What your Real Estate Agent MAY NOT have Advised you:
Although ordering inspections, for the most part, is done by the buyer in many states and/or with his Realtor after his offer to purchase your property is accepted, I recommend that the seller himself order and pay for his own inspections up front. This should be done just before or just after the home is placed on the market for several very important reasons.
First of all, a seller should seriously consider ordering a Property Inspection Report in addition to a Termite inspection before his home goes on the market, or very shortly after so he knows what to expect. The home inspection is done by a licensed home inspector--this is a person who is sometimes a semi-retired building contractor familiar with all building codes who will inspect all your plumbing, heating and electrical systems and appliances and often roof, foundation, house drainage and retaining walls. (Ask an area Realtor for recommendations and names.)
You might also include a roof inspection (if not covered with the Property Inspection). Roof inspectors will often bid any work required to make the roof water-tight and guarantee the roof from leakage for one to 2 years. And, if you are concerned about your septic system and/or well, I would have those inspected also.(This will give you a much better idea of what you will net out after close of escrow on your home if the buyer wants most everything fixed--and if he is paying very close to your asking price, he quite possibly will. On the septic inspection, normally the buyer or his Realtor orders and the buyer pays for the septic inspection while the seller is usually responsible for the pumping, if it is needed, and the Seller often pays for any Septic Certification required by the buyer and/or local jurisdiction.
The Termite Inspection (also called a Structural Pest Control Report) is normally ordered up front by the seller. The report in some states will usually come with a Section I and a Section II. Although it can be negotiated, the seller is usually responsible for Section I items and the the buyer, Section II. Section II are items deemed likely to lead to infestation but where no infestation was found.
YOUR HORSE BARN
By the way, if your barn has any value, or electricity (and most do) then have the property inspector look it over casually and note any major problems, especially electrical violations, which can be serious problems for both buyer's and seller's horses. The barn need not be formally written into the home inspection (and often updating the barn will be the buyer's responsibility (except for perhaps up-scale properties) and the appraiser may look at the inspection report (looking for code violations) and usually does not expect to see a barn in the inspection report, unless the barn is unusually elaborate (as some are today) and the appraiser gives it more than nominal value. Of course, the seller will want to disclose anything he knows about in the barn area, as leaky or non-working watering devices, or rotten tack floor or hitching posts. If the barn is wood, termites and rot will obviously be a problem. Also, if the barn does not have a permit (which is required in most counties, or sits too close to the property line, or too close to the well or creek (with, of course, can be also a problem for the household water or the area underground layer of water) the buyer should note these problems, which can be addressed with contract or taken care of by the buyer after close of escrow.
WHY UP-FRONT INSPECTIONS?
I have already set out several reasons; however, let me emphasize a few more. If your home has building code violations, some of them you will want to correct asap, especially if they are safety issues for yourself, such as electrical problems or malfunctioning heat exchanger in your heating system. When you put a asking price on your home, the buyer often assumes all electrical, plumbing, and heating systems are in proper and normal working order, unless he is told otherwise with disclosures. The buyer makes his offer accordingly. Having the necessary inspections available for the buyer to look at up front has advantages. If you can hand most of the inspections to him up front to review that will save waiting time for him to order, read, and approve later. In many contacts the buyer is given 12-15 working days to do this before he has to remove his inspection contingencies. If he has all the inspections up front, he has the ability to accept them right a way (especially if you have prepared details of what you will fix, perhaps asking him to accept the not-so-important items.) If he does accept them, then you can consider your home almost sold--especially if he has furnished you with a letter from the lender that he is pre-approved for the loan he is asking for (and does not have to wait for a property he owns to sell in order to transfer the proceeds to your escrow). All you have to wait for is the appraisal, and hopefully you have confidence in the worth of your home based on improvements, comparable sales, and/or so-called possible "hot market" conditions, where the scarcity of homes on the market allows you to sometimes sell over market. However, it that happens, the buyer may have to be prepared to increase his downpayment to compensate for the scarity of good comparable sales to justify the higher selling price to the lender.
EVEN MORE BENEFITS TO UP-FRONT INSPECTIONS:
As a seller, by ordering inspections up-front,
you can disclose any serious issues with your home up-front (perhaps even with
a list of what you will fix or have fixed and what you will
not fix). The buyer then knows where you and your property
stand when he makes an offer and knows you are not trying to
hide anything and your price reflects the state of your home.
Additionally, you, the seller do not have to wait on
pins and needles to see what the buyer's inspection report
shows, a report that will sometimes scare the buyer off if too many items show up and
keep him from removing the house inspection contingencies
unless you agree to fix every little, itty bitty thing (which many sellers
can negotiate, of course. And, I highly recommend that
you do negotiate in today's real estate market).
If you get your inspections up front, if something
scary shows up you are
the first one to know about it and hopefully have time to take steps to
research it and remove any mystery or "scariness" around the problem. Here
you may be able fix it yourself if you the handy type, or hire
someone to immediately to fix the problem so the buyer does
not wonder what will be fixed and if it will pass a
re-inspection later. If it is electrical, you should have only a
licensed Electrician do the repair as it may be a fire hazard later and
you do not want to be responsible for it.
Another benefit of your ordering and paying for the Inspections up-front is that when you hire the inspector,
he assumes he is working for you; you are one paying him.
