Throughout my many years working in real estate sales, I’ve noticed a common clash within the industry between real estate agents and home inspectors. I personally don’t understand why some real estate agents that are representing the seller take it personally when a home inspector’s report reflects some repairs needed to the property. I have personally seen or heard real estate agent, and EVEN the managing brokers, say to “stay away” from a certain home inspection company because they will “kill” your deal. I personally believe that this behavior is unprofessional and unethical but unfortunately it happens.
Pre-Inspection/ Village Inspection
I always advise a seller to do a home inspection, also known as a pre-inspection, with a licensed and insured home inspection company before they list their home. This home inspection report should be able to point out any issues that the home has so that the seller is aware of potential issues or repairs. The home inspection report will also serve as a point of reference in case a buyer’s home inspector provides other findings within the home. The seller has an opportunity to make the necessary repairs, offer a repair credit, or factor it into the asking price of the home. Some townships or villages require a “village inspection” before a homeowner can sell their home. A village inspection is a good way for the village or township make sure a property is up to code which also protects the buyer. The pre-inspection and the village inspection are good practices to help sellers have a smooth transaction to close.
What is the conflict?
Money – I find that the real issue of this conflict is much deeper than expected. Some real estate agents are having financial issues at home and they need to close a deal to get a commission check to pay their bills. Most real estate agents are paid only when they close (commission only). That level of stress can cause some people to want to rush through things and cut corners in order to get paid.
Lack of Education – Some real estate sales agents aren’t trained or don’t know how to communicate the importance of the home inspection report to their buyer. I believe that it’s important for a real estate agent to remind their buyer, especially a first time home buyer, that the home inspection report is NOT a list of repairs that the seller has to fix. It’s a report to let you know everything that is going on with the home, down to a loose doorknob, before you buy it. I suggest that the buyer focuses on the “health and safety” issues of the home. I also suggest that real estate sales agents negotiate for a home warranty with the sale of the home to provide a little extra peace of mind for their buyers.
Misunderstandings – It’s the responsibility for the real estate sales agent who is representing the seller, to explain to their client that the buyer’s repair request is not their to-do list. If the seller did not have a pre-inspection done on their home, then it’s best for them to focus on main issues that affect health and safety. If the seller is tight on funds, they can offer a reduction in the sales price to offset the cost of the repairs or offer a credit that will go towards the buyer’s closing cost. If the home sale is located in a state that requires a real estate attorney for real estate transactions, then I would always suggest that they consult with their attorney.
No matter what the issue is with the house, if you disclose it upfront, this allows the buyer to know the information before they schedule to see the home. A real estate transaction moves a lot smoother when information on the home is upfront and honest. Whether the agent puts information on their marketing material or uploads the disclosures on the MLS when they list the home, I think it makes good business practice and saves a lot of time in the end.
Written By: Shena Omotola, Dream Home Specialist & Broker Owner of Skyward Realty – Skyward Realty services Chicago, Suburbs, and Northwest Indiana
P.S. Feel free to email me any questions. I’m always here to help. Check out my recent resources for first time home buyers and sellers.
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