4 Home Inspection Survival Tips for Sellers

When you're selling your home, it's pretty much inevitable that there will eventually be a home inspection.

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And "home inspection" can be two words sellers dread.

It's understandable. You've done what you can, which most likely included spending some money, to get your house ready to sell. People have come and looked at it while you've lived on pins and needles, keeping it tidy and waiting for some home buyer to agree that it's the perfect home for them.

You and that buyer come to a fair price you both agree on, the contract goes through, but then your precious home is subject to a home inspection. And the whole deal can be contingent on its outcome.

For sure, it’s a nerve-wracking time but here are four tips for sellers who want to make their home inspection go as smoothly as possible:

Be transparent.

Your agent will advise you on what you must disclose in the initial purchase agreement, but try to be as transparent as you can. Maybe you know some things about your home that the buyer can't easily recognize. If they are problems, they're likely to come up in the home inspection, and they will be surprises for buyers. Surprised buyers aren't happy buyers, and some could go on the immediate defensive, thinking they can't trust you. Be proactive. Set the trust factor high before the home inspection.

Be realistic.

You might think you have the perfect home, and the buyer even probably agrees with you. However, it's the home inspector's job to identify any problems or potential problems. Try to understand and accept this going in. The reality is that some sort of problem, major or minor, will be identified during the home inspection.

Be amicable.

The natural human reaction to somebody telling you there's something wrong with your property is to become defensive, but there are bound to be things on the home inspection report that will give the buyers pause. They are likely to ask you for concessions. Remember that you and this buyer have agreed that this home is right for them, so don't let your personal feelings over the inspection lead to a rift between you and the buyer. Everything is negotiable up to close, and amicable negotiations tend to lead to more win-win situations than hostile ones.

Be understanding of the buyer.

It can be important to look at things from the buyer's perspective. They, like you, think of your home as perfect for them. They are nervous about the home inspection, too, because they aren't eager to hear about things that might be wrong with this perfect home that they've fallen in love with. They, like you, don't want a home inspection to be the reason they walk away from a deal.

It's frustrating to be a seller whose home doesn't score perfectly on a home inspection. You've negotiated already, and now this comes up. But keep in mind that while you still have a buyer, the timing is right. As the old adage goes, a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush, so while you might have to make some concessions, it’s still often better than starting the whole process over with a new buyer. The same things are likely to come up in another home inspection, so it might be better to work things out with the qualified buyer who's already in love with your home and has, up until now, agreed to terms with you.

Remember that it's frustrating for the buyer, too. You're in this together. Keeping that in mind and following the four home inspection survival tips for sellers will get you through it.