Home inspections are so important that, unlike most markets, local attorneys will not draw up contracts until they are settled. They are never a contingency of the contract in Westchester. Today we had a home inspection on a property our clients had a recent offer accepted on, and it did not go well at all. Surprisingly, in spite of the many updates and renovations made by the current owner in the 8 or so years they have owned the place, such as a new kitchen, baths and furnace, problems found were so bad that our clients elected to not proceed with the transaction.
There was not one, not two, not even three, but four major issues discovered by the end of the inspection. First, we found termite damage in the garage, then the basement. Then, mold in the basement. After that, evidence of a fire in the home (!). To wrap it up, material that could contain asbestos was identified.
Termites, mold, fire, asbestos. A grand slam. Just one of these situations can hamper or kill a deal. Two of them typically kill a deal. Four? Forget it.
I work for the buyer; my first job is to be their advocate. Could we get the seller to address all the issues to their satisfaction? Perhaps, but am I supposed to twist their arm if they’ve lost that loving feeling? If they truly loved the house they could deal with curing the troubles and staying in the deal. They still may. But it would have to be their choice, not because I convinced them. There are still too many choices out there to do so, and as their agent I have to work for them, not my immediate commission. There is a 1% chance they could wake up in the morning and be willing to listen to the seller’s proposal to fix the issues. But the overwhelming odds are that we will find a home with fewer issues.
As cute as this place was, I have never sold a home that had that many major issues that wasn’t sold as a rehab project or fixer upper at a steep discount. This was a first. But that’s baseball, and clients spend far too much money to compromise on these things. The buyer is out several hundred dollars, but that is the cost of doing business to avoid more expensive issues down the road.
Sellers: Before you list your home, get it inspected. Then this will never happen.