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Tips for Eliminating Home Inspection Anxiety

Submitted by Carol-Ann Palmieri (right) of Al and Cal Realty Group, RE/MAX Executive Realty. Palmieri may be reached at 508-494-9061 or [email protected]

It doesn’t matter if you are the seller, buyer (or real estate agent), the days leading up to a home inspection will naturally cause angst for all involved. 

The home inspection contingency is a key component in the MA offer to purchase. It gives the Buyer the right to inspect the home prior to entering into the purchase and sales agreement (at which point they will be putting a larger sum of cash in earnest money deposit), and the right to back out of the transaction if the home inspection turns up major structural or mechanical or unforeseen defects that would affect the Buyer’s decision to move forward with the purchase. 
What happens when the home inspection doesn’t turn out as you planned? 

The Buyer can be released from the transaction, the Buyer and Seller can renegotiate the price and/or terms of the agreement, the Seller can fix the problem, or the Buyer can elect to do nothing and continue with the home sale. 

How can you minimize home inspection anxiety? If you are a Buyer, once you have identified the “right” home, take the time to really look at the property.  Do not get caught up in looking at just the decor and furnishings.  If you see something that doesn’t look right to you, ask about it. Recognize that there is no “perfect” home and do not expect a perfect home inspection. It just won’t happen. You will likely get a very large written report from the home inspector. Reports will point out deficiencies.

For example, a broken doorbell will be given the same deficiency as a water heater that doesn’t work. With that in mind, be ready to identify what is important to you and what is just part of owning a home. I often joke with my clients by saying that, if you are going to own a home, you will need to own a hammer. But seriously, these reports can be overwhelming, so take your time and break it down unemotionally.  Don’t get caught up in the minutiae. 

If you are the Seller, have a mind open to the fact that the home inspection may turn up something you didn’t anticipate. Don’t take offense. The home inspection of today is a very detailed and in-depth look at structure and systems--all of them.  Anticipate as much as possible and disclose or fix prior to inspection.   

Make sure there is access to areas that need to be looked at. This will eliminate the “can’t see” and therefore unknown. Unknowns always set up red flags in buyers’ minds. Why do that when there is no issue? If you have had work done on your home, have the paperwork readily available to share. 

The “Sellers’ Description of Property” is a good tool in eliminating some of the unknown that comes with each and every home. Here is the Seller’s chance to let the buyer know what improvements have been made to the home and to disclose anything that the buyer would need to know. The more the buyer knows upfront the less likely they will be surprised and caught off guard during the inspection.   

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