Tips for negotiating repairs after a home inspection

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You have been looking for a new home for some time and have now finally found your own. The seller accepted your offer and now it’s time for the home tour.

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“I think the real estate agent inspection deadline is probably the most nerve-wracking part of the home buying process,” said Ula Zucker Williams, a real estate advisor at Compass in Boca Raton, Florida. “At least for me, because I always want my buyers to get a good house.”

Williams said some seasoned buyers aren’t as concerned about the home inspection because they’re not afraid to ask for a loan if there is a problem. However, those who are first navigating the process tend to be more anxious.

“First-time home buyers are different in that they scare every little thing on the inspection report, and I understand that,” said Williams. “I have to remind them often that when you buy an older home you can’t expect it to be perfect, and even newly built homes have problems.”

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Give yourself time

Williams recommends that you schedule the inspection during the first two days of the inspection period, as this will give you plenty of time to review the report and negotiate with no added stress.

“I’ve seen people get inspections the day before the last day and that puts a buyer in a terrible bargaining position,” she said. “Waiting (until) the last minute gives the seller all the power.”

Know the terms

However, a seller’s willingness to negotiate usually depends on the current market conditions.

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Brett Bynum, MBA, a real estate agent at Real Estate Experts in Campbell, Calif., Said negotiating is not always easy for him right now because his Silicon Valley area is an extreme seller market.

“The vast majority of the offers accepted are subject to change and unchanged, so negotiated repairs are quite rare these days,” he said. “However, they can be negotiated depending on the nature of the repairs, the relative leverage of the parties involved, and the likely assessment of other potential buyers.”

Choose wise

If you do decide to request repairs or credits, choose only reputable items.

“Based on current market dynamics, small inquiries are not considered, nor are items previously disclosed by sellers,” said Bynum. “In our stores, most smart salespeople will do all the major inspections – property, pests, roof and chimney if applicable – before going on the market to increase the number of listings.”

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He said knowing the condition of the property in advance will add convenience to buyers – even if it requires work – and eliminate or largely reduce the ability for the buyer to submit a legitimate request for repairs after accepting their offer.

In the event that there is room for repairs, the ability to negotiate largely depends on whether the problem has been announced in advance, whether it is a safety issue, whether most other buyers want to fix it, and whether the problem is covered despite the law is not covered by the contract.

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“For sellers, their willingness to fix items or provide credit really depends on a risk / reward analysis,” he said. “If they think there is less going to be a return to the open market, with the flaw associated with escrow failure – the next few buyers will see the two different reports and understand why they failed – then in general they will agree.”

In principle, the negotiation of repairs after a house inspection must be carried out on a case-by-case basis. Choose an experienced real estate agent who can guide you through the process and don’t settle for anything that is uncomfortable for you.

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Last updated: May 20, 2021

About the author

Laura Woods is a freelance writer with over 10 years of experience. She specializes in a wide variety of topics including marketing, personal finance, entertainment, and lifestyle.

Her work has been featured on dozen of websites including HuffPost, CNBC, Business Insider, Nasdaq, MSN, Yahoo, Fortune, Inc., Entrepreneur, and POPSUGAR. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Robert Morris University.

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