Written by Joe Schwab
Everything an Agent Should Know
(But Probably Doesn’t!)
How to Avoid the “Building Inspector’s Surprise”
Every agent has been through the same scenario, possibly over and over again. You are selling an older home that may have a few problems brushed under the rug, and when an acceptable offer finally comes through, it almost always comes with a fair & reasonable (but often deal-damaging) condition; “Subject to Building & Pest Inspection”.
Sometimes the deal is renegotiated, up to a few tens-of-thousands of dollars lighter. Other times the deal completely falls through. (And in the worst cases, in sheer desperation to get the deal to stick, agents have haggled over hundreds of dollars in difference, only to finally cut their own fee to “just get paid”).
Techforce Projects Matt Warner has a suggestion, albeit completely bucking the norm here in South Australia.
“Offering buyers a building inspection paid for by the vendor won’t always stop a buyer from seeking their own inspection, but it almost always stops buyers from being able to use these reports as leverage in further price discounting,” he said.
“Even if every vendor in South Australia provided inspection reports to buyers, we still believe house hunters would seek their own reports, but agents would find negotiations start less often with the words ‘The report found something…’, and end with ‘…so we want to reduce the price to cover the cost of repairs’,”
The Building Inspection Checklist for Agents
Enter the “Building Inspection Checklist” for agents, designed by Techforce Projects to help sales consultants identify potential problems in their first viewing of a new listing.
With a list of “tell-tale signs” that building inspectors use to identify potential issues that might require further investigation, this checklist will give agents the information they need to have a conversation with a vendor about getting a professional inspector in to provide a report.
“If any of the signs in the list are present at the property, you’re guaranteed that a buyer’s inspector is going to start poking around and find ‘potential issues’. And with the wording legislation requires building inspectors to us when writing reports, buyers are often left confused as to whether a small crack is just superficial or structural.” Matt told SA REN.
“The best way to stop these inspectors from scaring off buyers is to be able to discuss the issues with them early enough in the sales process that it doesn’t become a tool used against you later on. But the only way an agent can be confident in discussing potential issues is by having a building report already provided by a vendor that the agent has had a chance to sit down with and discuss with the inspector to understand the contents.”
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