Sellers need to be informed about what they can expect and what may be expected of them during the inspection process.
The ultimate goal is to sell the property. Remember that the inspector represents the buyer. The information gathered through the inspection process is provided to assist the buyer in making an informed decision about purchasing the property.
The inspector's job is to render an unbiased and fair assessment of the current condition of the property. It is not the job of the inspector to give a pass or fail grade to the property. The items reported defective by the inspector typically result in a request by the buyer to the seller to address each issue through repair, replacement or cash allowance. While the buyer could insist on everything being addressed at the sellers expense, and could walk away from the purchase if his requests are not agreed upon by the seller, in most cases, a good real estate agent can mediate these issues and negotiate a solution satisfactory to all. Keep in mind that the purchase agreement (sales contract) contains specific timelines for the inspection to be conducted and for a mutually acceptable resolution to be completed.
Making repairs prior to listing the home is often most cost effective. Sellers should make repairs to items they know are defective, broken or needing repair. The best rule is."if it is broken, fix it!" The better condition the home is in, the better chances the seller will receive close to the full asking price and the faster the property will sell.
"Band Aid" quick fixes and cosmetic patches, however, will add nothing to the value of the property, and could cause a liability for the seller after the sale. Experienced home inspectors will likely detect such cosmetic repairs and will recognize them as attempts to mask deficiencies. It is important that any repairs be made in a professional manner.
It is not advisable for the seller to hire his own inspector prior to selling his home. Doing so would require full disclosure to potential buyers on the "Sellers Property Disclosure Statement". Further, the seller's inspection report could potentially result in a buyer requesting these items to be repaired/replaced in addition to the buyer's inspectors list of items, resulting in a significant increase in the total cost and liability to the seller.
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