For the past 10 years, home sellers have. No need for inspections. If a buyer’s inspector finds a problem, another buyer goes with him. But that has changed. It is VERY difficult to get escrow buyers now, and very easy to lose them if they encounter problems during the inspection. Here are true stories about problems that caused disasters ranging from huge monetary losses for sellers to outright escrow cancellations. It’s time for sellers to realize the value of the “Certified Pre-Owned Homes” services now available. A $ 300 to $ 500 home inspection along with a home warranty can save the seller $ 1,000, make the buyer happier, and help sell the home faster.
1. The listing says “Air Conditioning” but the house is not.
During the inspection, the buyer asked the inspector about the air conditioning. The inspector found that there is no air conditioning installed. The listing agent, when asked why the listing said there was air conditioning, replied that the seller said yes. Air conditioning was important to the home buyer. The buyer tried to negotiate a fair deal with the seller to add air, but the negotiation failed and the sale was lost.
2. The house has a serious construction defect.
Many homes are now built by builders as two to one lot or more. The home inspector saw that a balcony above the entrance was sloping. When measured, it showed a slope to the east of more than 2 inches in 4 feet. But there were no signs of distress in the stucco around the balcony. Inspection of the identical rear house showed that the same balcony was absolutely straight. The conclusion was that the builder had allowed the balcony to be finished even though it was sloped. The buyer walked away saying, “I was concerned that there might be other construction defects that were not so obvious.”
3. The bathroom sink has a small water leak on the tile countertop causing severe water damage.
Some defects are almost undetectable. In this case, the dark counter tiles and the heavily stuffed cabinet hid significant water damage. There was enough water to have caused the cabinet’s hardboard base to expand, the shelf paper to discolor, and some mold to start growing on the paper. But there were no leaks in the pipes. Upon closer inspection, the inspector discovered that when water splashed on the tile behind the faucet, it slipped through small cracks in the tile grout and dripped to the rear of the cabinet base. There was reason to expect that there would be more moisture and mold underneath the cabinet base that could not be inspected. This finding, along with other worrisome issues, caused the buyer to cancel.
4. The house has hidden earthquake damage.
A condo looked great from the street. The interior was in perfect condition. However, inspection of the plumbing under the sink revealed a disturbing fact. The galvanized pipe drain that ran up from the bottom of the underground garage 3 stories below appeared to have lifted and smashed the drywall above it. Suspecting that this was impossible, the inspector recalled that this building had been damaged by a nearby strong earthquake. A closer look revealed that the floor had fallen 1 to 2 inches during that earthquake and had not recovered and the roof had fallen along with the interior walls. Only the perimeter load-bearing walls remained as built. The result was that the broken drywall was a wall that had DROPPED onto the solid pipe. The damage was so great that the buyer withdrew.
5. Another listing without air conditioning.
This was a condo conversion and a very nice property. But again the listing said A / C but there were none. The buyer, in this case, was not as eager for the deal and used this as an excuse to leave.
6. The 1930 Hillside home salesman loses $ 200,000.
This house is on a hill and there were several retaining walls and stepped foundations that needed repair. There is no question that if the seller had done a prior inspection, the foundation problems could have been resolved at a much lower cost if it had taken more time. But the work was rushed because the house was under warranty and cost much more than necessary.
7. Many minor problems turn off the first time buyer.
The buyer, a young woman looking for her first home, was put off by issues that were not individually that expensive, but which added to a long list of problems that she simply could not cope with. If the seller had done a pre-inspection and only done a little work, this escrow would have been closed.
Note: The author owns the copyright to this article, but sellers, buyers, agents, and other home inspectors are encouraged to copy and use this article as long as the author’s name and website are preserved.