Buying a home is a big investment. You should know its condition beyond what the naked eye can see. A realtor has limitations regarding what he or she can tell even with his or her expertise. You need an inspection report for the full story. The home inspector evaluates the home’s condition and provides an inspection report that states all of the home’s issues.
Does the seller have to fix every problem the home inspection report includes? Nope. Can you request that the seller make changes? You can, but you should limit your requests. If your requests get too crazy, you may lose the sale.
Keep reading to learn which reasonable requests you should consider.
Stick to Major Issues
Repairs you can fix yourself or for relatively little money aren’t worth haggling. Other issues, especially structural, mechanical, or environmental issues, though should be addressed.
A few examples include:
- Pest infestation or damage
- Water problems, especially leaks
- Water damage, especially if there is mold
- High radon levels
- Any safety issues, especially electrical and plumbing issues
- Any lead paint
- Leaking roof
- Cracked foundation
- Building code violations
This list is just a sampling of what you can ask a seller. Try keeping your list minimal, only asking for major changes that affect the home’s value or function.
Do Sellers Have to Fix Everything the Inspector Finds Wrong?
State laws don’t require that sellers fix every issue found in a home inspection. It depends on the lender and loan program. Typically, lenders have an issue with structural problems, safety issues, and building code violations. The appraiser won’t pass the home’s appraisal, which means no mortgage approval. Major issues in these categories need fixing. All other issues, though, are up for grabs.
Whether or not sellers must fix the issues depend on two factors:
- The state of the market – If it’s a buyer’s market, sellers may fix more issues so they don’t lose the sale. Sellers know buyers have their pick of available homes. In a seller’s market, though, sellers have the upper hand. With fewer homes available, buyers may buy the home without the requested repairs.
- The contract’s language –Watch the contract’s language before you sign it. If you agree to buy the home ‘as is,’ the seller won’t fix anything. You agree to buy the home in its current condition. If instead, you have an inspection contingency, you can cancel the contract without penalty if you don’t like the contents of the home inspection report.
How do you Negotiate After a Home Inspection?
Once you have the home inspection report, you decide what bothers you the most. Next, ask yourself how you want to proceed. Who should oversee the repairs? If it’s something big, but not big enough to harm your mortgage, consider making the repairs yourself. On the other hand, if you can’t get financing because of the issues, you may not have a choice.
You have two options:
- Ask the seller for a credit – You handle the repairs, but the seller provides the funds.
- Ask the seller to make the repairs – You let the seller handle the repairs and inspect the work before you close.
If you let the seller make the repairs, you risk the work’s integrity. Do you trust that the seller will do a good job? Will the seller do the work himself or hire a contractor? Who will inspect the work when it’s done?
Can you Back Out of a Sale After the Home Inspection?
Only certain buyers can back out of a sale after the home inspection – those that put a home inspection contingency on the contract. Your attorney will help you decide if this is a good idea. If you do and the inspection report contains information you don’t like, you can back out of the contract. If you don’t have a contingency, though, you could lose your earnest money if you back out of the contract.
Use common sense when choosing your repair requests after a home inspection. Do your research. Are you in a buyer’s or seller’s market? Remember, you may lose the sale if you ask for too much. Buying an existing home means buying a home with issues. Keep that in mind as you make your decisions.