Making the Most Out of a Bad Home Inspection: A Guide for Buyers and Sellers

Once a home seller and home buyer have agreed on an offer, one of the next steps is to get a home inspection. This can be a nerve wracking time for both parties. If the inspection comes back good, everyone is happy. If the inspection comes back with some issues, there are ways to remedy them and smooth out the process for both buyers and sellers.

From broken concrete to roof damage, an inspection report lists a slew of things that may need to be addressed and negotiated after a home inspection. Below are 4 common, major issues that homeowners may see on the report and how they should be addressed.

1. Mold Damage

Mold can be found in various areas of the home. Some common areas it is found are bathrooms and basements. Untreated water damage is often the cause of mold growth.

Mold is harmful for the respiratory area, the skin and other areas of the body. People suffering from asthma, babies and elderly people are prone to suffering from mold spores. Some states have disclosure laws for mold that require sellers to notify buyers of any known mold damage in the home.

To rid the house of the mold, the mold itself will have to be professionally removed and in some cases, areas of the house may need to be reconstructed.

Related: Everything you Wanted to Know About Mold, via MC2 Home Inspections

2. Foundation Damage

A good foundation is one of the most important parts to a quality home. Over time a house’s foundation will go through normal settling which can result in cracks and shifting. However, if a home was not constructed properly a more serious structural issue in the foundation can happen. This is something that needs to be further assessed by a more specialized engineer and then referred to a contractor to repair.

Related: Dealing With Foundation Issues When Selling a Home, via Paul Sian

3. Water Damage

This type of issue goes hand-in-hand with mold issues. Water damage can come on suddenly from a strong torrent of rain or it can be a long-standing problem that has created damage over time. Structural problems, full gutters, or a failed sump pump are all reasons why water is seeping into the home. When an inspector goes through a home, they are trained to look for water damage and will note it in the report. Once damage has been found, the next step is to look for the cause of it. Once the source is found, that needs to be addressed, followed by the actual damage getting fixed.

4. Roof Damage

Roofs are made to last decades but as with all things it can and will deteriorate. Age and weather are common culprits to roof damage such as water leaks or missing tiles. Not only is this an important part of the structure of your home but it can also be very costly to repair. Some roofs will need flashing replaced. Get some bids from various roofing contractors to assess the problem and then begin the repairs.

Related: Roofing Options for Your Home, via Michael Roberts Construction

The Inspection Has Come Back. Now What?

A Home Buyer’s Options

Once the inspection report comes back and there are things that failed, as a home buyer you have some options.

Make a list of the items you want repaired and come back to the table with the seller. You can ask the seller to have them fixed, choose to purchase the house as is or if you have added an inspection contingency you may be able to legally walk away from the deal and get your earnest money back.

A good thing to keep in mind is that not every issue that comes back on the report, is worth having the seller fix. At times even the smallest items like a broken tile will be listed on the report. In fact, if you approach the seller requesting that they fix every item on the list, it may create bad feelings. In general, as a home buyer you want to have the seller take care of the major issues that will be costly or continue to create further damage in the home.

Related: Earnest Money, Do you Know What it is?, via Angela Duong

A Home Seller’s Options

If the buyer comes back with a list of items that need to be fixed from the inspection, brush up on your negotiation tactics. Most sellers use two strategies, one is to choose to lower the price of the home or another common option is to offer cash back credits to the buyer. This puts more cash in the buyers hands so that they can fix the items the way they see fit. Sellers can also fix the items themselves but this often leads to a great deal of stress keeping the buyer happy with the repairs.

Tip: A good strategy as a home seller is to get your home inspected before you list it. This will alert you to any substantial problems to fix that a home buyer would find in their inspection. It also allows you to fix the problems in your own time frame and with your own choice of contractors.

Other Home Inspection and Buyer Resources

More Articles for Home Buyers 
More Articles for Home Sellers

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