It’s natural to feel a sense of relief when you finally sign a contract of sale on your property and prepare to hand over the keys. However, don’t assume the process is over just because you have a signed contract. The home inspection period may be for the buyer’s information and use, but you need to be ready to review results, respond to requests and negotiate repairs. Here are five things to keep in mind:
- Be flexible. Just like you had to drop everything for every last-minute showing you need to be ready to give the buyers access to the property for their inspections.
- Try not to take the inspections personally. Many if the sellers we work with here at firm struggle while reviewing home inspection results. When your home of however many years has been evaluated by a third party it can be hard to separate your emotions from the reports. An inspector may say your chimney is a hazard, but you have been using it for years! There can’t be mold in the bedrooms- your children slept there! Take a step back and remember the buyers don’t know your house and are not trying to insult you. They just want to make sure the home they are buying is safe and ready for them.
- Rules change. Many homeowners who have been in the same property for a long time are surprised by changes to the township codes or requirements. Unfortunately, just because something has worked well for 20 years does not mean you may not have to make some changes. Consult with your attorney to find out what you need to do to fulfill your obligations to the new buyers.
- While there are some small repairs sellers are allowed to make themselves, the standard New Jersey contract requires any repairs (like electrical or HVAC) requiring a professionally licensed contractors be completed accordingly. You also need to be sure repairs are properly permitted with the township to avoid any last minute complication.
- Keep you receipts! Once you have negotiated and agreed to inspections, make sure you keep all receipts to show the work was completed and completed by the proper professionals.
One final thought on the home inspection period: if a deal is going to fall apart, it is most likely to fall apart in these 14 days. With that understanding you should approach the inspection period with the same attitude as listing your house: the more you know, the better off you will be. A real estate attorney can help you negotiate your legal rights and responsibilities and help you clear this final hurdle so you can move on with confidence and only fond memories of your former home.