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Deafening Silence, Post-Inspection:
When Hours Seem Like Days

The inspection was completed, but the Buyer has been uncharacteristically incommunicado.

What’s the likeliest explanation?

A. The inspection was a disaster, and the Buyer intends to back out.
B. The inspection went fine, but the Buyer got cold feet anyways  . . . and intends to back out.
C.  The Buyer is busy documenting a major defect (cracked foundation, worn-out roof, etc.).  Or several(!) of them.
D. The Buyer is cooking up a long list of bogus issues, in an effort to renegotiate the sales price.
E. The Buyer’s agent is taking care of a sick kid, has out-of-town guests, or ??? and turned off their cell phone.

Answer:  “E.”

While the wait can be agonizing for Sellers, the vast majority of the time, any delay in hearing from the Buyer, post-inspection, is usually benign.

Other frequent explanations:  it is the Buyer’s agent (not their kid) who’s sick; the Buyer’s agent is tied up with other deals, handling multiple offers, etc.; the Buyer or Buyer’s kid is sick (detect a theme?); someone’s traveling and unreachable; and/or someone has a “technology issue” (often travel-related).

Unfortunately, the above explanations aren’t mutually exclusive.

Even if the news is bad, Sellers usually have to sit tight, and wait for the prescribed interval(s) in the Purchase Agreement to elapse to do anything about it (like cancel the deal and move on, if that is what’s warranted).

Contractual Timeline

Ironically, it’s possible for the Buyer’s agent to respond too quickly following an inspection.

That happens most often with newbie Realtors, who prematurely give Sellers the “all-clear.”

Then, once the Realtor has debriefed their client, had a chance to digest the written inspection report, etc. they discover — lo and behold — one or more items the Buyer wants to raise with the Seller.

Try starting that conversation (“Umm . . . about that inspection yesterday . . .. “).

See also:  “The Waiting (is the Hardest Part)”; The Waiting” — Version 2″; Delivering Bad News — How and When“; “Point(s) of Maximum Vulnerability in a Home Sale.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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