As an agent who represents both Buyers and Sellers in the home buying and selling process, I always try and provide the most recent and relevant knowledge to my clients by raising theoretical questions with others in the industry, such as lenders, inspectors and other agents.
Recently, I represented two clients in the offer and negotiation of a charming South Tampa home. Before we started the negotiation process, I asked the listing agent if there would be anything that would show up as a surprise on a home inspection or termite report and the reply was “no.” The home is a wood-frame home from the 1950’s. I wouldn’t expect a clear/perfect home inspector report because of the sheer age of the home but we did expect no major repairs needed, based on what the agent had said.
Unfortunately, that was not the case. The termite inspection report came back with extensive wood rot and termite activity around the home, and the home inspection report showed items that would be flagged on a 4-point inspection report (resulting in higher insurance for my buyers until repairs were made).
After discussion with my Buyers, they were open to making some repairs after closing, understanding that it is an older home; however, the Sellers were not willing to repair the wood rot, only the termite activity. That doesn’t fly with a VA loan though. The items on the Termite Inspection report must be repaired and reinspected before the lender will finance the purchase. Without the Sellers’ cooperation, my Buyers decided to cancel the contract and we have since started our home search again… BUT what does this mean for the Sellers?
Those Sellers have now excluded VA financing from the list of available buyers, and the home is only a short distance to MacDill Air Force Base. FHA financing is likely excluded for the same reasons. This limits the sellers to Conventional financing or Cash buyers; therefore, their buying pool has now been reduced and about 15 days of contract time have been unnecessarily wasted.
I spoke with several lenders on this subject this week and, from those discussions, we came up with some recommendations for current and future Sellers. For Sellers that plan on listing their home and that desire to attract the largest pool of buyers, we recommend the following options for consideration:
- Hiring an appraiser to evaluate your home for items that may impede financing. Approx. cost is $400
- Alternative: Hire a home inspector to report on your home. Approx. cost is $300
- Suggestion: Make necessary repairs to your home, based on these reports.
- Why? When a buyer’s inspector/appraiser creates his report and there are repairs to be made, this invites questions into the buyer’s mind as to what else could be wrong and minor issues are often blown out of proportion.
- Benefits: Making repairs before listing opens you up to a larger pool of buyers and facilitates a fast closing process.
Thank you to Tad Wentzell of Absolute Home Mortgage, Allen Weinzapfel of CBC National Bank and Tom Daly of Homebridge Financial for your valuable feedback!