DISCLOSURE: Listing a Home after you have seen an Inspection Report
Here is the best way to go about listing a home, when you have been shown (the first) buyer’s full inspection report.
I had an event happen recently that has inspired this little blog on DISCLOSURE.
I am already an honest person, at times I say to a fault, but when it comes to housing, I don’t think you can ever say too much. Representing a seller, you want to address ANY issues that could eventually come back and haunt you or worse…sue you.
I put a nice little 3/2 one story home in Milwood (7016 Riverton) on the market a few weeks back. Milwood, with it’s great schools and location near the tech corridor, couldn’t be a better location for some and the price is definitely affordable. We didn’t even have it on the market before I had calls on it (beauty of pre-marketing to other agents and “Coming Soon” signs). We had showings before it hit the market. And offers in three days. Austin is in a great spot right now, especially for sellers. We are priced: Affordably, and that is hard to come by as prices are on the rise.
After our inspection report came back, as predicted there were maintenance items needed, updated items needed, a few safety issues–and this is all standard, especially for a 30yr old home. Inspection reports can be scary for buyers. It’s rare that a home is “totally clean.” There is always something–and that’s ok…we were to work through it.
Often times what is deemed important to one, is not always important to another. In this instance the buyers had asked some items serviced, cleaned, repaired etc. And after days of conversations and email lists and bids, ultimately we just couldn’t agree. And that is OK too. I have represented plenty of buyers to know that–after you spend money buying a house, you don’t really want to spend any more fixing it to your standards or doing things you felt should have been done or maintained. Now, while I usually recommend a seller get a report before putting their home on the market, there’s also nothing wrong with having the buyer pay for one and addressing the issues after either. The pro to purchasing one before listing: You have time to address and fix, and not have to waste time if you have to go back on the market after you lose a buyer. The cons: Paying for it yourself. And what you may deem as a “NEED TO” type items, the buyers may have other plans in mind.
So here we are. Off the market. Buyer and seller couldn’t come to terms. We now have the buyer’s inspection report, a list of bids, desired items to be fixed, notices of what’s been broken. What is next?
Disclose. Disclose. DISCLOSE.
I am grateful to have reasonable sellers who now are taking the time to address these items before we put it back on the market. What do we tell buyers who are looking now? Exactly what we found in the report. I think it is in good practice to do the following, when putting a home back on the market after being exposed to the buyer’s inspection report:
(Home above the one I am writing from experience in this post, 7016 Riverton, Austin Tx)
1. Market home with an updated seller’s disclosure (this is required in Tx, so as a buyer, you should see this with almost every home you purchase, exceptions being foreclosures and a few other specific cases).
2. Re-filling out the seller’s disclosure with noted sections referring to first buyer’s inspection report, what has been fixed, and all you now know, or referencing an attached list of items/explanation.
3. Invoiced and warranty work.
Last year I had a seller that was a bit of a pack rat. Now, in most cases this is usually a bad thing when it comes to listing houses BUT this seller put every single piece of documented paperwork in an accordion file for the house. It was great and I HIGHLY recommend it for all you home owners out there. When it comes time to sell, you don’t have to scratch your head and think-did we have the AC serviced in 2008 or 2009? Rather you have all the paperwork to prove it. I also think there is nothing better than for a buyer to get a stack of paperwork on how to operate the sprinklers or alarm systems. (As an agent I have had to go online and find a model number and manual and send to my clients before, and it is much easier to just give it to the new buyer, I also think it shows-as a seller-that you appreciate the buyer and you took care of the home and its contents).
I also can’t express enough how assured it makes buyer’s feel to get a transferable warranty. And when it comes to “foundation” that word alone scares buyers, but not when you have structural drawings, invoices and warranties to back up what you did for your home. So in this instance-KEEP YOUR PAPERWORK!
4. Photos and/or a list of the items you had repaired.
This is just a little bonus I think is good to point out to potential buyers to help them understand what was addressed. My clients took photos of the work that was being done (as photos are in inspections) work completed is helpful too!
5. First Buyer’s Inspection report. Now this is debatable among agents. A buyer paid a few hundred dollars for this inspection report, why would they want to share it with anyone else? Well, when they gave it to the seller, the seller now has the obligation to disclose.
Questions about the Inspection Report being Public:
Did I post the inspection in the MLS when we put the house back on the market? Absolutely.
Did the buyer’s agent ask me to take down the inspection? Yes.
Did I HAVE to take down the inspection? I did not. I have the obligation to fully disclose the defects found in the home. Even if the report read “for Buyer B’s use only” that full report was handed over to my seller, thus legally we must disclose.
Did I take down the inspection anyway? Yes, as a courtesy. I still disclosed to any interested parties. I know that in the past as a buyer’s agent, I don’t necessarily have to give the full report, but perhaps a list of items I want addressed or maybe just the certain pages pertaining to our concerns in the report. Not always the best way (because the report has explanations and photos) but certainly helps.
When I first started to write this post we had just taken the listing off market….
Finally getting around to finish writing the post and we have already fixed and addressed all safety items in the buyer’s report and put it back on the market, had showings all weekends, phone calls, and a VERY successful open house, then we went under contract again after being in a multiple offer situation (again). Here we go. I look forward to a smooth, honest, transaction. Having my sellers in their new to be built home in Mayfield Ranch and the new buyers with their little one, settled in by Christmas as well.
As always, thanks for reading. Hope you found this post informative and not too boring 😉