You've made an offer, the seller has accepted, and now it's time for the home inspection. The purchase agreement has been signed, and the funds are in escrow. During the home inspection, the inspector will attempt to find as many defects as possible in the home's roof, floors, walls, windows, and structural support members.
After the inspection is done, you can begin to make repair requests with the seller; you generally can't start making requests before that. Once you have the inspection report in hand, you can ask the seller to repair the items/situations found. They may agree or decline; or, in some cases, they might offer you “repair credits” instead. These essentially lower the selling price, giving you more cash to do the repairs yourself once you own the home.
Learn more about serious issues to look out for, tips for making requests after a home inspection, and the different ways to pay for repairs.
- In most cases, home inspections are done shortly after a homebuyer's offer is accepted.
- The buyer has to decide which issues warrant a repair request with the sellers, and which they'll ask for cash for, handle themselves, or let slide altogether.
- There are certain repairs that are mandatory for sellers to fix, including issues related to safety.
- Sometimes, buyers are better off asking for cash credit on a repair item instead of asking the seller to replace or repair something.
Serious Repair Requests To Watch For
Your job as a buyer is to figure out which issues warrant a repair request with the sellers, and which you’ll ask cash for, handle yourself, or let slide altogether. However, if serious issues are found on your home inspection, you should request repairs from the sellers.
Some of the more severe issues you should keep an eye out for in your home inspection report include the following.
Homes built before 1960 often have ungrounded wiring and polarized receptacles. These are two-prong outlets that come with a higher risk of electric shock than current standards allow.
There's nothing bad about ungrounded wiring, but it's not a good idea to plug sensitive electronic equipment such as computers or televisions into an ungrounded outlet, or appliances that draw a lot of power, such as microwaves or newer refrigerators.
If a home you’re looking to buy has ungrounded wiring, you might want to request it be rewired before closing. If the sellers don’t agree, you could consider a newer property with modern wiring instead.
Galvanized Water Pipes
Most homes built before 1970 have galvanized steel pipes. Minerals in the water supply can cause a buildup inside these pipes over time. This buildup could become a problem if you notice low water pressure. Galvanized pipes can also rust and leak.
Many homeowners don't replace galvanized pipes; they repair them when they leak. It's not unreasonable to ask a seller to repair a leaking galvanized pipe. You may also ask them to replace all galvanized pipes with copper, CVPC, or Pex, although they might be less likely to take on such a large project just before moving out.
Orangeburg Sewer Pipes
Ask your real estate agent whether other homes in the neighborhood have had Orangeburg or "tar paper" sewer pipes. Orangeburg pipes are common in homes built between 1945 and 1972. These pipes can absorb moisture and become distorted, causing poor flow and other issues.
You can hire plumbing specialists to insert a camera down the sewer line to look for tree roots or to find out whether the sewer line is Orangeburg. If so, these types of pipes last about 50 years before they disintegrate. They can also cause a need for thousands of dollars in repairs if a pipe should burst.
When having your home inspection done, you can also ask for a sewer inspection. Replacement of sewer lines is expensive, but it's an item many sellers will replace if asked.
If roof issues crop up during your inspection, you can certainly ask for them to be repaired. Usually, sellers will get a roof inspection when these requests are made. These are conducted by a roofing company and are designed to find any issues with the roof, its materials, and its features, such as ridges, caps, and pipes. The roof inspection will give you a complete estimate of the damage and costs to repair.
If the roof needs a full replacement, there’s a chance the seller will replace it or have it replaced under their homeowners insurance policy. Sometimes, they will offer cash credits instead.
Once the repairs are made, the roofing company will issue a roof certification to show that it’s in good condition.
HVAC Systems and Water Heaters
Age is a good indicator for determining when heating and cooling systems should be replaced. The average life expectancy of a central A/C unit is usually 15 to 20 years.
Be wary if a system is nearing its age limit. If your home inspector notes a unit’s old age on your report, have it inspected by a licensed HVAC professional to make sure it’s up to snuff.
It's not unusual for a buyer to request new systems, but they're expensive to replace, so keep that in mind if you intend to request a full replacement.
Mandatory Repairs After a Home Inspection
After a home inspection, there are certain repairs that are mandatory for sellers to fix. They include issues related to safety, such as structural damage, mold, and fire code violations.
If you’re a homebuyer, getting a professional home inspection is an important step in the process. Home inspectors are specifically trained to find deficiencies in residential properties. They can also advise you as to what deficiencies are most important or pose safety issues.
