Questions About Today’s Real Estate? Ask Phyllis!

Purpose Of The Home Inspection

Dear Phyllis,
I think you provide a valuable service to the community, and I look forward to reading your real estate column. If you have already discussed the purpose of the home inspection, my apologies for being redundant. Upon my son’s Realtor’s insistence, he hired a home inspector. The inspector was great and noted some major problems with old, galvanized plumbing, a worn roof, and outdated electrical. Even so, the seller refused to make any repairs or credits. Reluctantly, my son moved forward with the purchase. When my wife and I purchased our home (and I admit many years ago), the seller gave us a substantial credit for repairs.
My question to you: if the seller won’t make repairs or credits what’s the purpose of the home inspection?

Dear Walt,
This is great question and addresses a common misunderstanding regarding the purpose of the home inspection. In some instances, home buyers view the inspection report as a laundry list of repairs to be made by the seller. This is far from the case. As your son has learned, the seller is under no obligation to make any repairs or credits.

Current market conditions often dictate how inspection negotiations play out. In our current Los Angeles real estate market, most homes are selling in multiple offers. Therefore, sellers have the upper hand in these negotiations. Your son did have the option of cancelling escrow after his inspection. However, had your son cancelled, the seller likely would have found another buyer to accept the condition of the home at the same selling price.
All homes have defects. The home inspection provided your son with valuable information pertaining to the home he purchased. He has been made aware that in the near future he will need to address the roof, plumbing and electrical. The cost of repair or replacement of these high-cost items can now be budgeted for.

Thank you for your question and thank you for being a loyal reader. Best of luck to your son in his new home.