Just like home buying must start with a pre-approval, home selling really should start with some inspections.
I have been involved recently in a transaction where no inspections had been done before putting the property on the market. The result was difficult to watch as the transaction unfolded, as problems started to show up after I ordered a termite inspection and a property inspection for my client, the buyer.
First we discovered the almost "usual" termite problems, as the recommendation was to tent the house, but we were also faced with a description of the problems that entailed opening up an area to see exactly how much damage was occuring. The termite company knew there were problems in that area, but had to remove the heating ducts in order to know exactly how much it would cost to correct the termite infestation.
Then with the property inspection we learned that the foundation needed significant repairs, which we had priced by a foundation specialist.
The problem with this is that the seller did not know about these problems, and most likely these repairs would have to be done in order to sell the house. Buyers and sellers entered into a contract without the information. Then there is a catch 22: you can cancel the transaction, but then you are still faced with the necessity to address the issues with another buyer, or you continue and you have to pay for the unexpected repairs.
These were not the only problems discovered by the inspections, and I felt very sorry for the very nice people selling this house, and for the lovely client I had buying it. Both were somewhat shaken up by the process.
I made a mental note to keep in mind this story to illustrate the definite need for inspections done ahead of time, for my clients sellers.
When time comes to negotiate, you want to negotiate with as many known facts as possible, and avoid very costly unknowns.
Thanks for reading, let me know your own experiences...
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