Key Objectives of a Home Inspection

by Karen Briscoe
July 30, 2015

As a professional, full-time real estate agent I have found that there are 3 key objectives for a Purchaser to have a home inspection on a property under contract to buy.  The first is to have a clear understanding of the physical condition of the property so that the Purchaser knows what they are actually buying and make a “red light/green light” decision on whether to continue with the transaction.  The second is to educate the Purchaser on recommended maintenance/life expectancy for the systems and the structural components of the home.  And third is to create a list for the Seller of those items that the Purchaser would like repaired/replaced and/or remedied.

The first question the Purchaser must answer upon completion of the home inspection is:  “Do you still want to buy the property?”  This is the “red light/green light” objective.  If for whatever reason the Purchaser no longer wants to proceed, then this is one of the few opportunities to void the contract in the market area of Northern Virginia where I practice real estate.  The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR) addendum regarding the Home Inspection and Radon Testing Addendum provides for notice voiding the Contract.  How often does this happen in practice?  In my experience, this situation occurs in less than 10% of the transactions, typically it has to do with a bad case of “Buyer’s remorse”.

According to US Legal Definitions, Buyer’s remorse is an emotional response on the part of a Buyer in a sales transaction, which may involve feelings of regret, fear, depression or anxiety. Per the definition and in my experience as well the best way to cope with Buyers’ remorse, and minimize its destructiveness, is to be informed.HomeInspection

In the majority of the cases however, the Purchaser does want to move forward with buying the property, often with the stipulation that the Seller will take care of the issues addressed in the home inspection report.  This is like being at a yellow light, proceed with caution.  The next step is to identify from the home inspector’s report those items that the Purchaser would like the Seller to repair/replace/remedy.  The items are specified on a Sales Contract Addendum and typically states that those items that normally require a licensed tradesperson to install or repair should be corrected by a licensed tradesperson.  Further, receipts for corrective actions are to be provided to the Purchaser prior to the pre-settlement walk through inspection.  Sometimes a credit to Purchaser at settlement towards closing costs will be offered.  This can be problematic with some lenders, so be certain to verify that it will be allowed before proceeding with agreeing to a credit or an adjustment to the sales price.

The Purchaser and Seller are now in the situation that I like to call the “tennis game of negotiations”.  As so often is the case, the Purchaser wants everything fixed and the Seller wants to minimize the cost and hassle.  It is the outcome of these negotiations that determine if the transaction moves into green light for “go” status or whether it becomes voided and thus is a red light, everything stops.

If you find yourself in the need of some guidance from a professional Realtor, please visit our website for more information at:  www.HBC  Karen Briscoe and Lizzy Conroy and their team of Associate Agents are active and experienced Realtors® with Keller Williams in the Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and Washington, DC market place.  We would be delighted to assist whether for home buying or selling.  Please contact via the means most convenient for you:  703-734-0192 or

Karen Briscoe is Principal of the Huckaby Briscoe Conroy Group (HBC) and author of "Real Estate Success in 5 Minutes a Day". She is an Associate Broker in Virginia, a Certified Luxury Home Market Specialist, and a member of the Women’s Council of Realtors. Karen began her real estate career developing residential lots with the Trammel Crow Company in Dallas, and in commercial real estate with The Staubach Company in the Washington, DC Metro area. Karen has a Masters Degree from Southern Methodist University and her BA from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri – her hometown.
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