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The Property You Had Inspected Scored Badly – Now What?

property inspection appMost property managers and potential buyers have a good idea how a property inspection report will turn out.  After all, if a property manager has been conducting regular maintenance, the ins and outs of that property become very familiar; a usually has a good look at a property before putting down an offer.  Occasionally it happens, however, that a property scores significantly lower on an inspection than anyone expects, usually because there is some major structural defect that is not obvious or covered during routine maintenance.  A low score on a property inspection report usually means that the property requires a significant investment of time and money to repair the problems, so it can be a serious roadblock to a sale.  It’s important to know how to move forward with repair and sale of the property so that no one feels like they’re being exploited.

Find out where – and how bad – the damage is

If a property scores badly on an inspection report, the first thing both the seller and buyer should do is to get a copy of the report so that they can see where the damage is.  Low scores could be the result of a lot of minor problems, or of one or two really serious ones, and knowing which it is makes a big difference in how to move forward.  Ask your property inspector to send you a copy of the completed report so that both buyer and seller can see what caused the property’s low score.  If your inspector is very experienced, he may well have professional contacts who can give you advice about the best course of action to repair the damage noted in the property inspection report.

Figure out who will make the repairs- The sad reality of a property scoring very poorly on an inspection is that it will bring the value of the property down.  No buyer will be willing to pay market rate for a property that they then potentially have to spend much more money renovating and repairing.  But if the buyer and seller discuss who will take responsibility for the repairs, it’s possible to come to an agreement that can help both parties save money.  As a seller, you may be willing to take less money for the property if the buyer is willing to take it off your hands sooner and spare you the effort involved in making expensive repairs; as a buyer, you might feel more comfortable using your own contractors to improve the property, even if that means spending more on repairs once the sale is complete.

Do the repairs once, and do them well- Especially for the seller, it can be tempting to find the quickest, easiest fix to the property’s problems so that the sale can be completed soon with as little loss of money as possible.  But whether the buyer or the seller decides to take responsibility for the repairs, it’s worth spending the extra time and money to have the work done well.  For a seller, you risk an unhappy buyer and even legal action if the problems reappear shortly after the repairs are made; for a buyer, taking the time to make sure that any structural damage to the property is properly repaired will save you money on expensive repairs in the future, and help keep the property value high if you decide to sell later on.


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