USEFUL ADVICE FOR HOME BUYERS
Negotiating the Home Inspection… I OBJECT!
The process of buying or selling a home is so emotional, so stressful, that our every fear is stirred up. That’s why the home inspection is critical. Your home inspection can put you at ease, whether you are purchasing a home you want to feel good about or selling a home you want to feel is safe for the new owner and avoid any legal issues down the road. The home inspection and the resulting INSPECTION OBJECTION and RESOLUTION can be fine points of the negotiation. In Denver’s current market where inventory is so low it favors the seller, buyers often write contracts stating they will conduct the inspection for informational purposes only and not ask sellers to make repairs or offer credits for inspection items. In my world, this doesn’t exclude a post-inspection conversation. Understanding that sellers don’t want to reduce their proceeds and buyers don’t want to take on the extra expense of repairs, I’m always ready to search for the middle ground.
Let’s start with a few basic questions and let the answers guide us to our home inspection answers.
To the Sellers:
1. How motivated are you to sell your home at this time, with these buyers, under the terms of the contract?
2. What is your goal in selling your house? And what effect does this sale have on your life right now? On your future?
3. If I could tell you that the goal you want in question #2 would cost you X amount of dollars, would that seem like a fair price?
4. Is the cost of the repair(s) more or less than the cost of another month, maybe two, of your mortgage payment?
To the Buyers:
1. How would you feel if you let this house go?
2. Are the repairs immediate or can they be reasonably deferred?
3. How many things are you asking the Sellers to repair or credit for? I mean, it’s one thing to ask them to replace the faulty old Zinsco electrical panel or install radon mitigation, quite another to ask for a cracked plastic outlet cover to be changed.
4. Do you feel you are safe in the house without the repairs?It’s that last question that is the most important. Are the requested repairs, replacements or credit for such, necessary to provide or protect the health and safety of the home buyer? This is where I draw the line. If the home inspection reveals something that would cause any reasonable buyer to feel unsafe they might need to walk away from the transaction. Even if you, Mr. and Mrs. Seller have lived with it for 20 years and nothing has happened, you might as well buck up and agree to make the repairs. You’ll have to disclose the issue to the next buyer if you lose this contract now that you know about it, so the problem isn’t going away.
If the buyers have reasonable expectations of the home’s condition based on its age and understand the responsibilities of home ownership, then health & safety should be your guide. That “honey-do list” the Inspector gave you? That would be yours, not the sellers, but those hot wires or the recalled electrical panel? Definitely calls for the experts. When both parties move away from all emotional or economic considerations and apply fair and equitable logic, the questions answer themselves. Logic, who knew?
Now… back to my clients and that electrical panel.
If you’re like me, you suffer buyer’s remorse any time you get a new pair of jeans. So what happens when you plunk down a half a million dollars for a house? Here are some great “homeopathic” remedies to help you avoid (or reverse) that bitter pill.
1.What are you trying to accomplish? Imagine your life after you close the deal & move in. What lifestyle are you creating by this move and how does it change your daily life? Write down everything that is good and what is changed, including the financial aspect. Write down your wants, needs, musts and deal makers/breakers. The more detailed you are, the more you will have something to compare your actual house to. Does your dream house a reasonable match to these things?
2. “How does this decision make me feel?” Buying a home is a highly emotional process, a decision made with head and heart. Leading with emotion might land you somewhere you don’t want to be, but using your emotions might be a great guide. Check in with yourself; how does the idea of living in this home make you feel? Now ask yourself how you’ll feel when the mortgage is due or the water heater breaks. I can feel really good about those jeans until I get my Visa bill.
3. Don’t get caught up in the worry. If you hated renting and can’t wait to be a homeowner, take care of the details (like turning in your paperwork to your lender, finding homeowners insurance, etc.) and relax into the process. If you have a calm real estate agent that will inform the whole transaction. It is natural to be nervous and “high-center” as you move from contract to close, so practice gratitude. Stay in the remembrance that you are fortunate enough to own your own place on this earth and say lots of thank yous, it really helps. [Don’t let my vivacious exterior fool you, I’m very calm under pressure.]
4. Stay grounded in reality. Getting lost in the illusory great deal you could have gotten last year doesn’t help you close the good deal you have today. Remember, home-prices are rising but interest rates are still at historic lows and that’s where your real savings lie.
5. There are no stupid questions in real estate. If something doesn’t look right, feel right or seem right on your contract, with the inspection, or you don’t understand the loan paperwork ASK! Then ask again and keep asking, until you understand or it’s fixed. One thing real estate pros can forget is that it maybe perfectly clear to someone who does this all day long, but not for the one who’s doing it once.
6. You can always remodel. Not all homes are move-in ready. Some buyers opt to do the reno before they bring a box in the door; smart with projects like painting or refinishing hardwood floors, but if you’re going to knock down walls, think about living there for a few months before you go all HGTV on yourself. Maybe it’s just me…I might change my mind a few times once I spend some daily life in the space. It’s a little inconvenient having your house torn up but better than wishing you’d done it differently. I suggest habitation prior to rehabilitation.
7. Run your numbers and take responsibility for them. Over-spending on your home is as fashionable as acid wash jeans and a scrunchy. Just because I met George Clooney, doesn’t mean he wants to marry me. The best counsel is to find out the most you qualify for and then buy what your monthly payment says is comfortable.
8. If you have post-purchase regret, resolve it systematically. Make a list of what drives you nuts and what you can change and work to change those things. Go back to the list you made in step one, the gratitude you had in step 3. If that doesn’t help, go buy a great pair of jeans. You never know when Clooney’s coming round the corner.
Call me 303. 570. 8674 and we’ll take a look at where you are and what’s possible for you to buy a home now. If you’d like to know why my clients choose to use me as their realtor, CLICK HERE to see what they have to say, or find me on FACEBOOK and on the HUFFINGTON POST