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How to handle unexpected discoveries during an inspection

By Kathleen Kuhn | May 18, 2019

Sometimes inspections reveal a few unwanted surprises; here are some tips on how to handle it with a client

Your clients have decided to sell. They’re eager to make their home look its best, get it on the market and, of course, receive top dollar for their property. Maybe they’ve done some landscaping or finally gotten to those projects that had been on the list for years. They feel like they’re in good shape, and then some bad news hits.

Home inspectors are not qualified to check every potential danger in a home

Maybe the market slumps or interest rates spike. Or, maybe the inspection reports come back, and there are some items that might concern the homebuyer. Here are some tips for coaching your clients through unexpected discoveries and handling issues that may pop up in a home inspection.

Set expectations early

Even seasoned home sellers can benefit from discussing the inspection process and possible outcomes. You can share expectations, both specifically on any conditions you may suspect may be an issue, and around the inspection process in general. It’s important that your clients don’t think of an inspection as checking a box and going through the paperwork – independent property inspections ensure buyers are informed and will reduce potentially legal liability for the non-disclosure of material deficiencies.

Often, a seller will soon be a buyer. You can remind your clients that soon the shoe will be on the other foot and you’d appreciate a thorough, independent inspection on the home they will soon buy.

Having this conversation before the inspectors come will help prepare sellers for the possibility that they may have to address an unforeseen issue if the inspector discovers one.

Don’t wait until there is a deal on the line

You can also alleviate a lot of concern by encouraging your home seller to have their home inspected prior to a buyer coming along.  This will help sellers take their proverbial “rose colored” glasses off and appreciate that the concerns that a buyer’s inspection may raise.

You might know the right person to fix the problem; share your connections

Finally, having the seller have the home inspected before there is a deal on the line gives your clients the chance to change or fix it. Either way, they eliminate the issue and the potential for the issue to hold up the sale.

While major updates could require substantial funds, you can help by connecting your clients with contractors who you trust to provide quality services at a fair value. It can make all the difference when there are fixes that your clients need to make to their homes.

Overall, there’s a lot you can do to ensure that those surprises in home inspections aren’t deal breakers. From preparing your clients properly to encouraging they get a home inspection to pointing them to your network of contractors, you can help ensure anything that comes up in an inspector’s report is handled well.

About the author:

Kathleen Kuhn is President and CEO of HouseMaster, the original home inspection franchise. She oversees an organization with more than 315 franchise locations across the U.S. and Canada. HouseMaster has an average net promoter score (NPS) of 92, a near-perfect customer service mark that puts it ahead of the NPS of some of the most customer-centric organizations like Ritz-Carlton and Apple.

Kathleen Kuhn is President of HouseMaster, the original home inspection franchise. She oversees an organization with more than 315 franchise locations across the U.S. and Canada.
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