The home inspection is often the most stressful part of a real estate transaction for both buyers and sellers. The buyer is about to make a big investment and is worried that the home may have some deal-breaking defects. Meanwhile, as the seller, you’re concerned about the potential for surprise costs. But don’t stress! Just avoid these common mistakes to keep your home sale on track.
Mistake #1: You don’t consider doing an inspection before you list your home.
If a you can afford it, it’s always wise to have an inspection done before your home goes on the market. This gives you several advantages. You’ll have all the information you need to get repair estimates and fix the things that need to be fixed in an affordable and timely manner. You can also be up front about some of the home defects in your listing, which could save you from having to come down on the home’s price later. And there will be no nasty surprises when it’s time to close the deal.
Mistake #2: You don’t move fast enough after an offer.
If a potential buyer made an offer that you accepted, don’t wait to schedule the final inspection. It’s possible the home will be free and clear and you can proceed with the sale after a few minor fixes. But it’s also possible that the inspection may turn up time-intensive repairs that require negotiation. It’s best to know about those issues right away so that your home sale isn’t in limbo for too long.
Mistake #3: You don’t ask questions during the inspection.
Mistake #4: You don’t negotiate with the buyer.
An enterprising buyer has come to you with a laundry list of repairs that they want done post-inspection. How dare this buyer criticize your home! Are they saying that it’s not good enough? Time to check your emotions at the door. Home-buying is business, it’s not personal. If you understand that the buyer is looking for the best deal on the home, you will be in a better place to decide which issues merit repairing, which you can give credit for, and which are unreasonable. If you want more guidance, here’s a post that covers this exact topic.
Mistake #5: You don’t crunch the numbers.
Once you have your inspection report and buyer’s list in hand, the best way forward is to take a look at costs. How much would the biggest repairs cost to fix right away? If you comp the buyer for those repairs, will it be more expensive? Could you bring down the price to accommodate repair costs? If the buyer walks away from the deal, how much additional money could you be paying on your mortgage before another buyer comes along? If you don’t start adding up and comparing these figures, you won’t be prepared to negotiate and make cost-effective decisions during the home stretch.
So what’s the big takeaway here? Do your homework by paying for your own home inspection, take advantage of your inspector’s expertise by asking detailed questions about the issues and repairs needed and add up repair costs and quotes so that you have viable options for the negotiating table. Now that you know some of the home inspection pitfalls and best practices, you’re ready to go forth and finalize your home sale.
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