While he is obligated to point out all the building code violations in
addition to pointing out other discrepancies in your home as roof
workmanship (in addition to borderline problems that
are likely to cause trouble later to either the homeowner or buyer.) As a result, he
will most likely have a tendency be more fair and perhaps
to not be as picky as he could be. He knows
you want to know that is going on with your home and want to put
your home in order perhaps before it goes on the market, or at least
have a list to disclose if you, the seller, want to have
the buyer take the property
As Is. More important for some handy sellers, having your inspections allows you
to fix things what you prefer the buyer not see broken, or even have to disclose they are broken.
If there are not inspection(s) available for the buyer to look at and the buyer orders and pays for his own (AND a lot of
miscellaneous things show up, and they usually do), the buyer, in addition to wanting to get the $250-$550
price of his inspection back back in home improvements,
he also may think the seller has priced his home
in perfect condition and did not allow for
all these things on the report. The buyer then thinks he offered
perhaps too much. At this point, he will want to renegotiate seriously and will often
hand an itemized list back to the seller, with the help of his
Realtor, of what he demands to be fixed before he removes
the property inspection contingency, asking the seller to fix all but the most
nick-picking things. Going over these inspections is sometimes a very
tedious task for the seller as well as the buyer and his Realtor. The Realtor often has to sooth his buyer
and sometime advise him what the seller is normally responsible for and what should be fixed and what can be
dealt with after close of escrow if his buyer is handy. This is where many experienced Realtors earn part of their fee.
Their experience and coaching can often make or break a sale.
When there is an inspection or inspections for the buyer and his Realtor to review upfront, that the buyer did not pay for, then the buyer may be more likely to negotiate the things that the seller recommends the buyer be responsible for and that the seller does not want to fix or fuss with as discussed in detail above.
A FINAL UP-FRONT ADVANTAGE
If the buyer orders his inspections and does not approve what he discovers (perhaps questioning serious code violations or what it might cost to repair a drainage problem or a wall or floor being opened to repair plumbing or electrical when no cost was given to repair), your home then goes from a PENDING SALE to BACK ON THE MARKET. And, if it is listed on MLS, that information is available to everyone interested and may have to be explained. Buyer's inspections are normally disclosed to any future buyer, which is as it should be. Even worse for some sellers, you will be very disappointed after having to wait 15 working days for the disappointing result, after you have already told your neighbors that your home is SOLD.
Area Disclosures are also very important. There are usually a number of them, asking about such things as asbestos any lead paint in your home. If you live in a horse community development, you will have those disclosures also. What are the annual maintenance fees, road fees, etc. These are printed forms required by the local and state governmental agencies--here a Realtor is very handy as he/she nearly always have a large supply of these various disclosures in their desk and perhaps some in their car or know where to get them). Again, by being given inspections and disclosures up front, the buyer will feel you are knowledgeable seller and thinking about his/her best interest in buying your home, rather than just your own.
The main reason for also giving area Disclosures up front before the buyer makes his offer, is that the buyer will feel much more comfortable with your honesty and the condition of your property if you have given your inspections and all the required Disclosures up front. (NOTE: Be sure you have extra copies of all these inspections and Disclosures to give to your buyers on the kitchen counter or nearby.) When previewing the home he will not have time to read them over but he can see that they are easily available. If he is serious he will gives you a return visit before he makes an offer he will definitely want to take the copies with him. Be sure you have some available on the counter.
HOME WARRANTY BENEFITS
(NOTE: Often Home Warranties are often only available through a Realtor). There are some Home Warranty Policies that are available for the seller while the home is listed for a nominal daily amount extra. Also, if you furnish a Home Warranty Policy to the buyer (especially with full and some optional coverage items chosen), (and I recommend American Home Shield for this), the buyer will not be so concerned about some things: like the well, appliances, the clock on the stove, or air conditioning/heating systems, though he will probably want to see a draw down on the well and the gallons per minute the pump pumps, if he wants to irrigate one of the horse pastures that you are not presently irrigating. He may well want the water tested also if there are animals grazing all over the property and/or the barn is located closer than 100 or so feet from the well (because of e-coli danger in the drinking water).
Finally, let me say, even with all the inspections given to your buyer to review up front, the buyer may, on occasion, want a second opinion and therefore hire another inspection or inspections, especially if he is a very cautious buyer and/or sees a serious problem show up on the seller's reports. There is little to be concerned with as your own inspectors, if carefully chosen, will have spelled out all important things with your property already. So, you already know where you stand overall, in about 90-95% of the overall condition of your property.
Article by: Marie A. Griffith, 2018 ---Marie is now retired from selling real estate and markets her website fulltime. She has been a licensed residential real estate agent since 1975 (practicing primarily in California and briefly in New Mexico as a Real Estate Broker). Over the years, she did not hesitate to pay her real estate attorney (out of her own pocket) for his expert advice on any and all important matters. As a result she has never been named in a lawsuit nor have any of her clients. You can read Marie's "bio here."
DISCLOSURE: Different parts of the country may have their own additional requirements or customs; Some more,
AND SOME LESS. My experience is mainly in California (which tends to be stricter than some areas of the country) with some experience as a NM Broker. It is best to check with your local authorities,
and/or a local real estate attorney for any differences of laws or area customs and perhaps obtain, quite possibly, updated information. Also, Appreciate hearing from
leading Realtors or real estate attorneys in other areas of the country, nationally, or internationally, if you have any information to
add to this. Email Marie at: email@example.com
--- Copyright: 2018 by Marie Griffith
BuyHorseProperties.com: Website Founded 2002
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Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) nor Garden Valley Enterprises, BuyHorseProperties.com, or Marie Griffith shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.