After an offer is accepted on a home, the buyer will typically conduct a home inspection before completing the purchase. Home inspections play a critical role in real estate transactions, allowing buyers to evaluate the condition of the home and identify any issues that need to be addressed. However, inspections can also create problems if the buyer and seller disagree on what repairs are needed or who should pay for them. These disputes can put the entire deal at risk of falling through.
While home inspections provide buyers with useful information, they frequently derail real estate transactions. Issues found during inspections often require repairs that the seller is reluctant to pay for. Negotiations over inspection findings can cause delays that jeopardize deadlines. Disagreements have ended many seemingly done deals. This article will examine the home inspection process, outline common problems that arise, and provide solutions to inspection disputes. Also, check out the full Escrow Process When Selling a Home in Richmond, VA, Opening Escrow, Title Search and Title Insurance, Importance of Appraisals, and Real Estate Contingencies.
Purpose of Home Inspections
A home inspection is a thorough visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house. Professionally trained home inspectors conduct these inspections to evaluate the condition of the home and identify any problems or issues that may require repair or replacement.
The purpose of a home inspection is to provide the potential home buyer with an objective, unbiased assessment of the current condition of the home. It is intended to identify any deficiencies or issues such as structural damage, leaks, mold, electrical problems, HVAC issues, roof damage, foundation cracks, drainage problems, and more. The inspection report will detail any recommended repairs, though the inspector does not guarantee future performance of the home’s systems.
Home buyers benefit greatly from getting an inspection before finalizing a home purchase. It allows them to make an informed decision about the property with full knowledge of any existing defects. Inspections also give buyers leverage to request that the sellers make necessary repairs or provide a credit. Overall, home inspections reduce the risk for home buyers and prevent unexpected costs down the road.
Common Issues Found in Home Inspections
Home inspections often uncover problems that need to be addressed before a home sale can be finalized. Some of the most common issues found during inspections include:
- Roof problems – Inspectors will thoroughly examine the roof to identify any damaged, missing, or worn shingles as well as look for leaks and moisture damage. They may recommend full or partial roof replacement if the roof is near the end of its lifespan.
- Plumbing issues – Inspectors will test all plumbing fixtures, supply lines, drain lines, water pressure, and look for leaks. Common problems include low water pressure, leaks, corroded pipes, malfunctioning toilets or faucets, and water heaters in need of repair or replacement.
- Electrical problems – Inspectors check the electrical panel, wiring, outlets, switches, and fixtures for safety issues and proper functioning. Outdated wiring, overloaded circuits, improper installations, faulty grounding, and code violations are often uncovered.
- HVAC problems – The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are examined for energy efficiency, age, and proper performance. Faulty HVAC systems may need repairs or full replacement.
- Structural issues – Inspectors look for structural problems like cracks in walls and foundations, improper supports, water damage, and pest damage. Structural engineers may be called in for further evaluation.
- ** Mold and moisture** – Evidence of leaks, condensation issues, poor ventilation, and water intrusion that can lead to mold growth are checked. Mold remediation may be necessary.
- Major appliances – The functionality and age of appliances like stoves, ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, and garbage disposals are reviewed. Old or malfunctioning appliances may need repair or replacement.
- Pest or termite damage – Inspectors look for signs of rodents, termites, beetles, and other pests that can seriously damage the property. Pest control treatment may be recommended.
These are some of the most common problems found during professional home inspections. They can lead to significant expenses and delays in finalizing the sale if not properly addressed by sellers.
How Inspections Can Derail Deals
While home inspections serve an important purpose in real estate transactions, they can also derail deals entirely if not handled properly. The inspection report will inevitably turn up issues that need to be addressed – that’s the point, after all. However, once the inspection is complete, the buyer and seller may disagree on how to move forward.
Sellers are often reluctant to make all of the repairs requested by the buyer. After all, they lived in the home without making these fixes, so they may see the repairs as unnecessary or too costly. Sellers may offer a credit to the buyer instead of doing the actual repair work. However, buyers may find this unacceptable, especially if the issues are major (like a faulty foundation or leaky roof).
On the other hand, buyers may get overzealous and ask for every minor issue in the inspection report to be fixed. They may request repairs that go beyond what is reasonable given the age and condition of the home. Sellers are unlikely to take on excessive repair costs that eat into their profits from the sale.
If the buyer and seller cannot agree on an equitable split of necessary repairs, it can lead deals to fall through. The delays and disputes over inspections create hassles that cause buyers and sellers to walk away. Home inspections are critical, but a flexible, reasonable approach on both sides is key to ensuring they don’t derail an otherwise sound real estate transaction.
Disagreements on Repairs
The home inspection report will outline any issues found with the property along with repair recommendations. This opens the door for potential disputes between the buyer and seller around exactly what repairs are reasonable to request.
Buyers will often ask for every single recommended repair in the inspection report to be completed, even minor cosmetic issues. However, sellers are only legally obligated to address major defects that impact the safety and function of the home. Disputes arise when buyers make unreasonable requests for minor repairs and perfect cosmetic conditions.
For example, buyers may request that the seller steam clean carpets, power wash exterior surfaces, re-caulk windows, touch up paint nicks, replace faded grout, or resurface decks. While these maintenance items can improve appearance, they do not affect the usability of the home. As such, sellers are within their rights to refuse these requests or provide a minimal credit.
Sellers should be prepared to negotiate and compromise on valid major issues like roof or foundation repairs. But they can stand firm against replacements that are driven by buyer preference rather than necessity.Drawing clear lines around what constitutes a reasonable repair request based on inspection findings can help both parties come to agreement.
Disagreements on Costs
One of the most common areas of dispute during the home inspection process is who will pay for the needed repairs. Often the seller is reluctant to offer any credits to the buyer to cover repair costs. This can stem from the seller feeling the issues are minor or not worth addressing. However, the buyer has the inspection report in hand showing recommended repairs, so they expect the seller to cover those costs.
In summary, while home inspections introduce complexities, they ultimately protect the buyer’s interests. When buyers and sellers work together constructively, inspections can progress without jeopardizing the sale. This underscores the need for cooperation, flexibility and level-headed negotiation from all parties. Approached properly, inspections can be a reasonable hurdle on the path to closing.
Give Us a Call Today at (804) 420-8515