A reasonable question posted recently on a real estate website can open an interesting discussion. It’s one that touches on a fundamental component of most Napa real estate sales.
The question was, “Can I request a home inspection before I make an offer on the home?”
The answer from the moderator was, “I can’t think of one good reason why you would do this.” The moderator should have thought a little harder! And the truth is, for any would-be Napa buyer who has never been involved in buying or selling a home, it’s a pretty logical question.
Take a fictional example. We have a young couple who have no previous real estate experience. Their parents never walked them through how they had gone about buying the homes they’d been raised in, and although both husband and wife have college degrees, neither has been exposed to the first thing about buying and selling a house (this is a hole in the educational setup that would seem to be pretty easy to fix…but at least for now, parents have to fill the void).
Our couple has fallen in love with an existing home. They like its size, style, and its Napa neighborhood—which is in a superior school district. They have some reservation about the asking price, which is a little more than their pre-determined target, but they decide to make an offer that shaves a few percentage points off the asking. They agree with their agent that for the seller to entertain their offer seriously, they need to accompany it with a 1%-2% earnest money deposit.
Just as they are on the verge of taking the leap…one other thing occurs to them. What, they wonder, will guarantee that there aren’t serious mechanical or other difficulties with the house? The solution would be simple—just order an inspection—except that, not yet being in a contract, the $300 – $600 inspection fee could be a waste of money. What if the sellers accept an offer in between the time the young couple orders the inspection and submits their offer?
In practice, a “before offer” inspection IS done in some cases – usually when a multiple offer situation is expected. In such cases, multiple sets of buyers would probably be advised by their savvy agents to invest the money on the front end to increase their odds of writing the offer that will be accepted. The way savvy agents help their seller clients avoid this problem for buyers is to have the sellers order a home inspection report themselves—and make it available to any potential buyers for review. This helps the sellers to get ahead of any unknown issues that might come up, as well as encouraging offers. When buyers have information about the basic condition of the home, it frees them to write an offer with more confidence.
A sound offer triggers the start of a process that ends in handshakes and smiles all around—and the transfer of a very valuable set of keys.
Whether buying or selling, strategic guidance regarding the offer is just one contribution of your chosen Napa real estate agent—and another reason why teaming with the right one is so key to getting the result you are looking for. I hope you’ll give me a call to discuss how I will help you reach those goals!