Usually, a home sale is not final until after the closing has taken place. Massachusetts is a two-step state with an Offer that binds a Seller & Buyer to initial agreed-upon terms, followed by a Purchase & Sales Agreement that finalizes the specifics of the sale.
In between the Offer acceptance and the signing of the Purchase & Sales Agreement, Buyers typically elect to have a home inspection. A licensed home inspector views the interior, exterior, and any accessible nooks & crannies to assess the overall condition of the home.
This is a great learning opportunity, especially for first time Buyers. Home inspectors can educate you on the basic functions of your home’s mechanical systems, recommended annual maintenance, as well as any nuances related to your specific property. Any issues that arise will be detailed in the home inspection report provided to the Buyer.
This report is meant to inform the Buyer of major defects within a property. It is not a tool for renegotiation, ESPECIALLY when items on the report were visible at the showing. Ex: chipping paint. In a strong Seller’s market such as we are experiencing right now, requests to address visible imperfections tend to be rebuffed pretty quickly in negotiations. As Real Estate Agents, we guide our Buyer clients with these three questions when analyzing an inspection report:
- Is this issue a safety concern?
- Is this a structural issue?
- Is the cost to repair or replace cost prohibitive to a new homeowner?
If the answer is yes to any or all of these questions, the home inspection report is useful when asking the Seller remediate these issues in the form of repairs or a credit.
Bear in mind, the Seller is under no obligation to address these items, and without a meeting of the minds on what should or should not be remedied, home inspections can result in the house coming back on the market and the Buyer moving on to pursue another … when this is the outcome, it’s on to the next one!