Without a professional inspection, no seller knows the exact condition of every aspect of their home. If something troublesome (think termites) turns up, the seller gets to address it in good time.
If a seller foregoes the cost of an inspection and lets the buyer’s inspector undercover something scary, the seller loses any advantage. He or she has to make decisions about repairs and costs under threat that the buyer is about to back out.
However, inspection reports can be the size of a book by Herman Melville once submitted. The best way to demonstrate an utter lack of discernment to the seller is to request/expect the seller to “do” everything that shows up on the inspection report. That turns the listing from a home repair project to a home renovation and strains everyone’s nerves.
What are the differences, and how can you handle them?
- Electrical. Fixing a couple of dead outlets is a repair. Rewiring the entire house is a renovation. That is easy for a person to realize, but the tipping comes down to cost and time. If the electrical repairs are going over 10% of the total cost of the house, then it becomes a renovation.
- It’s not HGTV. Since many buyers watch many DIY shows, they believe that massive projects can be done in less than 45 minutes by someone who is wearing bronzer and a lot of hair gel. That’s not the case. The solution is to be upfront about the time a project will take. Repairing some molding? Not that long? Adding a third story to a house? That’s a problem.
- Governmental oversight. The minute a project needs to get a permit from the local government, it has moved past the home repair stage and is a renovation. Some unscrupulous real estate folks don’t believe in doing the required work. I’m not one of them.
The Best Deals Are “AS IS” Deals
In my company’s listings, “AS IS” means the seller has the property professionally inspected before anyone darkens the door. There’s no sniping about whether something is a repair and no posturing about how a repair should be done properly. There’s no whining about keeping customers happy.
Prospective buyers are fully informed about what “AS IS” is. The buyer has the right to do their own inspections or rely on the seller’s inspections and receipts. The seller’s repair terms are already set.
While I’ve never avoided confrontation when my seller gets pushed around, the “AS IS” approach is calmer and easier. It eliminates the hoopla often accompanying “normal” inspections and repair negotiations.
The deal then boils down to price, and isn’t that a nice thing? This keeps you from going on the arduous trek from home repair to home renovation.