My Buyer Backed Out After Their Home Inspection. Now What?

One of the most frustrating things that can happen when selling your home is to have your buyer back out after they’ve had your home inspected. In Florida, if the buyer included an inspection contingency in their offer, all they need to do is cite the inspection as the reason for backing out to receive their earnest money deposit. Many homeowners are surprised to discover the buyer doesn’t even need to tell you what exact issue caused them to back out. So what do you do if your buyer backs out after their home inspection?

Request a Copy of the Inspection

Many times homeowners already have a good sense of any issues with their home. If however, you aren’t sure what issue could have caused your buyer to backout requesting a copy of the home inspection is a great place to start. Offer to pay for the inspection in exchange for a copy of the report. Just remember, once you have a copy of that report you will be legally required to disclose its findings to any future buyers. If an issue came up in one inspection though, it is almost certainly going to come up again.

Getting Your Buyer Back to the Table

The old real estate saying really is true, everything is negotiable. Typically, if you can get your buyer back to the table that is always better than starting the process over. Let your buyer know that you are open to paying to fix the issues. If you can’t pay for the repairs yourself and the issues aren’t causing your house to fail inspection, you may be able to offer the buyer a credit to use towards repairs after closing. When that isn’t an option, consider if a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) can help you access the cash required. Just remember, any money you borrow now will need to be paid back when you sell your home.

Preparing for Your Next Buyer

If things aren’t working with the existing buyer, think about what strategy makes sense in finding the next one.

This comes down to one of two options:

  1. Pay to have the problem fixed yourself
  2. Look for a buyer willing to address the issues after closing

Fixing the Problem Yourself

At the end of the day, the issue will likely need to be addressed before the average home buyer will close on your home. If paying for repairs is an issue, again, leveraging a HELOC may make sense. There are also loan programs such as the FHA 203K which allows both homebuyers and homeowners to finance up to $35,000 for home repairs.  

Finding a Buyer That Will Fix it Themselves

When the issue involves a major component of your home and is preventing your house from qualifying for traditional financing you may want to look to all-cash buyers. All-cash buyers are typically investors that don’t use traditional mortgages and are willing to buy houses needing repairs. In fact, that’s what many of them specialize in. Just remember, investors will typically expect a reasonable discount for the time and energy needed to address these issues themselves.

To Sum it Up

Always grab a copy of the home inspection report, or be prepared to pay for your own. Talk to your buyer to see if you can make a deal before moving on. If you can’t fix the issues yourself, and the issue is preventing buyers from getting financing, it may be time to look for a cash buyer.

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