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  • When a buyer makes an offer on your home the contract will often include contingencies such as a home inspection. This is the buyer’s protection against unseen problems in a house.

  • The contingency gives the buyer a certain number of days after the contract is ratified to have the home inspection performed (usually within 7-10 days). It also provides a certain number of days for the buyer and seller to negotiate repairs, if any are requested or required.

  • The buyer pays for an independent home inspector to inspect the structural, plumbing, electrical, and heating/cooling systems in the home.

  • The inspector will also point out items that may need maintenance and/or attention at some point. These items are usually negotiable – the buyer MAY request that the seller fix them and the seller MAY or MAY NOT agree to fix them.

Getting Ready for the Inspection:

  • If possible, the seller should leave the home. The inspector, buyer, and buyer’s agent should not feel rushed or distracted.

  • The seller may want to leave a list of improvements or upgrades that have been made, or any building permits or inspection reports for the property.

  • All utilities must be on and remain on until settlement.

  • Pets should be removed from the property or crated.

  • The inspector will need access to electrical panels, the furnace, and all utilities and appliances. Be sure these areas are cleared and/or unlocked.

  • If the thermostat is programmable be sure to have the operating manual available. This is the case with any other unique equipment (retractable awnings, fireplace logs, etc.) if possible.

After the Inspection:

  • Once the inspection is over the buyer’s agent and buyer will either provide a notice removing the home inspection contingency or, more likely, a list of items to be corrected.

  • Do not take this list as a personal attack on you! The buyer simply wants to buy a home that is safe and is in the best possible condition.  

  • If the buyer and seller cannot come to an agreement about requested repairs the buyer may choose to void the contract and the earnest money deposit is refunded to the buyer.

Something to consider…if the contract is voided and your house goes back on the market, the next buyer may have the same maintenance items on their list! Do you want to lose a sale over $1000 in repairs?

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