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By Kim Murphy
Murphy & Murphy Southern California Realty 

Real Estate Round-Up: Stress or joy? Use a new approach to sell homes


Last updated 8/23/2018 at 3:22am

I’ve been a Realtor since 1997. During that time, much has changed. It seems that every year the process of purchasing or selling a home gets more complicated.

Sellers are required to disclose everything they know about their home. Inspections on homes are more arduous and requests for repairs frequently reach far beyond just items that are mechanical or safety related.

These stressors begin immediately after an offer has been accepted, so the sellers and buyers never settle into a time of joy and relief over the successful negotiation of the sale of the home. I’m sure you’ve heard stories or experienced it yourself. Does it need to be this way? The simple answer is no.

In Southern California, home sellers move through a transaction differently than they do in Northern California. In Northern California, the seller does a pest inspection and home inspection as soon as they list their home. In this way, the seller receives a report from a home inspector of their choosing.

The home inspector is hired to truly investigate the home, so the seller is aware of what items need repair, replacement or disclosure. If the inspector recommends further evaluation of the roof or the HVAC, the seller gets that inspection too.

Generally, the seller makes the mechanical and safety repairs, provides the prospective buyer with the report and the proof of repairs along with the required seller disclosures. Buyers are provided this information before writing an offer. Having this information up front replaces stress with joy for buyers.

In many cases, because of the transparency by the seller, buyers write offers that are not contingent on any inspections. Whew! I feel better already, how about you? Imagine never having to be concerned about the quality of the home inspection report or about getting a request for repairs that could potentially derail the entire escrow?

In Northern California, buyers are loan approved before they start looking at homes. When a buyer finds the home they want, they provide the lender with the address of the property and once the lender reviews the title report, which by the way, has also been secured at the time the home is listed, there is only one hurdle left; the appraisal.

In Southern California, sadly real estate agents show buyers property before they have a formal approval. Lenders tend to feel more like a foe than a friend with all the “guidelines” that are subject to loan approval. A verbal approval, based on a phone conversation, does not begin to guarantee a valid approval. Score another point for Northern California. Because the buyer is truly approved, the loan contingency is also often eliminated from the purchase agreement.

Not having to worry about inspections or loan approval makes real estate agents, buyers and sellers feel so much lighter. So why doesn’t Southern California make the change? I’m truly not sure. I do know that sellers tend to resist spending money before knowing their home is sold.

Hiring a home inspector and pest inspector is going to cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000. Add in a pool or roof inspection, and they could be looking at another $500. If there really are items that should be repaired, however, as a homeowner, wouldn’t they want to fix them anyway?

Positioning the property so that buyers could write offers that were “clean” and not going to open-up negotiations when it’s two or three weeks into the escrow sounds wonderful.

California Association of Realtors updated its listing contract in June 2017 to include language addressing ordering inspections within five days of listing a property. In this case, a little cash up front could mean a lot less stress and the ability to focus on the joy and relief of a job well done.

Murphy and Murphy Southern California Realty is here to help make the process better, so escrow is a pleasant memory.

Kim Murphy can be reached at [email protected] or (760) 415-9292 or at 130 N. Main Avenue in Fallbrook. Her broker license is #01229921, and she is on the board of directors for the California Association of Realtors.


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