Negotiating repairs after a home inspection doesn't have to be scary.
Buyer, buying, Home Owner, Sellers, selling

Your Guide to Successfully Negotiating Repairs After a Home Inspection

Searching for the perfect home can be a challenging process, especially in a competitive market. So finding THE ONE is cause for celebration. But before you seal the deal on your new home, you face the critical home inspection and repair negotiation period. As the buyer or seller, negotiating repairs after a home inspection can be simple with some expert tips. 

If you are preparing to sell or buy a home, connect with Julia Monaghan Real Estate today. Julia offers her vast experience and unwavering support to help you achieve your real estate goals. She is passionate about education so that you don’t feel stuck, frustrated, or overwhelmed.

Julia serves clients all over the Portland Metro area, including West Linn, Happy Valley, and Lake Oswego.

How To Begin Negotiating Repairs After a Home Inspection

Once the home inspection is finished, you and your agent should go through the report together. When going over your list of potential repairs, a great tip is to divide them into three categories:

  1. Major problems that could be costly to repair or present safety hazards
  2. Minor cosmetic issues
  3. Repairs that fall in between the first two categories – You’d really like them taken care of, but they don’t impact safety or structural integrity.

Your primary focus should be on the first category: major safety concerns and costly repairs. Our team is adept at helping you determine which repairs are worth negotiating with the seller.

Once you determine what you want to ask the seller to take care of, your agent will handle the talks with the seller’s representative. You don’t need to worry about doing that part.

Must-Do Repairs

Signs of leaks, water damage, or mold growth are big red flags when negotiating repairs after a home inspection.

As you read your inspector’s report, watch for significant red flags that you and your agent must address with the seller. The following concerns in a home inspection warrant careful attention. They may pose health, safety, or structural hazards. 

  • Mold or Water Intrusion – This hazard can cause significant health problems and can be costly to deal with correctly.
  • Home Systems – The furnace, water heater, and air conditioning unit can all be expensive to replace. Pay attention to their age and the inspector’s notes on these items. 
  • Major Plumbing Issues – Take note of any place where the inspector found signs of leaking or water damage.
  • Outdated or Unsafe Wiring and Electrical Work – Almost 30,000 house fires a year are due to faulty wiring.
  • Improperly Performed Renovations – DIY projects the seller or someone else completed need attention. There are potential risks if they didn’t have proper permits and inspections.
  • Termites or Other Infestations – Pests of any kind can create structural and safety problems in a home.
  • Roofing or Foundation Issues – Both of these structural components can be costly to address.
  • Lead Paint, Asbestos, or Elevated Radon Levels – Older homes may have any or all of these safety hazards present. Make sure you understand the risks involved with these situations.
  • Underground Storage Tanks, Cesspools, Old Septic Systems – Many troublesome home issues are out of sight. Literally. Buried systems often warrant separate inspections to avoid costly problems.

Repairs that You Can Probably Overlook

You can usually ignore cosmetic updates when negotiating home repairs.

When you’re buying a house, it can be tempting to ask for all the things when negotiating repairs after a home inspection. After all, you want your home to be as close to perfect as possible, right? 

But the point of these negotiations is to address significant, costly concerns. Smaller issues and cosmetic updates generally don’t come into play when discussing repairs with the seller.

Typically, you should avoid haggling over items like these: 

  • Decorative pieces such as wallpaper, paint, or fixtures
  • Small defects that are easily fixed, like caulking around a sink
  • Old water damage, as long as the inspection didn’t show any wet areas
  • Normal wear and tear, such as a small carpet stain or scratches on the baseboards
  • Landscaping updates

Rely on Your Buyer’s Agent

The first step in negotiating repairs actually comes before the inspection. 

Your realtor should ensure that the offer you submit is contingent on a satisfactory inspection. This precaution protects you and your earnest money in case you can’t come to terms with the seller during repair talks. 

Make sure your contract also requires that, as appropriate, a licensed and insured professional does the work. You want safe, legal repairs.

Sometimes, buyers ask for cash or a sale price reduction instead of asking the seller to complete repairs. Talk with your real estate agent to decide if that option makes sense for your situation. If you choose to go this route, take time to get a few estimates from contractors to guide your negotiations.

What If I Am the Seller?

Typically, the buyer pays for the inspection. But occasionally, sellers pay for a pre-listing home inspection. If you take this step, it allows you to identify any significant problems early, so there are no surprises. 

Sometimes the seller orders a home inspection before listing their house for sale.

You then may choose to make significant repairs before listing the home. This tactic is likely to net you a higher sale price and a shorter time on the market. When selling an older home or in a buyer’s market, being proactive like this can be a huge benefit. 

Talk with your agent to determine if it is prudent to order an inspection before listing the property. And be aware that once you know about them, you must disclose certain defects to the buyer. 

It’s important to note that a pre-listing inspection does not replace the buyer’s inspection. The buyer has the right to hire their own professional, and often the lender may require it. However, it can be useful to compare your report with the buyer’s inspection findings.

Reaching a Successful Negotiation

Remember that typically, the seller is not obligated to agree to repairs. Often, they are unaware of the issues and may be very surprised. When negotiating, it can help to include estimates and your photos. Be sure that you have seller permission before sharing the actual inspection report, however.

Each situation is unique, so your realtor will help you decide the best way to approach this step. As the buyer, be sure not to discuss any remodel or upgrade plans with the seller or their agent since it could affect repair and pricing negotiations.  

If the seller does not agree to the repairs, then you have a decision to make. You can move forward with the purchase anyway, or you can walk away from the deal. 

In some cases, if the damage or needed repairs are too significant, a lender will not approve the mortgage. In this situation, the seller may not have a choice about completing the repairs.

Your lender may require some repairs to approve the loan.

Things to Keep in Mind

The kind of real estate market you’re in will affect negotiations. In a buyer’s market, the seller may have to agree to more repairs to be competitive. But in a seller’s market, there are often multiple offers for a property. Buyers typically ask for fewer repairs in this situation.

In all of your negotiations, the goal is to reach an agreement that benefits both parties. No one wants the sale to fall through, so it’s best to approach this with an open mind and a willingness to compromise. 

An experienced and knowledgeable realtor is your best asset when negotiating repairs after a home inspection. Reach out to Julia Monaghan Real Estate for guidance through all of the challenges and excitement that come with selling or buying a home.  

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