Defective? You Callin’ Me Defective?

The market that we were in recently — hot, hotter and hottest — was a fluke, not the norm. Defects that buyers were willing to accept (cracks in the foundation, etc.) in order to win the contract are no longer acceptable.

So. Now you’re a seller, not a buyer. That foundation crack is now an issue for the buyer of your house. But, you say, I didn’t care about it when I bought, why should the buyer?

The buyer cares for many reasons:

  1. Because he can.
  2. Because it’s no longer a seller’s market.
  3. Because the buyer has many more houses to choose from and can probably take his time doing so.
  4. Because the buyer can be picky and win because his is probably the only offer you’ll get.
  5. Because the days of buyers buying despite defects without some trade-off in price or terms are gone — and, as I said above — they were a fluke to begin with.
  6. Because the buyer realizes that if he doesn’t care about it now, it will probably come up when he goes to sell the house. Then it’ll be his problem even though he inherited it from you.

Just because that defect has been there for 20 years without bothering you doesn’t mean that it isn’t a defect. Be prepared to deal with it. Either before you go on the market, or once the home inspection has been completed.

© 2007 Susan Pruden.

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