In the last 10 years, home sellers have. There is no need for inspections. If a buyer’s inspector found a problem, another buyer would come. But that has changed. It’s VERY hard to get buyers into escrow now, and it’s very easy to lose them if they find problems during inspection. These are true stories of problems that have caused disasters ranging from huge monetary losses for sellers to outright write-offs of escrows. It’s time for sellers to realize the value of “Certified Pre-Owned Home” services now available. A $300-$500 home inspection along with a home warranty can save the seller thousands of dollars, make the buyer happy, and help sell the home faster.
1. The listing says “Air Conditioning” but the house does not have it.
During the inspection, the buyer asked the inspector about the air conditioning. The inspector found that there is no air conditioning installed. The listing agent, when asked why the listing said there was air conditioning, replied that the seller said there was. Air conditioning was important to the buyer, who works from home. The buyer tried to negotiate a fair agreement with the seller to add air, but the negotiation failed and the sale was lost.
2. The home has a serious construction defect.
Many homes are now built by builders as two to one lot or more. The housing inspector saw that a balcony over the entrance was tilted. When he measured himself, he showed an easterly slope of more than 2 inches in 4 feet. But there were no signs of danger in the stucco that surrounded the balcony. Inspection of the identical rear house showed that the very balcony was absolutely straight. The conclusion was that the builder had allowed the balcony to be finished even though it was tilted. The buyer backed out, saying, “I was concerned that there might be other construction flaws that weren’t so obvious.”
3. The bathroom sink has a small water leak on the tile countertop causing severe water damage.
Some defects are almost undetectable. In this case, the dark tile on the counter and the rather crowded cabinet hid significant water damage. There was enough water to have caused the plywood base of the cabinet to swell, the wallpaper on the mantel to discolor, and some mildew to begin to grow on the wallpaper. But there was no leak in the pipe. Upon further inspection, the inspector discovered that when water was splashed on the tile behind the faucet, it ran through small cracks in the tile grout and dripped from the back of the cabinet base. There was reason to expect that there was more moisture and mold under the base of the cabinet that could not be inspected. This finding, along with other troubling issues, caused the buyer to cancel.
4. The house has hidden earthquake damage.
A condominium looked great from the street. The interior was in beautiful condition. However, inspection of the pipes under the sink revealed a disturbing fact. The galvanized pipe drain coming up from the bottom of the underground garage 3 stories below appeared to have risen up and shattered the drywall above it. Suspecting that this was impossible, the inspector recalled that this building had been damaged by a nearby strong earthquake. A closer look revealed that the floor had fallen 1-2 inches during that earthquake and was not recovered and the roof had fallen in along with the interior walls. Only the perimeter load-bearing walls remained. The result was that the torn drywall was a wall that had FALLEN on top of the solid pipe. The damage was so extensive that the buyer backed out.
5. Another listing without air conditioning.
This was a condo conversion and a very nice property. But again, the listing said A/C but there was none. The buyer, in this case, was not as eager for the deal and used this as an excuse to walk out.
6. The seller of the Hillside 1930 house loses $200,000.
This house is on a hill and there were several retaining walls and stepped foundations that needed repair. There is no question that if the seller had done a pre-inspection, the problems with the foundation could have been fixed at a much lower cost and taking more time. But the work was rushed because the house was in storage and it cost much more than was necessary.
7. Many minor issues put off first-time buyers.
The buyer, a young woman looking for her first home, was discouraged by problems that individually weren’t that expensive, but added to a long list of problems she simply couldn’t face. Had the seller done a pre-inspection and done a little work, this escrow would have closed.
Note: This article is copyrighted to the author, but sellers, buyers, agents, and other home inspectors are encouraged to copy and use this article as long as the author’s name and website are preserved.