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Negotiate with confidence, learn about the property

By Kathleen Kuhn | July 1, 2019

Buying a house is thrilling. Every home sale could mean that new owners take over the house of their dreams, or past owners can move on to explore new opportunities.

But before the sale is complete and the contract final, there’s often a crucial step for the potential new owners: a home inspection. This process could seem daunting or scary, but it’s important to protect both sides of the transaction and ensure that the buyer can confidentially close on a home, knowing well what they’re getting.

This step is so crucial to avoid buyers’ remorse that I want to offer four key points to share with your clients before an inspection happens.

  1. Attend the inspection: Perhaps the single best thing buyers can do is to attend the inspection. They can see the trouble spots that the inspector identifies, learn more about how to maintain and operate the systems in their potential home and ask any questions directly to the inspector. Attending the inspection is a terrific way for the buyer to feel they have made an informed decision and are prepared for home ownership.
  2. Find the right fit: Agents can help buyers find inspectors who are credentialed and have good references. Also, not all home inspectors approach the inspection as an education process or are willing to have buyers participate in the inspection. Being able to communicate with the inspector could mean a world of difference between merely getting an inspection report versus getting an education on their new home and how to maintain it.  
  3. Expect imperfections: Home inspectors are there to document the condition of the major elements of the home.  Rarely do you find a home that is either all good or all bad, so buyers need to be prepared to hear about current or potential issues. Preparing the buyer for this reality is important, as well as helping them accept some issues and prioritize others that may require repair and negotiation.
  4. Use the report to your advantage: If you’re in an area that uses lawyers as part of the real estate process, introduce yourself to them and make sure they get a copy of the inspection report.  You need to work collectively to ensure both the buyer and seller understand that a home sale is a negotiation and will require give and take.

Overall, a home inspection can seem daunting, especially to a first time home buyer, but there’s no reason to be concerned. The inspector is there to help buyers understand all the aspects of the house so buyers can potentially negotiate any repairs needed.

Agents can help by encouraging buyers to attend the inspection, finding an inspector that is credentialed, patient and communicative, and preparing buyers for the inspection process. These steps will help them approach negotiations with an open mind and with confidence.

About the author:

Kathleen Kuhn is President and CEO of HouseMaster, the original home inspection franchise. She oversees an organization with more than 320 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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