Once you accept an offer, the buyer will usually start with a home inspection. These home inspections and the following negotiations are crucial because a buyer can cancel the whole deal if they find unacceptable defects.
Let our Illinois-based team at Diamond Real Estate walk you through the home inspection process, so you know what to expect.
Illinois Home Inspection Process
The buyer will contact and hire a home inspector to visit and assess the property. Reasonable wear and tear is expected and won’t be held against you. But if the inspector finds defects beyond that, the buyer may try to negotiate with you, the seller.
As you can probably imagine, there is a lot of gray area when defining defects.
In general, a defective item is one that doesn’t work or perform its intended purpose. However, in addition to defects, buyers may also claim health and safety issues for sellers to remedy.
Take this classic example of a health and safety hazard: an old furnace that hasn’t been serviced in a few years. Even if the furnace functions properly, a home inspector can tell if the equipment is dirty or hasn’t been recently serviced.
The inspector and buyer can’t claim the furnace doesn’t work, but they can claim a potential safety hazard. A cracked heat exchanger wouldn’t affect the furnace’s function, but it could release dangerous and toxic carbon monoxide into the system.
What Will the Buyer Request After the Inspection?
Following the inspection, the buyer typically requests repairs. However, the seller isn’t limited to this option alone. Sellers can also offer a credit to fund the repairs.
Option #1: The Buyer Requests Repairs
Say the buyer completed their inspection, and they found defects aside from reasonable wear and tear. They typically then request the seller makes repairs.
When issues arise, the seller typically bites the bullet and fronts repair costs. In the furnace situation, the seller will pay for the furnace to be cleaned and serviced, then provide a written receipt or report that indicates the furnace works properly and safely.
In some cases, the buyer might not be satisfied with the repairs. In the case of the furnace, the buyer would purchase a home warranty that would provide coverage for about one to two years.
Option #2: The Buyer and Seller Agree on a Credit
Another option is for the buyer and seller to negotiate a credit. This may happen if the buyer requests several repairs, or if the seller plans to hire someone to do the repairs for them.
To save the hassle that comes with many repairs, it may be easier for everyone if the seller pays a credit for the buyer to handle repairs. In this scenario, the seller doesn’t have to worry about coordinating repairs or even that the buyer might raise issues following the repairs.
Because sellers benefit so much from credits, they will typically be the ones to offer a credit.
Conduct a Home Inspection Before the Buyer
Sellers worried about potential repair requests can get ahead of the game by hiring someone to conduct their own inspection. It is an additional expense for you as a seller, but in turn you are aware of the home’s issues before the buyer’s inspections.
Once you receive the inspector’s report, you can either address and take care of said issues, or you can provide the report to buyers to avoid disclosure issues.
However, not all home inspectors follow the same standards and processes for home inspections. So if multiple inspectors assess your property, they may reveal different defects or hazards, and your report may not be identical to the buyer’s report.
In general, all Illinois inspectors inspect the home’s major mechanical components. The variations come down to finer details.
Regardless, getting your own inspection before selling or listing your property can let you know what to expect from the buyer’s inspection.
Contact Diamond Real Estate Law About Your Home Inspection Today
Diamond Real Estate Law is an experienced team of real estate lawyers in McHenry, Illinois. We are happy and ready to help you navigate the housing market as a seller, including the home inspection process. Contact our team today for a free consultation.