My wife and I call it –“moving on out” and I find myself being called in to inspect before the home sells and the owners leave for new beginnings.
The transition happens as children grow up and move off to college or work, and parents find themselves in the position of maintaining homes and yards that feel increasingly large. My neighborhood in Middlesex County, is experiencing such a transition and in the last couple of months, I have been asked to “evaluate” a half dozen homes for sellers who have either listed their homes or are planning to put them on the market this spring. Every inspection evaluation revealed issues these homeowners were not expecting and every evaluation resulted in saving them money.
The primary reason, in my opinion, is that once Sellers were armed with a comprehensive, inspection summary, replete with photos and infra-red images and diagnostics, they had the time advantage to make repairs in advance of an offer being accepted, and avoid being caught off guard during the inspection- purchase and sale agreement -timeline wherein sellers and buyers negotiate credits and /or repairs of defective conditions found by the buyer’s home inspector. If sellers did not repair defective items, they could instead choose to disclose them to the buyer or wait to see how the Buyer’s home inspector frames them. If disclosed in advance, then Buyers offers were in theory “accepting” the disclosed defects in their offer. If not disclosed, and the Buyer’s home inspector also found them, then most of the sellers agreed to make the repairs or give a credit for them at the closing. (But Beware, we know of 3 instances where buyer’s home inspector did not find the mold, the termite damage or the defective chimney – clearly not all Home Inspectors are created equal).
The inspection summary includes 1) suggestive comments, ie a dryer vent should be connected through exterior wall using solid piping; 2) deficiency comments, ie moisture in basement is unacceptable due to pooling conditions on the exterior, regrading and downspouts are required; and 3) positive comments, eg above average water modulating system for boiler will aid in additional energy efficiency and cost savings.
While the summary is confidential to the Seller, some Sellers may choose to share it with Buyers and we can be contacted for explanation or further follow up should the Buyers choose to retain us.
In our experience, the trend for higher priced homes, is for the seller to aggressively market their properties and not allow the buyer’s inspection punch list to overtake the negotiations and lead to an unexpected price concession.