Some of the most common mandatory repairs include:
- Water damage
- Fire or electrical hazards
- Chemical hazards
- Pest infestation
- Structural hazards
- Building code violations
If your home inspection report notes issues in those areas, it is the responsibility of the seller to fix them.
Tips for Successfully Making Requests for Repairs After a Home Inspection
When it's time to make repair requests, you’ll generally want to focus on the bigger-picture items. Remember that sellers are on their way out of the home (they may already have a new one), and they probably don’t want to put much time or cash into a property they’re just about to leave. They may also be on a tight timeline.
Here are some general tips for making repair requests as a homebuyer.
Consider Which Repairs the Seller Should Handle
Remember that the sellers will be responsible for any repairs that are crucial to health and safety. But beyond that, how can you know what types of repairs to ask for?
If you're not sure, you can always ask your real estate agent. They should be able to help by letting you know what typically happens in your local market.
Keep in mind that sellers don’t have to agree to any repair requests. In fact, if it’s a seller’s market, and there are a lot of buyers vying for the property, a seller may reject the requests altogether.
Consider asking the seller to pay for a home warranty. Home warranties cover major defects for a year and provide added peace of mind.
Determine What Is a Need and What Is a Want
While there might be a lot of changes you'd like to make to the home, take a step back. Read through the inspection report, and begin to separate out what is a need and what is a want.
Needs are things that must be addressed during the homebuying process to ensure the house is safe and habitable. Wants are things that can probably wait a while—like a new water heater.
It's not a great idea to make repair requests for items that could have been easily noticed during your initial walk-through of the home, such as cracked sidewalks, a bad paint job, or uneven floors.
Get Relevant Quotes and Estimates
When making decisions about repairs, it's a good idea to get a variety of quotes from experts to get an estimate on costs. Your real estate agent can likely point you toward reputable businesses in your area.
Whether the seller ends up making the repairs or you do as the buyer, knowing what to expect from a cost perspective can help.
Approach the Requests for Repairs Carefully
When it comes time to make repair requests, approach the sellers carefully. Keep in mind that they may not have been aware of the repairs that need to be made. They are not required to cover anything that isn't mandatory from a safety perspective.
Being respectful when requesting repairs from the sellers can go a long way.
Know When To Walk Away
Keep in mind that the seller is not responsible for covering every single repair request you may have. But if they are refusing to cover the costs of important repairs—such as electrical hazards or pest infestation—it may be time to walk away from the sale. You deserve a safe place to live, and if the seller isn't willing to give you that, it's likely best to look elsewhere.
It also may be time to walk away if the home inspection report reveals an extreme number of hidden problems. You didn't know about these issues when you agreed to purchase the home, so you may be able to exit the agreement if you have a home inspection contingency.
A home inspection contingency is a clause in the purchase agreement that allows the buyer to back out of the sale if necessary due to the results of the inspection report.
Understanding Cash Credit vs. Repair
Sometimes, buyers are better off asking for cash credit on a repair item instead of asking the seller to replace or repair something. The seller has no vested interest in the home after it's sold, and they might not hire the most qualified contractor or do the repair in a manner that's satisfactory to the buyer.
Sellers may have different aesthetic tastes and standards from yours. If it’s important to you to have something repaired or updated a certain way, you may want to wait and handle it yourself.
Ask your lender whether a cash credit is allowed before asking for one, and work with your agent to determine the best strategy for working with the home’s sellers. The current market, the condition of the home, and the exact sellers you’re working with will all play roles.
If the credit is approved, it can work in a few different ways. The seller may pay some of the buyer's closing costs, so the savings can be used to make repairs, or the credit can be included in the final sales cost, which gives the buyers more time to pay off the repairs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a cash credit?
A cash credit is a way a home seller can pay for home repairs for the buyer without actually having the work done themselves. They may apply the credit to the final sale price or pay some of the buyer's closing costs so that money can be used for repairs.
What do you do if the seller refuses to make the requested repairs?
The right way to handle a seller who won't make requested repairs depends on the type of repairs they are refusing. If they refuse to make mandatory safety repairs, you can walk away from the purchase contract. If the repairs are more cosmetic, you may need to make them yourself.
Are any repairs mandatory to make?
Some types of repairs are mandatory for sellers to make after a home inspection. These include issues related to safety, such as structural damage, mold, and fire code violations.
Is cash credit for repairs a good idea?
Seller credit for repairs often benefits both sellers and buyers. It helps sellers move forward with selling their home without having to spend time making repairs on a property they are leaving. And it helps buyers make the repairs they want and need, in the way they want.
