PDA

View Full Version : Selling a house and house inspections



rbgarr
04-09-2008, 04:31 PM
One of my brothers just reached an agreement to sell his house on Cape Cod. The buyers are sending in an inspector to make a report and he's anticipating another round of negotiation. We went through that a few years ago and it was 'an unusual experience'.

This is how I described it to him:

Not to worry you but the house inspector who the buyers hired to inspect our house came back with a ridiculous report, I think primarily to justify his services. He said the house should have termite shields installed under all the sills and joist piers (though there was no indication of termite presence, much less damage) and a whole raft of silly nitpicky things which altogether were estimated to cost about $35,000 to fix or replace. (Jack the house up to install termite shields?! Please, get real....)

Our agent said it was absurd and told the buyers they were crazy if they expected that and we counteroffered to replace a section of the screened-in porch screen (it had a hole in it and I fixed it myself) and one cracked double insulated window pane ($85) in a corner window of the living room. They accepted.

TimH
04-09-2008, 04:34 PM
For the house I just bought I did my own inspection.

Bob Smalser
04-09-2008, 05:27 PM
Pretty cold on Cape Cod for termites, isn't it?

rbgarr
04-09-2008, 05:32 PM
LOL. The house we sold was in Georgia. I was just giving him an example of what he might come up against. Swap 'carpenter ants' for 'termites'....

Joe (SoCal)
04-09-2008, 05:41 PM
A home inspection is to inspect a house to be purchased so the buyer can know what repairs might be nessassary NOT AS A TOOL FOR LATER NEGOTIATING.

The buyer should know at the time of a negotiated ACCEPTED OFFER that the property is being sold in AS IS CONDITION. Unless there us significant structural damage the price has already been negotiated. Too many cosmectic or nitpicketing problems are used as leverage and EXPECTED to recieve a discount, when they negotiated the price with most of the cosmectic flaws obviouse.

If the seller chooses to offer a discount or split the diiference it is the sellers choice.

rbgarr
04-09-2008, 05:50 PM
Joe,

Thanks. I passed your take on house inspections on to my brother.

merlinron
04-09-2008, 05:58 PM
the buyers can send all the inspectors they want, realestate is still , "buyer beware", unless it is being sold through/ financed by "HUD", or the like. all he has to do is refuse the offer and continue to sell at the price he wants. the buyers may know or have a good idea of what they might have to put into the house if they want it that bad, but there is nothing that binds them to any improvement suggested by anyone, inspector or not. it's entirely up to the seller to make the house marketable and entirely up to the buyer to fix whatever he/she finds after closing.
it's a ploy used by suposedly savy buyers to try and get things done so they don't have to invest more when it's thiers. they say" well, it's only worth $xxx, because our inspector found this and that"..... the house is worth whatever the market is willing to pay for it, and that is decided by how much you want it and how much you can afford, and of course, what the seller is willing to grab at, not what's right and wrong with the house.
someone might come back with ..." the condition of the house is what controls price"... not so...., you wouldn't see tiny rundown shacks on lakes going for 1/4 million bucks and things like that, it did. condition might control cost to some extent on a comparative bassis ( two identicle or similar houses, one beat up, one not) in any given area, but in general desireability and financial condition of buyer/seller control things all the way.

merlinron
04-09-2008, 05:58 PM
joe you beat me to it!!

Nicholas Scheuer
04-09-2008, 06:02 PM
Speaking as a Home Inspector licensed in Illinois, I would agree with rbgarr that the Inspection he outlines was questionable.

We do have termites in Illinois. However, I've never seen "termite shields used. I just like to see organic building materials six inches above ground, all around the building.

I believe there are Home Inspectors who like to impress customers and Real Estate Agents with their grasp of "proper buiding practices". I'm a lot more "laid back". My objective is to advise the buyer client concerning problems that will need to be corrected in the near future, either by the seller, or by him or herself.

In the case of doing an inspection for a seller, prior to offering their house on the market, I advise concerning things that should be corrected so that a propect, or a prospect's Inspector, will not find things that may have a negative affect on the price.

