things differently. We never know what’s in people’s past that shapes their future in terms of what they may feel is a concern. 

The market: Is it a seller’s market or a buyer’s market? In a seller’s market, many homes are seen as a “take it or leave it” sale. In a buyer’s market, the buyer can request repairs or concessions in the form of closing cost contributions or lower sales price.

The inspector: Clients deserve someone who can speak calmly and walk them through what they see and what needs to be done. 

But what happens when the inspection report comes through to first-time home buyers? 

It can be overwhelming to look at an inspection report as an agent, let alone someone who’s never seen one before. Setting expectations ahead of time about what the inspection might look like helps everyone feel at ease.

Use a Pre-Listing & Pre-Offer Checklist  

One of the ways buyers & sellers can be aware of items that are likely to come up during an inspection is with a pre-listing or pre-offer checklist. This type of document includes key things to be on the lookout for as you’re walking through a home. Here are some of the items to be most aware of: 

Around the House 

  • Are there trees close to the house? Limbs overhanging the roof may need to be trimmed, and trees close to the foundation may need to be removed. 
  • Does the grade slope toward the foundation? Correction of drainage or grading may be necessary. Water pooling against foundations can lead to moisture entry. 
  • Is there significant settlement on the driveway or the front entrance? Settlement of concrete can be corrected by pressure grouting or replacement of damaged areas. 

Exterior of the Home 

  • Are there areas of moisture damage in hardboard (“LP” siding) siding? Lack of proper maintenance can cause moisture damage. 
  • Stucco siding: synthetic or hard coat? It can sometimes be difficult to determine. Start by asking the seller. Synthetic stucco will need evaluation by a specialist. 
  • Is there an older brick chimney? Older masonry chimneys frequently require repairs and should receive a Level 2 inspection from a CSIA-Certified chimney sweep. 
  • Does the deck appear older or in poor condition? Many older decks are no longer safe and may need repair or replacement. 

HVAC & Plumbing 

  • Are there AC units over 15 years old or furnaces over 20 years old? Older HVAC units may operate normally but still be a concern for buyers. Servicing/evaluation by an HVAC company is recommended. 
  • Are there finished rooms in a basement with no HVAC? Basements that were finished without pulling permits may not have proper HVAC present. 
  • Is there polybutylene plumbing present? Polybutylene is a defective plumbing material commonly used from 1985-1995. Look under a sink for gray pipes with the lettering “PB2110” or “QEST.” 
  • Is the water heater over 12 years old? An older water heater may work just fine but can be a concern for buyers. Any problems may be able to be addressed with a home warranty. 

Interior of the Home 

  • Are there multiple windows with a cloudy appearance? A foggy window typically indicates a failed thermal seal and that the window will need replacement. 
  • Do any of the floors have a significant slope? This can indicate settlement or framing defects. Determining the exact cause of sloping floors can be difficult if space underneath is finished. 
  • Are there moisture stains on ceilings? Ceiling stains can result from various causes, including roof leaks, plumbing leaks, or HVAC condensate leaks. 

Having prior knowledge of some of the most common items on an inspection report will allow you to feel more confident in moving forward with buying or selling a home. Additionally, as a buyer, the information on an inspection report can also serve as a guide for scheduling and planning any future repairs.

When you work with a Path & Post Strategic Guide, we bring along a SmartCheck checklist to help identify major concerns prior to offers.

Where you live and make memories is important, and feeling confident in the home you’ve chosen for yourself and your family is also important. 

Our team of professional guides has unique strategies and local resources to help you accomplish what matters most in your transition. Reach out to start a conversation so that we can help you find your path forward. 

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