Should I Accept a
Home Inspection Condition?

I've never met a seller who liked the idea of accepting an offer with a home inspection condition, or for that matter, any type of condition. In a heated seller's market, we see Buyers forgoing the inspection in a lot of cases, but it's not ideal from a buyer's perspective . In some metropolitain areas like Toronto, a "pre-listing" inspection is offered by the sellers to the buyers, often paid for by the listing agent and included in their service. This inspection, completed prior to listing the property, while less involved than a detailed buyer inspection, allows the seller the opportunity to secure more offers without conditions (firm offers) in a multiple offer scenario. It also provides the opportunity for the seller to disclose defects, and for the buyers to have a better idea of what they are offering to purchase. 

In a balanced market....

Some real estate conditions have become fairly standard, such as satisfactory financing and house inspection. In any type of market, condo offers usually include a condition on the buyer receiving a satisfactory Status Certificate, or the equivalent in your neck of the woods. And rural offers almost always have a condition pertaining to a potable well water supply, amongst several other special conditions. Buyers who already own a home usually want a condition allowing them to sell their own property. However, in a hot market, they're not always granted that privilege, especially in a multiple bid competition.

There are numerous situations in which conditions will be included in Agreements of Purchase and Sale, but these are the most common.

Before committing to a firm purchase, a buyer will wisely demand the right to have an inspection performed by a qualified inspector, or to see a pre-listing inspection, particularly with older and/or questionable construction. I've seen some pretty bad DIY finished basement and backyard decks. And sometimes, mould is lurking unseen behind walls and ceilings.

After the inspector has completed an exhaustive physical inspection of the structure, grounds and any major outbuildings, usually consuming at least 2 to 3 hours for an average home, more for larger and more complex buildings, the buyer will receive a report, either in binder or digital format, that provides the buyer with detailed information about the physical condition of the property and building(s).

Click here to learn more about the home inspection report. It's presented from a buyer's perspective, but a seller should understand such a common condition from the other side of the table too. Plus sellers usually become buyers.

Real estate inspections are the norm in most markets, unless it's a very heated Seller's Market. Thus, as a seller, you may as well accept the inevitability of such a condition being included in an offer on your property.

Be forewarned; if your property has any major latent defects, it's best to either repair them before you list for sale, or be prepared to disclose such defects. The former will obviously cost you, but the latter could easily cost you big time also.

If you refuse to accept a home inspection condition, such a refusal could easily be construed by the buyer as a 'red flag'. They may wonder if you're hiding - innocently or deceptively - a serious mechanical, electrical or structural defect, and walk away from negotiations. You lose.

Should you accept a home inspection condition?

Absolutely. By refusing, you'll probably lose the offer and a possible sale. And if you accept, you may still lose the sale because the buyer failed to notice major defects during the viewing that their inspector discovered. However, you just might win. So, you have nothing to lose.

Whether you're working with a realty agent or going it alone with a private sale (or purchase) attempt, check out Ross' book The Happy Agent. It's full of marketing tips, techniques and advice, including sections on selling privately, how to prepare your property for market to maximize a sale price, how to hold successful open houses, effectively advertise, negotiate and more that could make the difference between attempting to sell and actually creating a successful sale.

A small investment of your time could conceivably gain you thousands of dollars and save a ton of stress. Remember - knowledge is power. Make informed decisions.

Available virtually everywhere print and e-books are sold.

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