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There is nothing more disappointing when a client’s purchase or sale falls apart because of an unmanaged home inspection process. From the client’s perspective, there is a lot invested for them emotionally and financially. They have mentally and emotionally “moved in,” and they have paid for appraisals and several home inspections (which are normally not refunded if the deal doesn’t stay together). On the agent side, there is much time, energy and cost invested in acquiring the client—not to mention the hours spent researching, showing and negotiating the sale.

Most of the fall-throughs occur due to home inspections. We can help keep more deals together for the consumers if we would better educate our agents on how to manage the process, communicate better and manage expectations.

These are proven strategies that will help your agents negotiate the home inspection part of the process like a total pro. These tactics keep the buyer and seller working towards their common goal: keeping the sale together. Your agents will close more of their sales, and, even better, provide amazing service to their buyers and sellers.

Set Expectations Early With Clients

At the beginning of the working relationship, make sure your agents start the conversation early to talk about the purpose of the home inspection, and what it is and what it is not. Have them explain that the primary purpose of the inspection for the buyer is to make sure that a.) the home is structurally sound, b.) there are no material defects or safety or hazardous issues in the house, and c.) help the buyer learn the inner-workings of the house for furnace filter replacements, where the emergency shut-offs are located, and more. Setting expectations with a seller is helpful, too. Have your agents let them know how much they should expect to put towards home inspection repairs, if any.

Use the Term ‘Home Inspection Resolution Process’

I am extremely purposeful when I coach agents and managers to use specific words that help create positive outcomes. Using the terminology “Home Inspection Resolution Process” includes words that create positive outcomes. “Resolution” implies “resolve” and continuously working together. It’s a fantastic way to discuss the inspection process with everyone: clients, agents, managers, etc.

Guide and Lead the Transaction

It is so important for each agent to be the leader in the transaction—making sure the client’s best interests are first, and continuing to stay positive regardless of how the other agent or buyer or seller are behaving. They have to be the agent leading the transaction proactively, without drama and without being adversarial to the other parties. There is a way for agents to work together to create solutions for both parties, and your agents should be encouraged to do that, rather than just repeat what their respective clients say to them, sometimes irrationally. Your agents need to stay calm and diffuse situations that may create emotional decision-making and sometimes demands that are difficult to attain. Being the leader during the Home Inspection Resolution Process keeps everyone operating at a very professional and results-oriented level, and keeps the deal together.

Focus on the Property, Not the Personalities

During the inspection process, it is sometimes hard to separate the real issues from those that are emotionally-driven. Focus on the property and not the personalities. For example, if a seller has amazing pride of ownership and writes the buyer a two-page, single-spaced letter about why they love their house and believe it is worth more, don’t allow the buyer to be offended by it. Rather, have your agents explain that they are buying a fantastic home and the sellers don’t come with the house (which is funny, but also true!). This will help your agents keep both clients focused on the finish line: the buyers on how much they love this house, and the seller realizing some of the items on the home inspection resolution list are, in fact, seller responsibilities and theirs to pay for in order to keep the sale together. Keeping everyone focused on the property makes for a smoother closing process for all involved.

Filter Information

Way too often, agents repeat information that is not helpful to the sale. Repeating everything that was said can create adversarial communication and make it harder to come to agreement on repair items. Remind your agents that while they are responsible for disclosing material facts, repeating every single thing to a buyer’s agent in a counteroffer will hurt the likelihood of keeping the deal together. Filter information and only repeat what is necessary—this will keep emotions from flaring and the deal moving towards the finish line.

Implement these strategies to help your agents’ negotiations become much easier to manage, and the Home Inspection Resolution Process much smoother.

For a free copy of my exclusive “Who’s Leading the Real Estate Transaction? Checklist for Expert Negotiations,” click here.

Sherri Johnson is CEO and founder of Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting. With 20 years of experience in real estate, Johnson offers coaching, consulting and keynotes, and is a national speaker for the Secrets of Top Selling Agents tour and the Official Real Estate Coach for McKissock Learning and Real Estate Express. For more information, please contact or 844-989-2600 (toll-free) or visit