Friday, July 24, 2015

The Good and Bad News of Bad Reviews

Inspections can be a nerve racking experience. It is difficult for any property owner to turn over their house to an inspector whose job is to be critical and look for trouble.

So what is an owner to do if the house inspection report they receive is bad?

If you knew that your house needed some updating or repairs, the report will probably not be a surprise. If you thought your place was in great shape, but the inspection stated otherwise, you will probably be in a state of shock or concern. It may be disappointing and even devastating depending on what was found. Don't despair.

The most important thing to remember is that if you really want to sell, there is no such thing as a bad report.

What?!? How can I possibly say that?!?

First of all, you must remember that inspectors are there to do a specific job. They do not have any ulterior motive. They are not “out to get you”. The report serves to describe your property with the most detail and best expertise possible.

If the report finds something you were not aware of, think of it as good news.


This woman is full of shiitakes!” You must be thinking. 

Well read on…

What To Do

The most important thing is to stay calm. Breathe and then do the following:

Step 1

Review the report and find the stuff you didn’t expect. Look at the house again with a critical eye. Is it right?

Step 2

Be very thankful that you are finding this out before escrow from an inspector rather than an attorney’s letter following the close. That’s right! You probably just averted an ugly, ugly lawsuit!

Step 3

WAIT. Wait to see if the buyer has a reaction. That’s right! What you may be freaking out about may not even matter to them!

Wait and see how the buyer will react. That uncertainty is the worst part, for sure. There are two basic outcomes of a bad inspection. At the very least, you might have to deal with a request for repairs or some other renegotiation. The worst possible case is that your buyer will back out.

Request For Repairs

If your buyer comes back to you with a list of repairs, DON’T REACT! Do NOT be confrontational!!!

Take time to consider the list and see what is on it. It probably will not be everything in the report. There are several ways to work this out.

Price Reduction

Reduce the price of your house and move on with your life. Let the seller do the repairs.

Advantage: You no longer have to deal with the property.

Disadvantage: The seller will typically want to improve as well as repair. The estimates may be high. This reduces the money that you will receive.


Offer to do all the repairs on the list and keep the price of the house the same.

Advantage: You stay in control of the work. You get to approve the contractors and the costs.

Disadvantage: Typically the buyer knows that you will go for the lowest possible bid with the lowest quality work and materials. They may find this option unattractive.

You will be spending your last days in your house… fixing it for someone else.


There may be some work you can do yourself and other work that needs to get hired out.

Advantage: You can arrange a compromise with the buyer and make this a win-win negotiation. Typically this will avert any future legal action on their part.

Disadvantage: The more work needs to be done, the longer and harder it is to come to a fair compromise. The buyer may get frustrated and back out.

Worst Case Scenario

Your buyer is overwhelmed by the information in the report and backs out of the deal.

Advantage: If you didn’t get a seller’s inspection before putting your house up for sale, you have one now!

  • You can use this information to revise the listing – and revise the price.
  • You can do the repairs on the list – or in the whole report and stay firm on your price.

Disadvantage: You lost this buyer. Your plans to sell and move on may be delayed.

Above all, remember that you lost a buyer. You didn’t lose your house! Another will come along and now you have more knowledge than you did before. Consider you options. Maybe you will need to revise your game plan.

Whatever you do, don’t despair. Your house attracted one buyer and in time you will find another.

If you are concerned about a bad inspection, or you have come to the realization that it is time to move right now to have a better life, but your house isn’t prepared, or if you are juggling too many responsibilities to sell your house yourself this summer, then there are people who specialize in the sale of properties "as is" - usually within a week to resolve the situation quickly. Contact me for details.

Next time we will conclude our look at inspections with a look at some atypical types of inspections.

So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here! 

And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can 
Turn Your House To $OLD!

Feel free to ask me any questions through the contact info below. I would be very happy to help.