Three Lists you should make after an inspection
Once you have your inspection report it’s important to sort and organize the information. I recommend that my clients make three lists. Seller Items, Buyer Items, and Deal Items. Your agent can help with making these lists, but ultimately it’s something you should do. So let’s talk about the lists in reverse order.
Before we get too far, every house has things that are going to delight you and things that are going to bug you. Every house has items that need to be addressed. Even new homes have items that builders forget about and buyer’s want to have corrected.
Deal items are things you should learn to deal with. They are things that you aren’t going to change and the seller isn’t going to change. A great example is my 1965 home’s staircase. In 1965 it was common to build corner stairs with very narrow stair treads on the inside corner. We don’t do that anymore. We learned that narrow stair treads lead to people slipping and being injured. Unfortunately, it’s really expensive to re-do a staircase in an existing home. Very few sellers would entertain that request, and very few buyers would want to do it either. So it becomes what I call a “learn to deal with it” item. Older homes have more of these than newer homes. When you add things to the “deal” list you should have a discussion with your agent and your family to make sure these things aren’t deal killers. If you want to age in place, an upstairs bedroom might not work for you. Ultimately what’s right is a matter of personal preference.
Buyer items are things that you want to change and that you are going to put on your own to-do list. It could be that your wife doesn’t like the flowers in the front yard. Or it could be that your new dream home would be that much better with a pool and hot tub in the back yard. Sometimes it’s things like the tile having a few chips in it from years of family use. No matter what these are things that a seller is going to be hesitant to address. Your agent can help you sort through them and determine if something is a deal breaker or not.
Seller items are items which you and your agent are going to ask the seller to either have fixed or give you a discount to have fixed. While it’s true, that in contracts, the two parties can negotiate anything that isn’t illegal, more often these are major or safety items. In our new digital age, sometimes these are items like making sure the seller transfers control and ownership of digital conveniences like a Ring® doorbell to you, the buyer. Often thought, these are unpleasant discoveries like a bad roof, Air Conditioner that isn’t working properly, or broken sewer pipe that would be deal breakers if the seller was unwilling to address them.
Once you have your three lists I recommend that you put a value on each item on the list. Sometimes this involves contacting a contractor, and other times it involves visiting your favorite home improvement store. Once you have the items sorted and valued you are in a great position to discuss the outcome with your agent. Your agent can help rationalize unplanned to-do items and negotiate items you want the Seller to address.