No House is “Perfect”

Sellers think one way of their home while buyers portray it another. The epicenter of discord.

The Seller's Story

Sellers frequently view their homes as the epitome of perfection, loftily perched atop a cloud, with angelic neighbors and fortified basements with nary a drop of water intrusion.
Sellers, let's come back down to earth. Homes are frequently in need of updating and repairs prior to sale. Yes, it applies to your home as well. It is a good idea for you to have a home inspection prior to placing your home on the market. For a few hundred dollars, this inspection will save you time, headaches, and money during the sale.
Think of it as getting a "punch list" of things that need to be completed to head off stressors in the future. If don't do them you now, chances are you'll be racing deadlines during the transaction when the buyers' inspector finds the same issues needing attention.
Just as importantly, be completely honest in filling out the property condition report. Trying to find creative ways to omit or obscure known issues will likely land you in hot water down the road. It is better to openly disclose any problems ahead of time and to address them promptly.
Always leave your home the way you'd like to find it. Remember back when you bought your home? How great would it have been if there was nothing to do on move-in day except to move in?
Sellers jump-start the great memories for the new occupants by having your home safe, clean, maintained, and in great working condition. It is your obligation and simply the right thing to do.

The Buyer's Story

Buyers search, fall in love with a home, and make an offer. Then interestingly enough, some buyers will begin picking the house apart, right down to the studs. They quickly note every little imperfection.
Remember, this is "The House", the very house you loved enough to make an offer on, the perfect place! We understand everyone wants a bargain and for everything to be perfect, but let's be reasonable and focus on the bigger picture.
Buyers, your offer should include an inspection contingency. It is important that the home you are buying and spending your hard-earned cash on is safe, clean, and in good working condition. If your inspector indicates that something needs to be addressed, they will say so in their report. After the inspection, you'll know of an issue and you should get a licensed expert to investigate said issue further. Big items indicated by your inspector could be labeled as "defects". A simple way of thinking about a defect is that it is something that would shorten the life of the home's structure/function, or that of its inhabitants. (Think radon, asbestos, a faulty gas line, or improper or dated wiring, among others.). In addition, a "defect" may include things like a roof or windows that need replacement, as they may leak, causing extensive damage. Defects, brought to the surface by inspections, can be negotiated with the seller in a way that is acceptable to everyone.
(Sellers, if you had a pre-listing inspection, and made the required disclosures and suggested repairs, there should be little the buyers would ask for or need to negotiate.)
All being said, buyers, before thinking the avocado green countertop, or the ill-fitting drawer in the pantry are "defects", think again. Little items needing tweaking are simply part of being a homeowner. Making small repairs or updates will give you the satisfaction in your investment and you'll enjoy making the house your home.
Buyers and sellers, it's time to bury the hatchet and meet on common ground. After all, sellers would like to sell their homes and buyers would like to buy them. It is completely feasible for everyone to be satisfied at the closing table, enjoying their new beginnings, without feeling emotionally battered and bruised.
Sellers, do your part. It is your responsibility to deliver the house to the new occupants in a safe, clean, and good working condition.
Allow us to suggest, leaving a bottle of wine and a note to welcome the new owners, or prepare a home binder with all of the appliance/mechanical manuals or maps to your favorite restaurants.
Buyers, don't nit-pick the sellers to change the paint colors, align a drawer, or add allowances so you can plant your favorite flowers. Simply focus on the big stuff. At closing, thank the sellers for being honest, reasonable and for selling their home to you. Let them know how much love it and plan to care for it. This is so often very important for the sellers to know as well.
In the end, everyone will be happier with the process and all will be reminded that every home is perfectly imperfect, but loved nonetheless.

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