Tips for Negotiating Home Inspections in Westchester County

Tips for Negotiating Home Inspections in Westchester County

I represent both buyers and sellers in Westchester County Real Estate. This area is located north of New York City and features an easy commute to Manhattan as well as some of the most highly rated school districts. Westchester County is a great place to live. It offers a rare combination of high-end and affordable housing, as well as a lifestyle unlike any other. My family calls Westchester County (Chappaqua) home. And unlike my hometown, there’s a good chance that my children will return to Westchester County to start their families.

There is one downside to purchasing homes for sale Chappaqua and townhomes in Briarcliff Manor: Westchester County property tax is among the highest in the nation. This is a fact that can’t be ignored. When it comes time to choose a property from a long list that has been toured, the combination of high closing costs in Westchester County and “Value”, becomes a major differentiator.

Negotiating items at inspection is the most contentious part of any residential real property transaction. If I’m representing the buyer, paying him a rebate on my broker commission that beats the Redfin Rebate of Westchester, or if I’m representing the seller, charging a low commission and allowing my client to keep all his hard-earned equity.

New York State requires that the property is inspected after all negotiations have been completed and the buyer has accepted the terms and conditions of the sale. Sometimes, the parties can be very friendly and happy at this stage. In others, however, one or both of the parties may feel they are being taken advantage of. This is the gas…

…and the inspection gives off the spark.

The biggest obstacle to a seller and buyer agreeing on a price is the seller’s unrealistic view of their property. The buyer will try to find every excuse to lower the perceived value.

At the inspection, it is similar. Sellers often view their home as an immaculate, move-in-ready, perfect estate and the buyer attempts to show that it is similar to a tenement. The truth is often somewhere in the middle.

If the deal is not done correctly by all parties , that includes the seller, buyer, real estate agents, attorneys, and inspector…the deal could and will go sour resulting in all parties going back to square 1.

Here are some tips for sellers and buyers…

Selling Westchester Real Estate:

1) Clear away any clutter that may be blocking access to key areas, such as crawl space access and electrical panels. You should also open any doors or windows that are difficult to reach. It is not your intention to conceal a defect or prevent something from being seen.

2) Make sure the buyers feel at home, the new residents of your home, who you have taken such great care of, Perhaps you could write a brief note welcoming them. My sellers love it when I leave them a cup of hot coffee and mugs.

3. Sellers should not remain on site during inspections. This inspection should be conducted with trust and supervision.

Before responding to buyer requests for repairs credits or to have repairs done prior to closing, take a deep breath. It is a better way to respond to a request for major repairs, such as “Repair the roof” and “replace your electric panel”, than just saying “No” and shooting it down. If you are not satisfied with the request (which is most likely), you can always ask the buyer to share the inspection report. It’s your home! !

Buying Westchester Real Estate:

1) New York State requires home inspectors to have proper insurance and be licensed to perform inspections. You should ensure that the inspector you choose has both a license and insurance.

2) Be flexible in scheduling the inspection. It is a good idea to offer the sellers multiple options for when you can hold the inspection. This is especially important if the seller has small children or runs a business from their home. Also, make sure to schedule your home inspection in westchester ny as soon as you receive the accepted offer. Time kills all deals. Sellers in New York State have the right to sell any party until the contract is signed.

Respect your future home. Be kind and leave things as they were found. You should leave your house in the same state you found it.

4) This is my favorite. Don’t nitpick!!! Every inspection has its problems. A common defect is the existence of GFCI outlets that are not working. I can’t recall a home inspection in which an inspector didn’t notice that there were inoperable GFCI outlets. An inoperable GFCI outlet can easily be repaired for as little as $20. A surefire way to ruin a deal is to nickel and dime a seller.

Buyers should be cautious with their requests. My clients are advised to ask for credit or repairs for items that are in one of these states.

Dangerous Items: These could include the remediation of mold, broken steps or missing railings.

Items that are defective: These could include a leaky roof, a boiler, furnace, or hot water heater that isn’t working properly, broken windows or live leaks, or any other major system that isn’t functioning correctly.

Remember that “Old is not deficient”. A seller must deliver a working system at closing. A system that is not working properly does not automatically mean it is obsolete.

5) Be reasonable. Ask for contractor estimates to back up your credit and share your inspection report with the seller. Your seller can then get quotes.

There should be an open discussion and willingness to compromise at the end of inspections. Your agent and attorney should do their jobs. Deals can be made when all parties are reasonable.