When you sell a home, as the seller you are usually not the one who is responsible for hiring a home inspector. In the majority of home sale transactions the buyer has that responsibility because his or her mortgage lender requires an inspection prior to loan approval. But, before all that happens you can choose to order and pay for a home inspection for your own purposes. Although it will cost you a few hundred dollars out of your own pocket, it can be well worth it to know in advance what the buyer’s inspector is likely to find at some point in the future and you won’t be surprised and possibly disappointed later. This article is basically about home inspection for dummies.
Whenever real estate agents sell a home they are required to have the seller sign a Seller’s Disclosure Statement and to present it to every prospective buyer. Any buyer who is paying cash and does not choose to hire a property inspector on his or her own behalf can read the Disclosure Statement and know whatever the condo seller knows about the condition of the home. Naturally, if a seller has ordered and received a home inspection report then there will be the likelihood of more information available to prospective buyers. This may or may not be a good thing. In other words, by ordering a home inspection prior to listing your home for sale you also put yourself in the position of knowing more than you previously knew. Whatever you know you are required to disclose on the Disclosure Statement. Remember that fact. It is an important starting point in home inspection for dummies.
As the seller, your legal responsibility is to cooperate with home inspectors and provide a complete Seller’s Disclosure Statement, but that’s the extent of it. In most parts of the country you are required to reveal what you know, but you are not required to reveal things you don’t know. That would be impossible. Hiring a home inspector in order to get a jump on any problems or anticipated repairs you may be required to address prior to closing a sale transaction can be a great idea. But, as you can begin to see, you will be on notice regarding various issues and you will become obligated to share those issues on your Seller’s Disclosure Statement as well. It can be a toss-up as to whether or not it is a good thing to order a home inspection on your own behalf before listing your home.
Now, there’s another thing to be considered at this point. If you are qualified to be a professional home inspector then you’re already obligated to disclose any defects or issues with your own home when you put it up for sale. Very few sellers meet the qualifications of a certified or licensed home inspector, but the point is that if you have the expertise to know what’s wrong with your own house, then you are required to know and to disclose what you know. Once again, this is a head’s-up on our discussion of home inspection for dummies.
There is one opportunity for both professional sellers such as real estate investors and average homeowners who don’t have specialized real estate or inspection knowledge to opt-out of providing a Seller’s Disclosure. The form will still be required in most areas, but you can mark the box labeled “as-is” and know that it is no longer your responsibility to investigate the possible problems with your home or reveal them prior to closing a sale. The words, “as-is” put all buyers on notice that they are entirely responsible for their own information gathering, and that you, as the seller, have no obligation to assist them. The buyers are taking all the risk and you have none.
When government entities and mortgage lenders foreclose on residential properties and then list them for sale in order to recoup some of their investment, you have probably noticed that they are always sell “as-is.” You have this opportunity as well. Bear in mind, you have no obligation to reveal anything about your home that you don’t choose to reveal, and as long as you have buyers for whom this arrangement works out, you’ll be fine. However, in most cases, buyers borrow money from a mortgage lender and all lenders require home inspections as part of their loan requirements, for the protection of their investment in every property. This is yet another important point in our discussion of home inspection for dummies.
Basically, you have to make a decision about what type of buyer you want to attract. Selling your home “as is” to real estate investors or people in the business of remodeling and reselling homes will mean that you can most likely avoid the cost and the bother of a home inspection. One the other hand, selling to homeowners who are applying for a mortgage in order to pay for the home will mean cooperating with an inspection. It cannot be avoided in this case, and any attempt to refuse a home inspection raises aa “red flag” of sorts. It appears that that you have something to hide and that doesn’t help your home sale along. In fact, it could cost you a sale.
The reality is that you may be called upon to make concessions in your sale price due to a home inspection. More often than not, this is the result of a home inspection. Even items that don’t seem terribly important to you can be an issue with a lender. Mortgage lenders are notorious for finding fault with the slightest items on a home inspector’s report. This is an important point to keep in mind whenever you sell a home and whenever you consider your potential cost of making a sale. Sellers always have costs involved in making a sale, including marketing costs such as placing ads, and also a real estate commission when the home is listed with an agent. But other costs to consider are those associated with issues that a home inspector has found or will find when an inspection occurs.