Reader Question: We are preparing to sell our home by owner and had it pre-inspected. The inspector flagged a potential $2,000 problem with the plumbing and suggested we have a plumber investigate. We did so. The plumber was quite emphatic that the issue is not a problem. He also had some outside advice on how we could handle it with future buyers. We are leaning toward approaching it with a combination of all three of his pointers. We don’t say anything about it unless they bring it up. If they have a home inspector that flags it, at that point, we will argue that we had a master plumber look at the valve and flagging it was a mistake. We can offer to split the cost if they are uncomfortable with it at $1000. What is your recommendation?
Monty’s Answer: Outside advice can create expensive risks in home sales. Here is where you stand today. You have not yet established a price; whether you lose or save money cannot be determined at this point. No one has yet seen the house, and if they do, you have no idea what they will offer. Your goal to gain the trust of the buyer is essential in gaining the best price. That is why you have the home pre-inspected. You are doing the right thing with the inspection to create this trusting environment. Here are the pros and cons of your thinking:
Option One: Don’t mention the inspection and hope their inspector does not flag it. By not sharing the inspection you paid for, you are changing course.
- You may save $2,000.
- If they waive the inspection(which buyers sometimes do in this environment), buy the house, and there is a major stinky flood in six months, there is a risk.
- The buyer has their inspection, which doesn’t flag it. Your risk does not disappear.
- You may not save $2,000
Option Two: Share the inspection up-front and give a $2000 credit against the future negotiated purchase price for the valve replacement.
- You may still save $2000.
- There is no chance of losing trust over the valve.
- If there is a flood in the future, you fully disclosed the potential.
- You may not save $2000
- The plumber could be wrong.
Option Three: Report it and say you are not going to fix it. You will not because the plumber came to review the valve configuration and replace it but declared nothing wrong.
- You keep the trust in place.
- You shift the responsibility of what to do with the issue to the buyer. They will be living there.
- You may still save $2,000
- You may not save $2,000
This issue is a decision you must make on your own or seek legal advice. Reviewing the pros and cons will help you make the right decision. There may be more options that you and the plumber have not considered. A major problem in real estate is all the experts and armchair quarterbacks that provide free advice. Even real estate agents reach beyond their expertise. They do not realize they may be putting you and themselves at risk.