When you list your home for sale the prospect of a pending inspection can be stressful. A lot of real estate transaction stress is the result of surprises. If your home has some obvious repairs needed when you put it on the market, it’s not a big deal when an inspector confirms what you already knew. However, if you thought it was in great condition and the inspector finds issues, that could lead to undue stress.
First of all there is no such thing as a failed inspection but there are bad inspection results. These types of results can be intimidating because you have no real way to know how the buyer will react. If they are extremely bad, the buyer will probably back out of the deal. At the very least, you might have to deal with a re- negotiation of price or a request for repairs. Either way, the surprise of it is enough to create a stressful situation.
When you receive an inspection with negative results, inspections can seem like a terrible idea. In fact, anything that uncovers a surprise problem with your home before closing makes you that much less likely to find yourself in litigation over the issue later. If you agree to help the buyer with repairs, it’s very common to have them waive liability for later problems in exchange. You may feel more at peace with bad inspection results when view them as tools you can use to eliminate later lawsuits.
If you are hit with surprises in the inspection report, don’t do anything until the buyer has presented you with a request for repairs or a price reduction. You might find it surprising at how many buyers expect their new home to require some repairs. Some buyers don’t see inspection reports as negatively as sellers do. Even if they do, approach the negotiations expecting to strike a compromise that works for both sides.
When a buyer does ask you to help resolve the issues have a meeting with your Realtor to discuss what negotiating solutions might be best. If time allows, get a couple of bids on the big-ticket items. Some contractors may even work with you to take payment at close of escrow. Getting multiple bids can be helpful in other ways too. Sometimes just showing the buyer that the repair may not be as urgent or as costly as they thought can be a catalyst for compromise. There are many compromise options: you can do some repairs, give the buyer a credit, reduce the price or do nothing at all.
Selling a home with a minimum of stress depends on your ability to accept the things you have no control over and your willingness to compromise. If your buyer brings up repairs, be ready with a complete set of facts from your own contractors, be clear on what you can to do and communicate everything to your agent. Then, let your agent try to work it out for you. Another way to reduce the stress of a buyer’s inspection is to have a pre-listing inspection prior to listing your property for sale. By doing this you will know the exact condition of your home prior to listing and can either repair issues or list them in disclosures.