Inspections are an important way that buyers protect themselves on the purchase of a property. If there are problems with the home found through inspections, the seller and buyer may negotiate repairs or the buyer may be able to cancel the deal.How do you negotiate a problem after a home inspection? ›
- Hire an experienced real estate agent. ...
- Only focus on the major repairs. ...
- Opt for a credit or price reduction instead. ...
- Think long term. ...
- Provide supporting documents. ...
- Ask for a home warranty. ...
- Be reasonable.
- Dead trees. ...
- Trip hazards. ...
- Appliances not working. ...
- Plumbing, sewage and septic problems. ...
- Electrical hazards. ...
- Fire hazards. ...
- Pest or wildlife infestation. ...
- Asbestos, radon and lead paint.
- Discover What the Seller Wants. The first thing to do as the buyer's agent is to discover what it is that the sellers want. ...
- Be Willing to Waive Contingencies. ...
- Come to The Table Prepared. ...
- Offer the Seller a Rent-Back. ...
- Get Creative Connections and Expertise.
Inspections are an important way that buyers protect themselves on the purchase of a property. If there are problems with the home found through inspections, the seller and buyer may negotiate repairs or the buyer may be able to cancel the deal.When should a buyer walk away from a house negotiation? ›
If the seller does not agree to lower their asking price following a low appraisal, it is best to walk away. Third, if any of the paperwork reveals any suspicious ownership of the home, then the buyer should walk away.What is a reasonable negotiation on a house? ›
In a buyer's market, it can be reasonable to offer as much as 20% under the asking price if the home requires extensive repairs, such as replacing the roof or if there are foundation issues. Offers of 5 – 19% under price are also acceptable depending on the need for remodeling or upgraded appliances.Do home inspectors always find something wrong? ›
An inspection will always find a problem with a home. Even new home constructions will have minor issues that need to be addressed. Not about getting all the fixes done. No seller is going to fix everything for you.How do you know if your house need to repair? ›
5 Signs Your Home Needs Repairs
- Leaking Roof. ...
- Old Flooring. ...
- Paint Starts To Chip And Looks Dingy. ...
- Walls Start Getting Cracks. ...
- Your Home Feels Too Empty Or Too Packed.
According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, sitting silently for at least three seconds during a difficult moment in a negotiation, confrontation, or even conversation makes both people more deliberative -- and leads to better outcomes.
- Make a List of Necessary Improvements. ...
- Explain Any Issues with the Location. ...
- Provide Pricing for Comparable Homes in the Area. ...
- Consider the Seller's Reasons for Selling.
Which of the following is TRUE if the buyer finds problems during an inspection? The buyer can send a request to ask the seller for the repairs.What does a buyer normally do after reading the inspection report? ›
After the inspection, a home buyer will review the inspection report to determine whether they want to purchase the house. If the damage is extensive, the buyer can choose to cancel the sale entirely, or they can enter negotiations with the seller.What information or phrases should be avoided in a written inspection report? ›
Inspection reports should have substance rather than just verbose wording. It is important not to lose track of what is observation, hearsay, fact, or opinion when it comes time to write the report. Reports should be as specific as possible, and ambiguity should be avoided.When should you walk away from a house? ›
Buyers should consider walking away from a deal if document preparation for closing highlights potential problems. Some deal breakers include title issues that put into question the true owner of the property. Or outstanding liens, or money the seller still owes on the property.Who keeps earnest money if deal falls through? ›
If the buyer can't close for any reason, the contract is breached and the seller can keep the earnest money deposit.Is it normal for a buyer to do a final walk through? ›
When you're buying a house and you're nearly at the finish line, you'll get to do a final walkthrough home inspection of your property before closing day. The final walkthrough is your chance to make sure everything is in order and that your new home is ready for you.How much is too much to ask for in negotiation? ›
But the tactic has an upper limit. Their research found that asking for any range that would be more than 25% did not produce better results. Taking the Paysa survey and the Columbia Business School survey results together, it might make the most sense to consider negotiating for an increase in pay between 5-10%.How much is too much to negotiate? ›
Start with a figure that's no more than 10-20% above their initial offer. Remember, you're applying for entry level, and you shouldn't expect something on the higher range. Consider negotiating lower if 10-20% places you above the average.Is it okay to offer below asking price? ›
As a home buyer, you have every right to offer less than the asking price if you feel it's too high. On the other hand, the seller has every right to reject your offer, if they feel it's too low. So be sure to do your homework and tread carefully.
