Three Things Your Agent Should Be Telling You About Your Home Inspection
Like it or not, the traditional real estate model is riddled with conflicts of interest.
If a buyer decides to not purchase a property, the agent is out of a commission.
This may true be momentarily or forever.
Thus, you’ll want to be sure you’re working with a financially stable, legitimate full-time professional who’s in it for the long run.
Here are three things your agent should be telling you when it comes to the home inspection on your potential home…
THE INSPECTION IS PRIMARILY A CONVERSATION BETWEEEN YOU AND YOUR HOME INSPECTOR
At the Rockville Real Estate Exchange, we attend inspections with each of our buyers.
We do that for two main reasons:
- To provide moral support and answer general questions on the contract/buying process
- To view any issue the inspector wants us to be aware of, in the event there needs to be a negotiation on the item.
Our job is not to BE the home inspector or to act as an expert.
While agents naturally pick up knowledge over time, it’s important the inspector does not feel any pressure whatsoever when recording his findings or making comments to the buyers.
If your agent is trailing the inspector around or insisting something is “not a big deal” when the inspector has serious concerns, you may want to be wary of the situation.
Similarly, you’ll want to make sure your inspector is not worried about telling you the truth in fear of the agent not referring him or her business.
The best way to avoid this conflict is if you have your own inspector to bring to the transaction.
However, this may not always be the case.
THE INSPECTOR IS GOING TO FIND THINGS WRONG WITH THE HOUSE – PERHAPS A LOT OF THINGS.
Remember it’s the inspector’s job to warn you about as many potential issues as he can find, both big and small.
I have never seen an inspection report come back 100% clean.
In the case of older houses, even more so.
While your agent shouldn’t be painting a fairy-tale picture of the truth, he should also be managing your expectations properly about the “bad things” you are likely to find.
If your agent hasn’t prepared you for what you’re about to go through – or you don’t believe him when he does – that’s cause for concern.
THERE’S AN UNWRITTEN SET OF RULES
Surely, everyone has a slightly different opinion on this, but here’s what we tell our buyers right before their inspection:
As a general rule, if something is broken, you can expect it to fixed.
If something is working or otherwise could have been seen before you made your offer, you can expect to address it yourself or request minor assistance, if any at all.
For example, if you find that there is a plumbing leak or the dishwasher is malfunctioning, it’s reasonable to ask that to be fixed – there is no way you could have known that by walking through the house.
Similarly, if the HVAC is 20 years old, it’s reasonable to ask for a warranty (but not an entire new system).
What’s an example of unreasonable?
If you find out the roof is old – but not leaking – and you ask for an entirely new roof…that’s probably not going to be well-received.
If you ask for new carpet because the carpet is dirty (when you clearly could have seen that before making your offer) …that’s probably not going to be well-received.
And so on and so on.
Of course, the specific boundaries are going to vary a bit based on how hot the market/property are and how much leverage the seller has.
However, I’ve always found it’s not so much what you’re asking for as much as it is how you’re asking.
If you are polite and reasonable in your requests as opposed to making irrational or emotionally-based demands, there’s a decent chance the seller will address your concerns.
Your agent should be managing your expectations and helping you understand what is typically par for course in standard negotiations.
This is especially true if you’ve never been through the process before.
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