In down market, minor home inspection problems become major headaches

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently found that homes are now spending an average of 111 days on the market, which represents a 9.8 percent drop from January figures. Still, there are still a number of factors that can hold up a home sale, including problems related to the appraisal, financing and underlying problems with the property.

These problems have contributed to 33 percent of NAR members reporting they experienced a contract failure in December 2011. One reason for these failures – a failed home inspection – should convince sellers that they need to find issues with their property early on in the sales process in order to determine whether they or the buyer will pay for related repairs. 

Some sellers are so concerned about a buyer canceling a deal due to a minor hang-up that they are likely more willing to address problems themselves. When the housing market exhibits more strength, homeowners know that there will also be other people to sell to should a deal fall apart. Desperation to close a deal places the onus on the seller to make sure the property is in peak condition.

"Say a buyer notices some missing caulk around a vent and wants it fixed," real estate expert Dean Moss told The Chicago Tribune. "In a stronger market, a seller would say, 'Caulk your own vent.' [But] you don't want to lose a deal because someone wants some caulk replaced."

To prevent minor issues from holding up or undermining a home sale, sellers may even consider hiring their own Washington, D.C. home inspector to look over a property before a buyer even enters a property. Sellers who are transparent with any problems to the home are more likely to establish a mutually agreeable price and make it less likely that a buyer will discover defects during their own home inspection.