Questions About Today’s Real Estate? Ask Phyllis!

Purpose Of The Home Inspection

Dear Phyllis,
We have been looking for a home for over six months and made several offers before we got one accepted. We opened an escrow and after doing a round of inspections asked the seller for credits for the roof, foundation, heating, air, termite, sewer line, and to replace old galvanized plumbing. Between the inspections and the appraisal – we spent almost $2,000.00. In addition to those major issues, there were other things we needed to address once we moved in. We need a gate for our kids, the floors need to be refinished, the kitchen and baths are outdated. Taking all of that into consideration, we asked for an $80,000 credit. After a lot of going back and forth the seller offered us just $5,000 and we cancelled escrow. They took the home off the market made many of the repairs we wanted credits for and relisted for a higher price. I just don’t see how this is fair and am hoping you can explain the purpose of the home inspection process.

Dear Jennifer,
The purpose of the home inspection is to enlighten the buyer as to the home’s condition. I don’t have all the pieces to your puzzle, so I am going to jump to some conclusions.

Most of the components of a home have a life expectancy. You mention the kitchen and baths were outdated. How old was the home you were going to purchase? I am assuming the home wasn’t newer. Sewer lines generally last 50 years. If the seller and the Listing Agent did not advertise that this older home had been updated with copper plumbing why did you and your Realtor® expect the plumbing to be updated in an older home? Unless there are permits reflecting something more recent, most experienced Realtors® will inform their client of that fact.

The fact that the home didn’t have a fence and the floors needed to be refinished were apparent at the time of your offer. You made the offer on an older home knowing the kitchen and baths were outdated. After your home inspection you asked the seller to make the home “new”. We are in a very competitive real estate market. Imagine there are just five bridal gowns and twenty brides. You finally find a dress you love and can afford. Are you going to try to negotiate the price for a broken zipper when there is a line of brides behind you wanting your dress? Likely, you will be happy to have the dress and take it to a seamstress and get it repaired. I am sorry if this seems harsh, but this is the reality of today’s market.