Utility Flag Marking Cheatsheet.
|Red||Electrical utilities like power lines|
|Pink||Temporary survey markings|
|Yellow||Gas lines like petroleum, steam|
PINK – Temporary Survey Markings. WHITE – Proposed Excavation.What are red flags from home inspector? ›
Key points. Having a home inspected before you buy it is very important. There are certain red flags to look for during the inspection. These include mold, water leaks, and foundation damage.What fixes are mandatory after a home inspection in Massachusetts? ›
What Fixes Are Mandatory After A House Inspection? Legally speaking, there are no “mandatory” repairs. The seller can't be forced to fix anything that comes up on the house inspection report, but the buyer can back out if the seller won't budge on the necessary repairs.What should you repair first in a house? ›
- Plumbing problems. Water damage caused by plumbing problems is serious since it can lead to mold and dry rot. ...
- Dated electrical. ...
- Heating, ventilation, and AC issues. ...
- Roof problems. ...
- Foundation flaws. ...
- Lack of modern safety features. ...
- Kitchens. ...
Fixing major systems
When you first buy a home, check to ensure all of its major systems, like heating, cooling and electricity, are working properly. “They don't have to be perfect, but if one is operable, address that issue first,” Shrauner says.
1. Patch holes in walls. Seeing walls with holes—even small holes left by nails—is an immediate turnoff to home buyers, says Sarah Fishburne, director of trend and design at The Home Depot. But you don't have to repaint your entire house to have your home looking fresh again.What should you not say during negotiation? ›
"No" and other negative words
"You want to continuously improve your situation throughout the negotiation and you do that by avoiding negative language and focusing on positive language. Instead of “No, that doesn't work for me." (two negative words) you can say, "I would be more comfortable with..." (positive words).
These golden rules: Never Sell; Build Trust; Come from a Position of Strength; and Know When to Walk Away should allow you as a seller to avoid negotiating as much as possible and win.What is the 80 20 rule in negotiation? ›
Most people succeed or fail in a negotiation based on how well-prepared they are (or are not!). We adhere to the 80/20 rule – 80% of negotiation is preparation and 20% is the actual negotiation with the other party.
From these patterns of communication, five distinct negotiation styles have emerged: competing, collaborating, compromising, accommodating, and avoiding. Negotiators often fall into one or more of these five styles whether they are trying to reach an agreement or resolve a conflict with multiple parties.What is soft negotiation? ›
Most people know of only two ways to negotiate, either soft or hard. The soft negotiator wants to keep peace and readily makes concessions to avoid or resolve conflicts. The hard negotiator sees conflict as a battle in which the person who takes the most extreme position and holds out fares better.What is the #1 trait of a good negotiator? ›
Emotional intelligence tops the list. Although there are hundreds of books about how to negotiate more effectively, the advice they offer is often difficult to apply, for three reasons.What is an insulting real estate offer? ›
A lowball offer, or an offer price that's significantly lower than the listing price, is often rejected by sellers who feel insulted by the buyers' disregard for their property.What should you not say when selling a house? ›
Sellers should never discuss things like price, why they are selling, problems with the home, other offers, or closing with buyers. Anything said to a buyer's agent should be considered said to the buyer and may be used during negotiations.Why do sellers ignore your offer? ›
The Offer Was Too Low
Most sellers won't acknowledge an offer that's 10% less than the market value. It's insulting to them, and they don't want to deal with the back and forth of a counteroffer. Some sellers may even be offended by the lowball offer like you are trying to take advantage of them.
- #1. Septic systems. ...
- #2. Ice dams. ...
- #3. Internal leaks. ...
- #4. Internal structural damage. ...
- #5. Chimney issues. ...
- #6. Electrical. ...
- #7. Blocked sewer lines. ...
- #8. Heat exchanger.
- Bias. The term "bias" is defined as a prejudgment or predisposition. ...
- Fatigue. This one is pretty self-explanatory. ...
- Flinching. ...
- Distraction. ...
- Environment. ...
- Poor Time Management. ...
- Poor Communication. ...
- Lack of knowledge/Skills.
A material defect is a specific issue with a system or component of a residential property that may have a significant, adverse impact on the value of the property, or that poses an unreasonable risk to people.Why is escrow 30 days? ›
A: A "typical" escrow is 30 days. That gives the title company time to pull up the title report and search for any liens, easements, lawsuits or other clouds on title. There are three other things that determine how quickly escrow closes, and these are on the buyer's side.
