How to Successfully Negotiate Home Repairs when Buying a Home
As a home buyer, getting a home inspection is one of the best ways to determine if the home you are purchasing is structurally sound and that all systems are operating properly. A home inspection may also uncover minor defects and a list of items that can easily be repaired. The next step for the home buyer is to review the report and decide how they want to proceed with the transaction.
The purchase contract is almost always contingent on the results of the inspection report. This means that a buyer can terminate the agreement without penalty if they are not comfortable with the condition of the home. In most cases, the buyer and seller are able to negotiate a reasonable way to resolve these issues. The resolution is usually in the form of a seller credit or the seller will make the necessary repairs to the home before the official close of escrow.
Our Top Tips for Negotiating Repairs After the Home Inspection
This is a list of our top tips for successfully negotiating repairs after the home inspection is completed.
1. Careful Review of the Inspection Report
Inspection reports are often very lengthy and contain a wealth of information about the home. It is highly recommended that you review the report with your Realtor®. They will guide you through the report and point out the issues the inspector discovered. Your agent can also add valuable context to the inspector’s findings.
2. Focus on the Major Issues
It is easy for homebuyers to become overwhelmed by the home inspector’s findings. The report may have a lengthy list of suggested corrections, both major and minor. From the full list of defects, make your own list that prioritizes which issues are most important for you to have corrected. Identify any defects that are “dealbreakers” that would cause you to terminate the transaction if they aren’t resolved. Focus on negotiating a resolution for those high-priority items and dealbreakers.
3. Be Flexible
Beyond the deal-breakers, there may be defects and damages that the sellers may not agree to correct. In many (if not most) cases, it is best to let minor issues slide in the interest of successfully negotiating repairs for the larger issues. Consider the bigger picture and try to be flexible in regard to the outcome of the request for repairs.
4. Negotiate the Most Sensible Terms
The process of negotiating the request for repairs can be stressful for both the homebuyer and the home seller. Both parties will have their own understanding of what terms will work best for them. It will be in your best interest to negotiate a resolution that works well for both parties. This may involve agreeing to accept a credit for repairs from the seller or negotiating a list of repairs that the seller will complete before the close of escrow.
6. Take the market into consideration
Are you shopping in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market? In the case of a seller’s market, be wary of asking too much or being too nitpicky. If the seller received multiple offers, for example, then you don’t have much leverage when asking for an abundance of repairs. If you’re in a buyer’s market, you may have the leverage to negotiate more aggressively.
The bottom line
Do your best to negotiate objectively and rely on your real estate agent to provide full context about the inspection report, the request for repairs process, and the state of the local market. Being armed with this information will allow you to properly negotiate a resolution that works for both parties. If you are unable to come to an agreement, you have the ability to back out of the deal and recoup your earnest money without penalty.