I encourage buyers to make inspection contingent offers on homes so that they have a chance to have an inspection before they commit to buying. If the home needs a lot of expensive repairs the buyer can back out. Sometimes sellers will make repairs and other times they will not. Sometimes buyers and sellers end up doing some negotiating. It is really important to remember that these negotiations are between people and they always go more smoothly when the buyers and sellers treat each other with respect.
Buyers should avoid using phrases like ‘death trap’ or ‘hell hole’ because
they tend to get sellers ticked off. Often sellers live with hazards that they are not even aware of and they don’t see their home the way that a buyer does. Sellers are sometimes so attached to their property that they don’t see it as the hell hole or death trap that it really is. If something in a home really is broken fixing it seems like the right thing to do.
There are home inspectors that scare the hell out of buyers and they also act outside the scope of their qualifications like when they state that a boiler can not be repaired but must be replaced but a heating contractor ends up fixing it for about $250 is parts and labor.
Buyers should be prepared to walk away if the seller says no to the repairs. Sellers should be aware that if they say no to the buyer and get another offer they may end up dealing with the same issue again for buyers who are offering less money.
Many of the problems that arise during inspections could be avoided if buyers and sellers and their agents would take more care in how they word inspection addendum and if they kept in mind that there is no right or wrong and that the phrase “up to code” is one of the most misused and misleading phrases in real estate.
Most of our older homes are not up to 2014 building code. Read the City Truth in Housing Inspection before making an offer and don’t assume that the seller is going to fix items that are below minimum standards or even hazards. Having a great real estate agent on your side who is used to working with older homes makes a big difference. Welcome to home ownership!