It seems the subject of home inspections, who does home inspections, why, what is inspected, are all questions both Buyers and Sellers have. Are those questions properly addressed? Although Real Estate Agents are not licensed to give opinions on the condition of the home and property, they should be able to explain the highlights of each inspection, or at least point homeowners and buyers in the right direction for answers about home inspections.
The state of Wisconsin has released a new set of forms Sellers should be filling out when it comes time to sell their homes and property. The new Wisconsin Residential Condition Report asks the homeowner questions about the home including roof, foundation, electrical and plumbing systems, and other aspects of the home. Let’s look at the roof. Most homeowners have not been on their roofs. Unless the roof has a leak, or is obviously in need of repair, the average homeowner has no idea what condition the roof is actually in. How does the homeowner answer the question on the state condition report? The best answer may be, to the best of their ability. It is not an answer from a trained professional, but an answer based on experience the seller had with the roof. The same goes for other questions on the state form.
I have to tell you, the state of Wisconsin does not allow Real Estate Agents to guess at the condition of the property nor tell sellers what or how to fill in the Residential Condition Report. What Real Estate Agents can do is point people in the right direction for answers. In this case a pre-listing home inspection by a state licensed home Inspector may be the right ticket.
It may be a scary feeling for some people to call in an inspector to look over their home. The home inspector may uncover something the homeowner didn’t know about that may cost money to repair. On the other hand, what happens after the Seller accepts an Offer to Purchase and the Buyer decides to hire a home inspector? Now the home inspector is working for the Buyer. Does that make a difference? It shouldn’t. But there can be difference down the road as the sale of the house goes through the process.
If the sale of the property is contingent on a loan, the lender sends out an appraiser that may uncover defects. In most cases those defects have to be corrected before the loan is approved and the sale can close.
Certain loans require some sort of verification that the work is complete and the issues corrected. The easiest, most reliable, and quickest way to provide verification the defects have been cured is to have the state licensed home inspector look over the repairs and write an amendment to the inspection report. In many cases the underwriter working on the loan is looking for verification from the licensed home inspector. The problem is, many home inspectors change fees to reinspect and write amendments. If the Buyer chooses not to send their home inspector back to the properly to reinspect, that can leave the seller in a difficult situation.
The Real Estate Agent working for the seller should monitor the repairs and request lien waivers from all the contractors involved. In some cases the underwriter may accept lien waivers as proof the repairs have been made. If that is not enough, the seller may have to provide pictures, a letter from each contractor, or other proof. The list could go one forever and take weeks to solve an issue that should have been solved with a simple amendment from the home inspector.
When the home inspector is hired by the Buyer, problems may come up. The Seller has little or no control. But if the Seller hires a home inspector to perform a pre-listing home inspection, the inspector, verification, and amendments are only a phone call away.
A pre-lising home inspection paid for by the seller could in fact save a lot of time, money, and aggravation on certain houses. A pre-listing home inspection is something every seller should consider.