Home inspections: How agents can manage buyer and seller emotions
The process of waiting for the results of a home inspection can be incredibly stressful for both buyer and seller (not to mention the estate agent!) Every agent knows that no matter how new or old a property is, unexpected defects often pop up in home inspection reports.
All three parties have an emotional investment in a pending house sale.
- The buyer has probably fallen in love with the house – that’s why an offer has been made.
- The seller has mixed feelings: Emotional ties to their home conflicting with their desire to move on to the next phase of their lives.
- The agent has professional pride at stake – not to mention a nice commission.
Many buyers do not realise how home inspections affect the seller and vice versa.
Each party has their own list of things to worry about. It is a stressful process! But whether you are a buyer or a seller take a step back. Take a deep breath.
The best way for the agent to diffuse knee-jerk and emotional reactions to a home inspection report and to avoid over-reaction is: Help everyone get perspective!
- The buyer is nervous: Buyers are often extra sensitive and often on the defensive when going into a purchase. They feel that they can’t afford to make a mistake. Buying and selling a home is the largest financial transaction an average person will ever do in their entire life. It is a big deal.
- No house is perfect: Sellers and agents often worry about the buyer reacting negatively to a home inspection report. But usually the opposite happens. The buyer’s confidence grows when he/she has all the facts. Most buyers are realistic and don’t have unrealistic expectations about the house they have fallen in love with. They just want the facts. They have decided to think with their head as well as with their heart.
- An inspection fee shows commitment: Sellers need to remember that the buyer is spending extra money on the inspection. That inspection fee is not going to come back to them no matter what. That must mean they are looking for something of significant value in return. People do not spend money just to play games. Buyers get independent home inspections with the expectation that they will receive solid information. Buyers who do inspections do not want to sabotage the deal. They just want to test the product they are buying. Although the procedure may feel more like root canal to both parties, it is something that the buyer must do out of due diligence.
- The seller retains the power: In terms of the usual agreement of sale the seller can refuse to renegotiate the price or to correct or address anything that comes up on the inspections.
- The buyer can also walk away: If the agent is unable to bring seller and buyer to mutual agreement, then the buyer can walk away and look elsewhere for a house. Even though the agent may lose the prospect of a n immediate commission ,, the agent will retain the respect of both buyer and seller and should be able to honourably do future business with both parties.
- Disclose, disclose, disclose: Whatever the seller and the agent know about a property (good, bad or ugly) disclose it – that’s good for business. Information in the home inspection report must be disclosed by both agent and seller to future buyers. Reveal everything you know and less damage will be done that if you do not disclose the facts at your disposal. Honesty and transparency reduces the likelihood of post-sale legal action and it also diffuses much of the stress from the sales process.