Real Estate Agent Tips for Navigating the Home Inspection Process

Mar 22, 2016 9:45:18 AM

Getting the listing is just the first step.

As a listing agent, there are ways you can help your client prepare their home for sale.  And as the buyer agent, you might be asked by your client to addend the home inspection. But should you? Read these real estate agent tips for navigating the home inspection process with their clients.

 How Listing Agents Help Sellers Prepare for the Home Inspection

Most sellers understand that there are at least a few things that need to be done to prepare their home to go on the market. Staging and cosmetic improvements may be some of the issues that come to mind first, but in order for the selling process to go smoothly, sellers should also consider preparing their homes for the inspection.

The inspection can play a pivotal role, with buyers taking the opportunity to use issues that arise as leverage to negotiate for a lower price. In some cases, the deal may fall apart because of the results of the home inspection.

As the listing agent, you can help mitigate the need for these negotiations by helping your seller properly prepare for the home inspection. One way to make this easier for your client is to provide guidance for preparing the home for inspection as well as a list of repairs that must or should be completed prior to the inspection.

Preparing_the_home_for_inspection.png

Preparation

-Ensure inspector has easy access to all areas of the home, including attics, basements and crawlspaces.

-Create a clear path to mechanical items, such as the furnace, electrical panel and water heater.

-Move furniture away from exterior walls so they can be assessed for cracks.

-Clear closet clutter so all walls inside a closet can be seen and examined.

Must-Fix

-Remove all ceiling stains. Regardless of origin, ceiling stains make people think of water damage, whether or not the source of the issue has been taken care of.

-Check the attic for mold. Improper venting for bath or exhaust fans can create a breeding ground in the attic if not properly vented to the outside.

Should-Fix

-If the seller has done any electrical work on their own, hire an electrician to ensure all electrical work is up to code and includes the appropriate GFI outlets in the kitchen and bathrooms while eliminating hazards such as double-tapped electrical breakers.

-Repair leaky faucets, slow drains and running toilets.

-Locate, repair and paint any rotting exterior wood. Even if it isn’t a structural defect, it may give the appearance of one.

 

Agents Attending Inspections

If you are the buyer agent, you might be asked by your client to addend the home inspection. Should you?

All involved in the real estate industry agree that the home inspection checks in as a crucial step in the home-buying and selling process. Navigating_the_home_inspection_process.pngWhat many can’t agree on is which parties should attend the inspection. Between the inspector, the buyer, the buyer agent, the seller and the listing agent, that can make up for quite the full house during the inspection. Who should be there?

So is it best for everyone involved to let the inspector handle the inspection alone—so the job at hand commands full attention—or should the real estate agent be present to advocate for their clients? In each case, it comes down to the comfort level of the parties involved, but in order to make an educated decision, check out the list below where we discuss the pros and cons of the agent attending the home inspection.

Pros

-The agent can act as an intermediary between the inspector and the buyer by asking for clarifications on issues that arise.

-The agent may be more aware of home inspection red flags than the buyer and can point those out to the buyer.

-The agent can see the things the inspector mentions in the report firsthand so they are better able to discuss them with the buyer later.

-By attending more inspections, the agent add to their overall knowledge base and can better answer questions from future clients when issues arise. Eventually, the agent may also be able to distinguish which inspection issues are more common in specific areas and neighborhoods.

Cons

-The home inspector may feel the agent gets in the way during the inspection.

-The agent inadvertently may influence clients for or against an issue that comes up during the inspection, when ultimately, the call should come down to the buyer and what they are comfortable taking on or dealing with.

-Inspections are often completed more quickly when the agent does not attend.

-If the buyer attends the inspection without the agent, it gives them an opportunity to hear about issues straight from the home inspector, whereas adding the opinion of another person (the agent) to the mix may confuse things.

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