Negotiations and home inspections

So, again I find myself reading Active Rain Blogs.  And I come across this one.  So the agent thinks that home inspections are not meant to be a second round of negotiations.

I couldn’t disagree more.  Home inspections are a GREAT time for a second round of negotiations.  I don’t know how it is in other states, but here in Massachusetts, when you fill out the contingency addendum, there is a line that states:

“If it is the opinion of such inspector that the property contains serious structural, mechanical, or other defects and if the repair of such defects would cost the BUYER in aggregate more than $____________, then the BUYER shall have the option of revoking the agreement by written notice…”

Sorry Glenn, but it’s clauses like this that will be keeping Real Estate agents in the game for a long time to come.  This is part of the negotiations, this is the fun part of the game, this is where strategy comes into play.

As the listing agent, it’s your job to expect this from a good buyers agent, and it’s your job to curtail this maneuver.  And it’s easy to curtail:

1) Disclose any known issues beforehand
2) Sell it “as is”
3) Tell the sellers to expect this, and to fix the smallest problem ahead of time (especially if it’s an easy fix, it’s cheaper for them to do it themselves than have the buyers have to hire a professional to do it).
4) Look for it in the inspection contingency.  If you have an offer, and the amount in the inspection contingency is $1000, and the property is not a new construction, NEGOTIATE IT UP!  Yeah, it’s going to cost you a lower agreed upon price in negotiations.  But if you wait to do it after the home inspection, you will be renegotiating with less leverage, and it might cost your sellers more.
5) Don’t take the property off the market before the home inspection.  Keep it active, and when the buyers agent asks why it’s still on the market, just tell them that you’re working in your sellers best interests, and you want to make sure that you still have leverage just in case the buyer decides to renegotiate at the home inspection (sometimes the truth is the best threat of all).
6) If what the buyers are asking for is sooooo unreasonable, call their bluff, give them (or threaten to give them) back their deposit and say thank you very much.  If they come back, you have your opportunity to get your sellers more money on the buyers mistake.

As the buyers agent, in my opinion, if you don’t let your buyer know that this is a possibility, and you tell your buyer only to look for the big things, you’re not doing your job, and you’re not doing everything to work in your buyers best interests.