Charlotte Home Seller Tips | Deferred Maintenance and Home Inspections
What If You Were Staying In Your Charlotte Home for Another Year?
Charlotte home inspections always bring about more anxiety than the actual price negotiations from both buyer and seller perspectives. It’s often the worst part of the entire transaction for home buyers AND sellers!
I ask myself if it’s because, as agents, we don’t adequately prepare our buyers and sellers for this portion of the transaction? Do we focus too much on the bottom line negotiations for the purchase and once that aspect of the transaction is complete, we drop the ball?
As buyers in the state of North Carolina, although our Offer to Purchase is written as an “As-Is” Contract, our buyers do have the option to request that the sellers make certain repairs.
Buyers typically fit into three categories when it comes to inspections and their results:
- Those who are only doing inspections to confirm that there is nothing major wrong with the house – they don’t anticipate asking for a thing from the seller, they’re just confirming that there are no major issues.
- Those buyers who have the inspections performed and then will request that the sellers make any ‘major’ repairs (typically with regards to structure, HVAC or roofing issues).
- And, lastly, there are those buyers who mandate that all inspection items be addressed by the seller.
In a strong buyers market, we tend to see a large portion of the latter. In my opinion, a request for all items to be addressed by the sellers is truly an insult, and this type of expectation from a buyer, I feel, should be disclosed before ever negotiating price. In a neutral or seller’s market, sellers would rather see this type of buyer ‘take a hike’ and work with a more realistic buyer. Some sellers will choose to negotiate an “As-Is” sale up front as well. A pre-inspection for sellers can typically assure them that the buyer will not terminate the Contract based upon any inspection findings.
For sellers, there are also 3 typical mindsets:
- Those who refuse to make any repairs at all.
- Those who will negotiate a selection of items, primarily addressing the larger issues, or even splitting the items with the buyers.
- Those who believe that ALL items should be addressed, and do so.
I let my sellers know, that regardless of the fact that they’ve had a pre-inspection and addressed all items, the buyers’ inspector WILL find a few items. It’s up to them to address the issues/repairs as requested by the buyers, or refuse to do so. Refusing repair of key items can be a deal-breaker for a buyer. I advise my sellers that if they were going to remain in the house for another year, would they make these repairs?
Considering that, most sellers have a more realistic response to their buyers, realizing that when they move, they don’t want to have to address certain items in THEIR new house that could snowball into larger issues either – such as a damp crawl space, roofing issues or, as stated earlier, HVAC items that do impact their utility bills.
Reminder: If the item is performing the function for which it is intended, then it does not need to be addressed. Some inspectors will add items to a buyer report that simply does not need to be there, creating even more debatable issues for the buyers and sellers.
Some inspectors view their reports as an open canvas to post their own ‘subjective’ findings but, it SHOULD be purely objective. An example of that would be a recent pre-inspection for my sellers, their inspector stated the age of the HVAC unit (which was 9.5 years old). When the buyers’ inspector made his notation, the entry read, “HVAC units could be nearing the end of their lives.” – This statement caused SO much work and undue stress on both sides of the transaction. This single subjective entry also required the buyers to have to pay yet another specialist to re-inspect the HVAC units, only to find that because the units had been serviced twice per year for the life of the units, they were in excellent condition AND “performing the function for which it is intended.”
As buyers, be sure that your agent has several recommendations of inspectors who, not only provide through inspections and reports but, whose comments are purely objective findings. There ARE inspectors whose mission is to ‘scare’ the buyers so that they can ‘double dip,’ meaning that these buyers will use them again since they ‘saved them from disaster.’
Remember that everything is negotiable and when both sides are flexible to some degree, the transaction is a win-win. No seller wants to have to re-list their home and no buyer wants to begin the home search all over again either!
As sellers, ask yourself the question, “If you were to remain in your home for another year, would you be making these repairs?” Chances are, a good portion of them, you would. Deferred maintenance is never appealing to a home buyer – and it shouldn’t be to a homeowner either.
© Debe Maxwell | Savvy + Company Real Estate | SavvyBroker@me.com | Charlotte Home Seller Tips | Deferred Maintenance and Home Inspections