Moby Nick

jackster
04-09-2008, 07:15 PM
Many, even most, banks will not finance a house without an inspection by an experienced, maybe licenced inspector. Homeowners insurance, required in most finance packages, may also be affected.
I think you can't make such broad-brushed assumptions from one questionable inspection report.
It seems only prudent to have an inspection before investing 100's of thousands of dollars. Don't you think? Just my opinion.
As Nick has said, a sellers inspection eliminates some of the conflict. And an experienced and compitant inspector can find things that the average homeowener won't.

David Tabor (sailordave)
04-09-2008, 07:50 PM
What's really ridiculous is when the inspector finds COSMETIC issues that are not structural and they expect you to fix them.

And last time they wanted all the screens installed. I told them the screens are down the basement YOU can do it after we move out in 13 days like you want.

jackster
04-09-2008, 08:08 PM
sailordave,
Are you saying the inspector wants you to do "cosmetic" issues and to install the screens? or the potential buyers?
And what are "cosmetic issues" anyway?

skuthorp
04-09-2008, 08:08 PM
Depending on SWMBO we're about to go the same path I suspect. She's retired, in the house more often, notices the faults, wants a change. Ah well.......................

rbgarr
04-09-2008, 08:10 PM
I think you can't make such broad-brushed assumptions from one questionable inspection report.


What assumptions? I don't think I made any.

jackster
04-09-2008, 08:57 PM
rbgarr.
".....comes back with a ridiculous report. I think primarily to justify his services,...." "... a whole raft of silly, nitpicky things..." seemed to be . No offence intended. If I did, I apologize. I know enough not to take everything I read as gospel and try to see both sides, it keeps me from making a complete fool of myself, at least most times.
I try to put myself in the position of a buyer, and would want to know what to expect for expenses if I bought the house. If it had been a few years since a paint job, for instance, the hedges had not been trimmed for years, the gutters were full of leaves, GFI's not working or nonexistent, mold in the attic, no vapor retarder, bad grading, damp basement/crawlspace, compacted insulation, granules coming off shingles, detiriorating flashing at chimneys...etc are all things a GOOD inspector can find to give me an idea of what I was in for.
Negotiating a price is between seller and buyer and the inspector should not try to give house prices, he or she can estimate repair prices.
Just my opinion and worth what you pay for it.

rbgarr
04-09-2008, 10:40 PM
Couldn't agree more, and I was only referencing this particular house inspection and inspector. I wasn't "broad-brushing" all of them.

I still think that someone recommending that an entire house be jacked up to put sheet metal between the concrete foundation and the wood sills and joists is ridiculous, especially when there is no sign of termite damage or even their presence.

It's analogous to a marine surveyor recommending that a wood boat in perfectly good shape be encased in fiberglass just in case the new owners were ever to use it someplace where there were teredo worms... and asking the seller to pay for it!

There are other less costly and more sensible steps that can be taken as matter of ongoing care and maintenance and should be carried out on the new owner's dime.

merlinron
04-09-2008, 10:41 PM
been building houses for almost thirty years and never once ran into a situation where a bank, or for that matter an insurance co. had to have an inspection to finance or insure an exhisting home before it's sold. the most common occurance today is that banks are requiring owners to employ established contractors with bids being registered at the bank to build a brand-new home or heavily remodel a home because of the lack of inspection in rural areas. they have found out that they can't trust the average guy to follow the codes, so they mandate a contractor, thinking that he will.this usually happens where a bank has been stung in the past by poorly owner built homes or miss-use of construction funds, the latter being actually more the case. a new or heavily remodeled home might be inspected by a township/county to see that it meets thier particular building codes, which over-ride any state or national codes. many times they will have additional requirements specific to the area's soils or weather, but once an occupancy has been awarded to a new home, that's all that is required.....forever. the only case where any kind of inspection is "required' for change of ownership is in the case of a new sanitary law, where a major change in septic system design has been mandated to the area, such as , there are now areas where once satisfactory conventional systems are not allowed any more and must be converted to a holding tank or mound system. in this instance, the home cannot change ownership unless the exhisting system is brought up to the newer code at the time of exchange and an inspection must be made to verify this. it is then up to the buyer/seller to negotiate by whom the change/update is paid for. even then the inspection is restricted to the sanitary system specificly.
in most rural areas, construction falls under the national uniform building codes and the only inspection done is to verify the connection between house plumbing and septic tank. once the inspector signs off on that connection, an occupancy is awarded. if a code inspection policy has been mandated in an area that is under NUBC jurisdiction, it is because the town/county board or the inspector, wants to think itself is more important than it/he is, justifying thier job.

