Who Has To Fix That?

There are several questions that come up on almost every home inspection.  The first one usually comes after finding something that is broken or not working right: “who is responsible for fixing that”?  It’s at that point that the Realtor will usually explain the process of negotiating the home inspection addendum.  If the Realtor is not around or if there is not one I’ll explain it.

The short answer is: “I don’t care who fixes it, but somebody should”.  I don’t say it like that, but it is true that the home inspector doesn’t decide who fixes what; he just points out the condition of the house at the time of the inspection and then the significant issues are usually negotiated.  Buyers often want to invest home inspectors with authority that they don’t have: “you’ll tell them to fix that, right?”  or “did the house pass inspection?”.  But in most cases, the buyer focuses on the most important issues that are either expensive, broken or safety related.

Friends of mine are selling their house and they are sweating getting through the appraisal and home inspection.   I overheard them tell a friend “we hope we pass the inspection”.  There is no pass/fail.  Some buyers will take the house as is; others will hand my inspection report to the seller and expect them to fix it all.  I once had a buyer go through with a house that had sunk about an inch because the termite damage was so extensive.  On the other hand I had a buyer who walked out on a very nice house because of a little rotted wood.  Every deal is unique because everyone involved, including the buyer, seller, Realtor and house are unique.  That’s one thing that makes my job so great: “it’s always the same but never the same”.

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