Negotiating Repairs After Inspection
Nearly all home inspection reports list items in need of repair or replacement. Negotiations after home inspection are common. If major defects that require costly repairs come up, it’s reasonable to ask the seller to make the repairs or issue you a credit at closing to cover the cost of repair. On the other hand, requesting repairs r credits for minor cosmetic issues can create a hostile transaction that will be more difficult to navigate should you need to ask the seller for concessions or extensions in the future. Your agent can guide you on what is worth negotiating.
Attend Your Inspection
It’s inspection day! You don’t have to be there- BUT YOU SHOULD, even if it’s only for an hour at the end of the inspection. Even though you’ll receive a report summarizing the findings later on, being there gives you a chance to ask questions, and to learn the inner workings of the home.
Ask the inspector how long you should plan on being there in advance. The inspector will survey the property from top to bottom. This includes checking water pressure, leaks in the attic, plumbing, if door and window frames are straight (if not, it could be a sign of structural issues), if electrical wiring is up to code, if smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working, and if appliances are working properly. Outside, he or she will look at things like siding, fencing, and drainage.
Negotiating Repairs with The Seller
Once you receive the inspector’s report, review it with your agent. Most sales contracts (ask your agent) require the seller to fix:
- Structural defects
- Building code violations
- Safety issues
Most home repairs, however, are negotiable. But choose your battles wisely. Minor issues, like a cracked switchplate or loose kitchen faucet, are easy and cheap to fix on your own. If there are major issues with the house, your agent can submit a formal request for repairs that includes a copy of the inspection report. Trust your inspector, trust your gut, and lean on your agent — they likely have a lot of experience to support your decision-making.
If the seller agrees to make repairs they must provide you with invoices from a licensed contractor stating that the repairs were made. If the seller agrees to issue you a credit at closing instead, be sure you get quotes from licensed contractors with good reviews before you agree to the credit amount. This is why it’s important to schedule your inspection as soon as possible so you will have ample time remaining in your inspection period to investigate the cost of needed repairs. Then it’s full steam ahead toward the sale.
If the seller responds to your repair requests with a counteroffer they will state which repairs (or credits at closing) he or she is willing to make. The ball is in your court to either agree, counter the seller’s counteroffer or void the transaction.
Repair negotiations after inspection can make the difference between moving into the home of your dreams or taking on a money pit. You need to be realistic about how much repair work you’d be taking on. At this point in the sale, there’s a lot of pressure from all parties to move into the close. But if you don’t feel comfortable, speak up.