in rbgarr's instance the buyers are simply trying to get something for nothing and the "inspector's" findings are simply so the buyer knows what he can bargain with. they hold no leagal weight.

skuthorp
04-09-2008, 10:45 PM
Just about the whole of Australia is a "termite zone". Houses are always built with ant caps if on stumps. Those on slabs have very fine gravel under the slabs as a a termite barrier, or should.

djswan
04-09-2008, 10:58 PM
We used a home inspector to lower the price of a home we were interested in and now own with the bank's permission. We were able to knock $40,000 off the negotiatied price after we signed the contract. The small stuff adds up quick. Stand your ground, if you believe in the product you are selling. We were still willing to buy if they stood firm. The seller folded.

I hope this helps in some way.

David Tabor (sailordave)
04-10-2008, 08:20 AM
sailordave,
Are you saying the inspector wants you to do "cosmetic" issues and to install the screens? or the potential buyers?
And what are "cosmetic issues" anyway?


I don't remember all the specific things he put in his report but they weren't germane to the issue at hand. It was like he had to justify his time and billing. I mean come on, noting that the screens aren't in the windows and wondering whether the screens in the basement fit and they should be installed???
Also noted that the buyers should find out when the chimney had been cleaned. DIDN'T say it was dirty or needed cleaning... I had just had it cleaned that previous winter. Probably hadn't had 5 fires in it since! But instead of saying, yup, the chimneys clean, he said they should look into that issue. So I had to dig out a receipt which I fortunately had kept.


The buyers wanted us to do this. We told em to pound sand (nicely). From contract to settlement was 13 days and they still were a pain. If I had it to do over I would have walked away from that deal.


Inspections are supposed to uncover major flaws. Cracks in the foundation, doors that won't close, rot in the joists, leaks in the basement, ovens that won't heat right, Heat pumps that don't heat/cool properly, that kind of stuff.

This clown wouldn't even state his opinion on a lot of things, just that they should "Check" something. They were first time buyers getting out of the military and had only ever lived in military housing and at settlement were pissed that I hadn't filled all the nail holes and repainted!
Agents had to educate them that's not done in the civilian world!

TimH
04-10-2008, 10:37 AM
Around here I believe wood materials are suposed to be 8" from the ground. I would think Ga. would be more strict.

merlinron
04-10-2008, 11:35 AM
i can understand hiring an inspector if you might suspect structural deficiencies, but then it is in the inspector's prudence to limit his comment to that area only. he may make cosmeticly oriented comments to the buyer based on the result of finding a structural problem or in the intrest of reparing a structural problem found and those would definatly be warranted in his duties, but cosmetic suggestions are opinion oriented unless they fall under a subdivision's or area's building covanents, at which time it is the buyer's/seller's negociated responsability to bring the house into compliance of those covanents. it's a grey area that many, as i stated," supposedly savy buyers" will use to try and reduce the price. it is aslo an area that can get an inspector in allot of hot water by stiffling a pending sale when the inspector steps outside his "leagal box".
dave, the inspector's reluctance to state an opinion is because there have been cases where an inspector was sued by the seller for opining on matters that weren't structural or pertinant to issues that are bound by building codes or covanents.
djswan, if the reduction in price was the result of the inspector exposing structural, problems or code/covenant compliance problems, your use of his services were warranted and that is his purpose. not everyone is aware of potential problems when they see something.
the issue of termite shields might be mandated in a municipal statute for your area, in which case the inspector suggesting they be there is his job. to not say anything is to put himself in liability if later on, there are termite problems. if the mandate didn't exhist when the house was built, but does now, his suggestion was made to cover his butt in the above mentioned possibility. unfortunatly it opens a can of worms about price negotiation.

