So your Dream Home has a few flaws?
Here’s what you can do if the seller won’t make repairs after the inspection.
House hunting can be an arduous process (especially in a seller’s market!). This home is too small, that one is out of your budget, and the one you thought was perfect has a few too many defects.
If your realtor hasn’t told you this already, you are well within your rights to ask the seller to correct any known issues before you close. But sellers are just as entitled to say “no.”
So what do you do when the seller won’t make repairs after an inspection?
In this article, I’ll give you your options and explain why taking care of repairs yourself isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Identify Your Deal Breakers
When you receive the inspection report, make sure you read it carefully. I always write my reports in layman’s terms, but if you don’t understand the jargon, you can always ask your inspector to clarify.
In all my years as a Master home inspector, I have yet to see a house in “perfect” condition—yes, even new construction has flaws! And it’s important to note that not everything on the inspection report is an indication that the house poses a health or safety risk.
Some things are merely cosmetic issues, such as peeling wallpaper or old carpeting. Others are simple DIY projects that would cost less than $100 to fix.
Others are a bit more problematic. If the home needs a new roof or has an extensive termite problem, you will have to decide for yourself whether or not it’s a deal breaker. Your realtor can help guide you in this area.
It is extremely common to negotiate based on what was discovered in the inspection.
If the seller won’t make repairs after the inspection, this means that you will have to pay for the repairs yourself. Now, if all you need to do is replace a few lightbulbs, that’s not a big deal. But if you’ll need to replace the roof or get all new windows, you’ll probably want the price reduced to compensate.
This is why I always say that your realtor is the most important person in real estate. Your home inspector is an expert on the condition of the home, but your realtor is an expert on how much homes are worth. S/he can help you determine a fair asking price based on the home’s condition.
As annoying as it seems as a potential buyer, major flaws on an inspection report can actually give you the upper hand. If you walk away from the property, the seller is now obligated to tell other prospective buyers about the home’s “material defects.” This means that their home just went down in value!
Of course, your ability to negotiate all depends on whether it’s a seller’s market or a buyer’s market.
If it’s a buyer’s market, it’ll be much easier for you to get a lower asking price and set a closing date. In a seller’s market, however, there might be hundreds of buyers out there who are willing to buy a fixer-upper.
As long as your initial offer was contingent on the inspection, you are always permitted to walk away from the property and keep looking for a home that better fits your needs.
Pay For Repairs Yourself
Ultimately, it’s no big deal if the seller won’t make repairs after the inspection.
If asked to make repairs as a result of an inspection report, some sellers may be motivated to finish the job as quickly and cheaply as possible. They are free to hire an inexperienced contractor with the lowest bid or even do the repair themselves to save some money.
Don’t allow yourself to be victimized by their penny pinching!
In my opinion, it’s far better to negotiate a fair price and look for your own repair professionals. That way, you can vet them for quality and experience, so that you know the job is done right.
What’s uncovered in the inspection can make or break your house hunting experience.
Ultimately, that’s why hiring an experienced, knowledgeable home inspector is so important. You need to be able to trust the accuracy of the home inspection, and that starts with vetting the qualifications of your inspector.
Occasionally, a seller won’t make repairs after the inspection, but even if you are able to talk them into it, you’ll want to make sure a qualified inspector checks the work afterward.
At EDC Home Inspections, we pride ourselves on quality, accuracy, and attention to detail. Our inspection reports are thorough, accurate, easy-to-read, and our work is covered by a 90-day warranty.