The home inspection process will make or break a transaction. It is by far the most important  step for both buyers and sellers. The following post will explain the process and offer some advice to make it easier for you.

The home inspection process

Here are some basics about inspections. They are done to protect the buyer by informing them about the condition of the home and to uncover any defects. A thorough inspector will also take the time to educate the buyer about the home and how to properly care for it. We highly recommend a home inspection to anyone buying a home.

Historically, inspections were meant to put heavy focus on uncovering very specific things relating to structural defects or health and safety issues. These include things like mold in an attic, radon gas, or large cracks in a basement wall. Sellers typically offered to address these items as standard protocol.  It was a more simple process in the past.

Today, buyers seem to be asking for everything under the sun, even things they were aware of when they walked through the home ( broken outlet cover, rip in screen door, etc..). Now, the inspection typically results in a second round of negotiations.

Usually, it is not what comes on the report that causes problems, but how the buyer deals with the information. Some buyers are more alarmist than others. Which brings us to our next point: emotions!

The inspection period occurs when buyers' emotions are at a heightened state.  Buyers are initially very exited about their new home. After a few days pass however, additional feelings creep in such as nervousness, anxiety, and sometimes even buyer's remorse ( did we pay too much, is this really the right house...). These are natural and every buyer feels them, some just handle the emotional aspect better than others.

Buyers can become more emotional and less rational when dealing with items that appear on an inspection report. The sellers in turn become defensive upon seeing a laundry list of petty items. It then becomes a long drawn out process, sometimes even worse than the original negotiations.


We communicate to our buyers to offer a price based upon what they see when they walk through the home and what has been disclosed by the seller. If you are aware that there is a cracked window or a broken screen door, either address it up front or factor it into the price.  If you know the roof is 24 years old, factor a new one into the price. Don't wait until it shows up on the inspection report and then use it as a way to re-negotiate a better price. This is a little disingenuous to the negotiation process.

When it comes to addressing inspection issues, try to focus on health and safety issues or structural defects that were not previously disclosed.

Also, we believe it is best to respond to the seller as quickly as possible. Although the standard contract will typically give you a certain number of days to respond to the seller ( in Ohio it is 3 days ), waiting until the last minute and dragging the process out may do more harm than good. If you really want the sellers to do something, making them wait on pins and needles for three days is not always the best way to get their cooperation.

The inspection process has become the most important phase of the buying and selling process. What happens here will often determine whether or not a transaction  ends up closing. Remaining calm and focusing on the big picture will often get you through it. That, and of course the help of a good agent.