Home Inspections, Part 2: Negotiating for Repairs

Here’s what you need to know about negotiating for repair requests.

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So you’ve gone through the home inspection and received the report back. To your surprise, the document is upwards of 40 pages long! Really, the number of pages in the report comes down to what software the inspector used to create it, so don’t worry too much. It’s important to know that in this report, you'll inevitably find something wrong with the house. 

If you’re buying the house as is, you’ve already made a promise to the seller that you won’t ask them to do any repairs and give any credits. In this case, the inspection is just a way for you to check out the product and ultimately decide if you want to buy it.

In isolated incidences, we recommend our buyers to talk to the seller if they’re planning to walk away from the transaction otherwise. For example, if the radon levels in the house are too high such that you’ll walk away if it isn’t addressed, the seller might be willing to fix it for you (especially knowing that radon is a huge health risk).

If you’re not buying the house as is, the spirit of the contract in Illinois and Indiana is to focus on things that affect health and safety as it relates to negotiating for repairs from the seller. For example, if the seller discloses that the foundation leaks some when it rains, and the inspector points out that fact, that’s not really a reason to cancel the contract, and you shouldn’t ask the seller to fix it since you were already aware of the fact before the inspection. However, if the inspector finds a major issue with foundational flooding that the seller didn’t already disclose, you could then decide to negotiate or walk away.

Negotiations between buyers and sellers are a bit of a dance, but with the right agent, right approach, and mindset, you can usually do pretty well.

We recommend to our clients to pick five to seven serious repairs to address with the seller. Once you do, we’ll make our best case to the seller. One motivation for the seller to take care of these things is that if you walk away, the next buyer will also find these issues and will likely address them as well. They may as well take care of them now for the buyer (you) who is offering them a price they like.

However, don’t come to the seller with a laundry list of minor repairs that don’t relate to health or safety. We have had very stubborn buyers who approached their sellers with lists of 40 items. The sellers’ responses were for the buyer to come back with more reasonable requests.

As of the most recent iteration of the contract, the seller now has the unilateral ability to cancel the contract if they don’t like the repair requests. Them dropping the contract altogether over repairs is more likely in the case of an as-is purchase, since you’ve agreed to buy the home in its current condition.

Negotiations between buyers and sellers are a bit of a dance, but with the right real estate agent, right approach, and an open mind, you can usually do pretty well with inspection requests.

If you have any questions about inspections or negotiating for repairs, or if you’re simply interested in beginning the home purchase process, give us a call or send an email. We’d love to help you.

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