rbgarr
04-10-2008, 11:55 AM
In our case (Georgia) the concrete foundation on our house was three feet high all the way around, thus no wood sills or siding was any closer to ground level than that. No local or state ordinance about termite shields, just an independent finding of termite presence or absence at closing.

George Roberts
04-10-2008, 12:08 PM
" Inspections are supposed to uncover major flaws."

I think the purpose of inspections is to uncover hidden flaws not flaws that are in plain sight.

But most people use an inspection to substitute for their lack of knowledge.

TimH
04-10-2008, 12:13 PM
Whats the precise difference between an appraisal and an inspection? During the banks appraisal of my house the guy pointed out a cracked window that needed fixing, but failed to point out a water leak and mold in the laundry room.
I guess they are only concerned with the obvious.

CK 17
04-10-2008, 12:40 PM
" Inspections are supposed to uncover major flaws."

I think the purpose of inspections is to uncover hidden flaws not flaws that are in plain sight.

But most people use an inspection to substitute for their lack of knowledge.

I would say most people--except us of course--have a lack of knowledge about house structures. ;)

The house I just purchased had new tile laid ontop of drywall. :mad:We discovered it when a peice of trim fell off during the move in. the inspector didn't find that. He did find a roof that needed replacement. I neglected to bring a latter with me when we looked at the house. The sellers bought us a new roof. :cool:

each time I buy a house, i get a little smarter:o

George Roberts
04-10-2008, 01:25 PM
"I would say most people--except us of course--have a lack of knowledge about house structures. ;)"

Then they should not be making offers on houses.

As I see it the proper process is to have the inspector inspect before making an offer.

CK 17
04-10-2008, 02:36 PM
"I would say most people--except us of course--have a lack of knowledge about house structures. ;)"

Then they should not be making offers on houses.



That seems a bit unreasonable to me.

brad9798
04-10-2008, 03:01 PM
For 300 bucks and an online class, you, too, can become a real estate inspector.

Don't forget that. ;)

George Roberts
04-10-2008, 04:02 PM
CK 17 ---

Please read the next line.

CK 17
04-10-2008, 04:16 PM
CK 17 ---

Please read the next line.

Sorry, missunderstood your position,

brad9798
04-10-2008, 04:28 PM
Around here, there are no inspections without an offer being made ... to me, it only makes sense.

Here, ALL contracts are contingent upon an acceptable building inspection, at buyer's expense, should buyer choose to have an inspection.

On the contract, the buyer has 10 days to have said inspection.

It certainly IS a negotiating tool here.

merlinron
04-10-2008, 06:07 PM
brad that stipulation was generated by the civil courts, i'll bet. with ST.Louis's elevation, flooding is/was common years ago, water will creat allot of structural damage and bacterial problems in drywall. it probably plugged the court sytem up real good at some time years ago when ST.Louis was exanding like mad.

brad9798
04-10-2008, 08:34 PM
Only four neighborhoods flood around here ... with the exception of 1993. Being in the business, flooding has nothing to do with it, in my experience.

But the flood definitely is VERY valid in a couple of areas!

High C
04-10-2008, 08:52 PM
On the occasions when I've sold a house and had to deal with an inspector's report, I informed the buyer that the report is for his benefit, to make him aware of the less obvious circumstances of the house.

I, however, being fully aware of the house's condition and finding no surprises in the inspector's report, had priced the house accurately based on my complete knowledge of its condition.

Therefore, given no surprises to me in the report, I offered no repairs or adjustments in the price. On the one occasion of an extraordinarily stubborn buyer, I did offer to reduce the sale price $250 to offset the cost of an inspection. That did the trick.