It disheartening to prepare your home, coordinate showings and negotiate an offer to then to have to put your home back on the market because your buyer pulled out of the deal because of home inspections issues. Yet it happens.
Having to put your home back on the market because of a buyer backing out because of home inspections issues is certainly a disappointment it also have some detrimental effects to the sale of your home.
Today we will discuss putting your home back on the market after a buyer’s home inspection and what to do and potentially how to avoid it.
There are multiple contingencies in a Massachusetts real estate contract that allows a buyer to back out of a deal. Three “standard” contingencies are mortgage, home inspection and delivering a marketable title.
But a home coming back on the market because of home inspection issues or any other issue is met with skepticism by some of the home-buying public. The buyers are going to figure something is so wrong with the house and that no one wants it.
And, of course, the buyer’s agents will call your listing agent wondering what the issues are that caused the house to come back on the market.
First, you need to understand today’s buyers. They aren’t like generations, years ago that was willing to put some sweat equity into a house. Today’s buyers want homes that are turnkey. Higher cost of housing, longer commute times, more kids activities, etc… Homebuyers have less disposable income to do repairs as well as less time. And, their expectations in a home’s condition is higher.
The best defense is a good offense, right?
There are three things you can do prior to listing your home to prevent home inspection issues from arising in the first place.
A pre-listing home inspection is where you, as the seller, pay to have a home inspection done prior to listing your home. The pre-listing inspection will allow you the opportunity to repair any of the issues if it is warranted or at least make your buyer aware of any issues that you may not have known about. It will give you an idea of what to expect when a buyer does a home inspection.
If you aren’t going to do a home inspection at least go thru every area of your home and every major system with a fine-tooth comb. Work with your listing agent to decide what repairs and fixes should be done and what can be left alone.
When listing your home most agencies will require you to complete a Sellers Statement of Property Condition. Use this opportunity to tell the home buyers what you know about your home. Be honest about the issues you have had with your home. It is much easier to deal with the issues upfront than to hope your buyer won’t identify these issues during their inspection.
If you don’t it will most likely be found by a home inspector anyways.
But if you disclose the issues and the home buyer makes an offer knowing any known issues it gives them less of a reason to back away. It is a good idea your listing agent requires all disclosures to be signed by the buyer so they are fully informed about your home.
As a listing agent when small issues arise at the home inspection that were disclosed previous to an offer, I can point the offer was made with knowledge of the issue.
Take care of the known problem areas with your house. Roof leaking? Fix it or replace it. Mold issue? Mitigate it. Termite? Treat them. A buyer would much rather buy a house that has had issues but havs been taken care of then one with issues that are unknown and or untreated.
If you do complete a repair, save the receipts, any supporting documents and warranties for the buyer to review.
Your going to get all types of home buyers. Buyers that are just getting cold feet, buyers that are trying to renegotiate, buyers with unrealistic expectations. Or, on the other hand, your home may have some issues you were completely unaware of with your home.
But the reality is they are asking you for repairs or concessions or they will back out of the contract on your home
I won’t delve deep into negotiating home inspection issues as a seller here, as I have written previous articles on the topic. But, I do advise that you carefully review all home inspection repair requests carefully and discuss with your agent, if the requests are reasonable and if you would be prepared to rectify the issue.
At the end of the day, it is probably not worth losing a deal over a few hundred dollars.
And, if the issues do prevent relatively serious health, safety or structural systems issues it will be a problem that most buyers will not be willing to accept, You should try to negotiate a resolution with the buyer and avoid putting your house back on the market over home inspection issues.
If there are any home inspection issues are of a serious enough nature to cause concern, you will either have to perform the repairs or adjust the price anyways if you put the home back on the market.
Now you may not have been able to resolve the home inspection issues with the buyer, but you want to still sell your home. Time to put your home back on the market.
But be prepared, buyers’s agents and buyers will ask what the specific issues were that kept the buyers from preventing the previous sale from closing. It is important to be prepared.
While Massachusetts Law does not require a seller to disclose any issues, a real estate agent is obligated to disclose any and all material defects regarding a home. Furthermore, a seller must honestly and truthfully answer any questions asked of them.
You can’t hide the issues regardless of whether they are truly a concern or minor nuisance issues.
Determine which issues should be addressed and which may not be necessary with your agent.
Remember you will get all types of buyers. Some buyers are skittish and will run for any reason others will may if true concerns for serious issues not addressed by the seller.
Consider each issue carefully and determine whether you should fix a problem or at least having a professional verify if there is an issue or not. Remember home inspectors are well versed in many areas but very rarely expert in none.
Document any repairs or responses from professionals to pass along to any inquiries from home buyers or their agents.
Sometimes a home inspector will raise a concern but when you get an appropriate professional in to address a potential issue the professional will verify that there is no issue. Make sure you get it in writing! It is very hard for anyone to have a problem when an appropriate professional give the ok on what was thought to be a potential problem.
For example, a common issue a home inspector will point out is a roof that has past its useful life and they suggest replacing it immediately. Often a roofing professional will come out and say it doesn’t need to be replaced right now and you have 3-5 years left before replacement.
Depending on the home, the price range you are in and the market you are in delivering a home with a roof that has several years left of serviceable life is totally acceptable and reasonable.
Finally, there may be issues that should be addressed but you may not have the funds or energy to address it. Get quotes to rectify those issues so buyers can have a better understanding of how what it will cost or needs to be done. If it is a costly issue than a price reduction is probably wise.
It’s never great to have to put your house back on the market after a buyer walks away from home inspection issues. But you can prevent that from happening by doing a pre-listing inspection, providing full disclosure and considering doing any repairs you are aware of.
Even if you think your home is in the best of shape and you take great pride in your home issues still can arise that you just aren’t aware of going on with your house. If that is the case, try to come to a reasonable resolve with your home buyer.
When all else fail get your house back on the market and have the appropriate professional complete any repairs, or verify there is not an issue. Be prepared for the questions that will ensue.
Putting Your Home Back On the Market After a Buyer’s Home Inspection is provided by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Group One Real Estate of Tewksbury MA. If you would like to sell your home give me a call at 978-360-0422 and let’s get the process started.
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