Have you ever dated someone, thought they were the bees knees, only to find out they just have too dark and messy a situation for you to live with?
It’s a similar feeling when you fall in love with a home, exert the effort of placing an offer, and uncover a mess too risky for you to live with. However, we all have skeletons in our closet– in this case I mean there’s always something wrong with a house.
No matter how well loved, maintained, or diligently updated a home is you will still receive 36-45 pages of a report of problems, big or small. So, it’s important to prioritize.
A quality home inspector will deliver honest, straightforward information without inflaming it or downplaying it. If you’re working with a Realtor you trust they’ll have some great referrals for you. But don’t hesitate to research and interview inspectors yourself. If you can, attend the inspection with your agent. You’ll be able to really get to know the house and ask all the questions you have to the inspector.
Next, you and your agent review the report.
I like to ask my clients to make a list of all their top priorities. Sometimes those top priorities are 10 items instead of 5. That’s okay.
The best question you can ask during this period is “Will it be worth it for me to live there even if the seller doesn’t fix these things?”
If the answer is no, that’s is ABSOLUTELY okay. If you’re uncertain and want to talk to contractors for second opinions, your agent will help with that too. Ultimately, whatever your answer is, it just needs to answer “Is it worth it”.
Now you submit the inspection response and negotiations start. Most likely, your agent already began negotiations by asking questions to the listing agent and gauging the probability of your terms being accepted. (That is if the other side is willing to work with you, sometimes there is very little communication and it’ll feel a bit like a shot in the dark.) Once an agreement is reached, the inspection contingency is satisfied (you made it!).
What happens if we can’t agree?
Sometimes, a house is too much for a buyer or a seller won’t do enough to satisfy the buyer. When this happens the offer is “rescinded”, you get your earnest money back, and begin the home hunt again. There are timelines associated with this however. Read about those here.
Waiving the Inspection Contingency
In particularly aggressive markets some agents may encourage you to forgo an inspection contingency because it is more attractive to a seller.
Here’s the thing: If you’re a contractor, inspector, or someone who really understands the structural integrity of homes, by all means waive the inspection. HOWEVER, DIY-ers and most of us are not experts. The inspection period is where you get to really know as much about the house as possible. You’ll know what to plan for in the long term and what will need immediate attention. It’s wise to get a home inspection. Consider looking for a different agent if yours is pressuring you into waiving.
I won’t sugar coat it — the inspection tends to be the most tense part of the transaction. However once you’re through it you can sigh in relief and move onto the (generally) most boring part of the process: the wait for Appraisal.
Thanks for reading and happy home hunting!