As a seller, it's common to get nervous during the home inspection process. You don't want the deal to fall through, nor do you want to be stuck with the cost and burden of repairs if your buyer requests them as a contingency. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prepare for the inspection.What are three things which should be included in the report? ›
- Title page.
- Table of contents.
- Executive summary.
Explanation: A report must never be based on personal prejudices and misplaced learning. It must be objective. It highlights the significance of the facts.What are the 5 things that you need to consider in writing a report? ›
- 5 Step Guide to Report Writing.
- Read the brief/terms of reference carefully. The brief should tell you: ...
- Plan each section. ...
- Relate findings to background research. ...
- Put yourself in the position of the reader. ...
- Edit ruthlessly and proofread.
- Review the report with your real estate agent. ...
- Prioritize repairs by cost and severity. ...
- Don't sweat the small stuff. ...
- Request concessions for major items. ...
- Get quotes from contractors. ...
- Take the market into consideration. ...
- Know what “as-is” means.
There are typically two major dates in home buying: the inspection period (sometimes called a due diligence period or something similar) and the closing date. Both of these can be used in negotiations. A seller might be interested in closing as soon as possible or perhaps needs extra time to find a new place to live.How do you counter a house offer? ›
You can increase your asking price by enough to still get as high as your list price after paying the buyer's closing costs. If your list price is $200,000, and the buyer offers $190,000 with $6,000 toward closing, you would counter with something between $196,000 and $206,000, with $6,000 for closing costs.Should you negotiate home improvements? ›
Knowing how to save money on your home improvement projects is always a good idea. That's why it's essential to ask for at least three to four bids before deciding on the price you're willing to pay for the project. When you gather estimates, you can always negotiate the cost of the project with any contractor.What is a counter offer after home inspection? ›
If your home inspection report indicates issues, you can come up with a counter-offer. This counter-offer should take into account necessary repairs and their cost. Be sure to balance your desired price with the asking price, so your offer is not rejected. Work with your realtor on any counter-offer.How do you ask for a price reduction? ›
- Use a positive tone. It's important you keep a positive tone throughout your negotiation letter. ...
- Compliment the supplier. ...
- Explain your perspective. ...
- Request a discount. ...
- Set clear terms. ...
- Hint at an incentive. ...
- Choose a date for a response. ...
- Get to know your supplier.
Armed with an appraisal report that sets a lower value on the property than the accepted offer, the buyer can choose to either cough up the extra money at the closing, walk away from the deal and get their deposit back or renegotiate the price with the seller.Can you negotiate again after accepting the offer? ›
Treat negotiating a salary after accepting a job offer with great caution. If you are prepared to be open, honest and allow your new employer to see you are being reasonable, it may make them feel more open to enter back into negotiations if they have such bandwidth.What is a normal due diligence? ›
A due diligence check involves careful investigation of the economic, legal, fiscal and financial circumstances of a business or individual. This covers aspects such as sales figures, shareholder structure and possible links with forms of economic crime such as corruption and tax evasion.What comes after due diligence? ›
To summarize, once due diligence is over, the buyer has three options: Continue forward and close the deal. Back out of the transaction. "Re-Trade,” or renegotiate the purchase price.What is not a smart way to negotiate when buying a home? ›
“Don't think by lowballing the offer right out of the gate you'll be able to get a steal,” she says. In fact, there's a good chance if you come in too low, the sellers will flat-out reject the offer without even trying to negotiate with you.Why would a seller not counter offer? ›
Seller Rejected Offer Without Counter
Typically, when a seller rejects your offer they come back with a counteroffer to potentially negotiate a deal what works better for them. If your offer is rejected without counter, it might mean that your offer was too low to be considered by the seller.
What happens when a buyer rejects a counter offer? A counter offer legally voids the buyer's original offer. It typically releases them from any legal obligation they had towards the original contract, and there's nothing you can do should they choose to reject your offer.Do contractors expect you to negotiate? ›
Remember to treat the contractor as an ally who can help you lower costs if any figures are too high. They want your business just as much as you want their help. So if you're open with them about cost concerns, they should try to meet you halfway. The costs of some home renovations fluctuate seasonally.How to negotiate home improvements? ›
When negotiating the cost of home improvements, it helps to start off with a solid idea of what you want to pay. Be honest about your budget, and your contractor will do his or her best to complete the project accordingly. If they can't meet your price exactly, then you can examine where some cost savings lie.Can I negotiate with a house painter? ›
A: Yes, you can negotiate with a contractor; the trick is doing it without making it feel like a negotiation.