Tips for sellers on potential property sale breakers.
Courtesy of Peter Weddell, owner/operator of Qld Home Buyers Inspection Service.
You can’t beat experience!
Having operated in the building inspection industry since 1978. Some of more prominent reasons I have observed for property sales not proceeding have been:
- Sellers and sometimes Agents, not disclosing or covering up major problems they were aware of .
- Expecting a prospective purchaser to accept costly repairs of major the problems they were not made aware of, before allowing them to sign a contract.
- Still expecting the buyer to pay the original agreed price for the property.
- Not allowing any negotiation to compensate the buyer for the problems.
No one likes unpleasant surprises, especially when they are heavily mortgaged and have to pay for rectification costs just to bring it up to an acceptable standard (for future resale) without adding any improvement value to the property.
This scenario can (in most cases) be avoided by being upfront with the prospective purchasers by making them aware of any major problems they may be aware of before allowing them to sign a contract. I don’t expect the buyer and/or Agent to be building inspection experts, but disclosure of known major problems is essential if they want a sale to go through without a hitch.
Disclosure can be an inconvenience if someone decides not to sign, but nowhere near as painful (and costly for the buyer) as when a contract falls through, for all concerned!
Example of how disclosure helped a property sale:
In the late 1980’s I carried out an inspection in an inner city suburb of Brisbane, the house was reasonably large and of a traditional style, therefore quite expensive so the buyers expectations were high. The building required replacing of the stumps, roof sheeting, gutters and some plumbing, which in most circumstances would be considered normal for the age and type of building (depending on the buyers expectations and whether they felt they were getting value for their money).
With a client consultation on completion of the inspection, as I made the client aware of the main problems they (surprising to me) were not worried at all as they informed me that the Agent made them aware of the main problems before they signed the contract. This was one of the most satisfying inspections I have carried out.
This is what disclosure can do for you. The sale went through without a hitch!
Who to choose for an inspection?
- Not anyone recommended by the agent, they will be biased.
- Someone that is prepared to produce a detailed report, with photos.
- Accesses all areas of the property and buildings, where physically possible and safe.
- Makes recommendations on preventative maintenance.
- Provides suggestions and economical solutions to problems that may potentially affect a sale.
- Is available for advice after the inspection.
- Use someone that has a track record and been in the building and inspection industry for many years.
You also do not want hidden surprises (problems your inspector missed) from the next inspection, that may effect a sale!
A few tips for sellers:
- Inform the Agent of any major problems, when listing the property and definitely before a prospective buyer signs a contract.
- Rectify any major problems, fully and properly, as if you were not selling, not a bandage job!
- Take photos before and after also during the course of the rectification
- Only use reputable licensed firms with the QBCC that will guarantee their work!
- Make sure any guarantees are transferable to the next owner (within a reasonable period)
- Keep all documentation, plans and approvals (building & plumbing), photos, receipts, termite treatments, appliance warranties, etc in a folder ready to pass onto the next owner
- Obtain approvals of building/plumbing additions or alterations of items you know that have not been Council approved
- Pool building approvals, enclosures and certifications.
- Keep maintenance up to the property and buildings.
- Be realistic if the buyer wants to renegotiate on major problems, put yourself in their shoes.
Following these recommendations may help improve your chances of a property sale!