Edina Realty: Team Fellman
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Thoughts and Musings

What to Exception When You're Inspection(ing)


So, you're house hunting in a very busy market, whether that's in Minneapolis/St. Paul or almost anywhere in the US right now and you've gotten to the point where you have an accepted offer and you need to get the inspection done. Well, first, congratulations! Second, you've hit what is probably the most important step in the process. You definitely don't want to get stuck with something you are already paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for that needs thousands more dollars of repairs. Finding a good inspector that knows what to look for is a key to being a happy home owner down the road! So, in markets with multiple offers, A.) What should you be looking for during your inspection and B.) What can you reasonably ask the sellers to fix? Both key questions in the process.

Let's start with A. What should you be looking for. When I talk to clients and inspectors we talk about, what I call, the Big 5.

  1. Foundation/Landscaping
  2. Roof
  3. Furnace/AC
  4. Electrical
  5. Plumbing

Pretty self explanatory list for the most part. These are the 5 things that are most likely to cause the greatest expense if they need repaired. Bad landscaping/foundation can lead to water leaks, a bad roof can lead to water leaks. Water is not your friend. Living in Minnesota, thanks to our constant season change, our homes go through a lot. Keeping an eye out for water is one of your most important tasks as a home owner. The furnace/AC will be used heavily for 10 months out of the year, or more. They also will be a larger expense if they have to be repaired or replaced. Nobody wants a furnace going out when it's 10 below. Electrical and plumbing repairs will most likely require hiring a master electrician or plumber which can be costly. On top of that if you are getting your plumbing or electrical repaired it's most likely a big issue. A plumbing leak in an upstairs bathroom that destroyed a basement bedroom. A poorly installed circuit breaker that caused a small fire in the panel. Both issues that want to be avoided and that a good inspector will make sure to watch out for!

So, moving to B. What can you reasonably ask for when you were the accepted offer but there were 4 others and you don't want the sellers to cancel the deal? Well there was a good chance the price was set based on some of the 5 factors above. The listing agent most likely knows that the roof is 25 years old or the furnace is 30 years old. Your agent should guide you through that as well before making an offer. That being said if the furnace is old you're probably not going to be able to negotiate a new furnace unless it's totally shot, so having the seller high a reputable HVAC company to test and clean the furnace is always a great option. There's no doubt inspection reports can be long and nerve racking but being able to look past the small stuff is going to be key in situations where the home was a hot one. Does some of the bathroom need new caulking? Most likely every home you look at will have that issue. Do the doors not latch perfectly? Well if you're looking at homes built in the 1920s that's probably a common occurence as well. Negotiating an inspection is about being comfortable fixing some things yourselves, knowing most homes you're looking at will have similar small issues, and making sure if there are larger issues you are addressing them correctly. Breaking down the issues in order of most important to least is helpful as well, then you have a better idea of what you are okay with and what you aren't so if the seller is only willing to do some, but not others, you're good knowing your top 3 items were addressed. At the end of the day it's about balance. Knowing, as a homeowner, there will be things you will be taking care of eventually and things that need to be done before you move in. Hopefully the listing agent has prepped the seller as well for possible inspection requests, that makes the whole process a lot smoother!

Questions or comments? Hit us up, we're always happy to help! Good luck out there!