One of the most important parts of the home-buying process is having a professional home inspection performed. Sometimes, the home will receive top marks, with no issues found (or a few minor issues that can be easily fixed). Most of the time, however, there will be some major issues that need to be addressed before you commit to buying the home.
You’ll need to determine which repairs are deal-breakers for you and which ones are negotiable, and your realtor should assume the role of negotiating before closing on the home. Simply put, you don’t want to end up with a home that gives you lots of unexpected problems down the road. This article will discuss some common repairs to consider, as well as how to negotiate them with a seller before you make a purchase.
Major Issues to Address
When a home inspector conducts an inspection of your home, some problems they note are minor or merely cosmetic, and these should not be on the top of your priority list for necessary repairs. However, there are some issues they’ll find that the seller should agree to pay for before you close the deal.
One of the first things you should have checked during the home inspection is the HVAC system to ensure it is working properly. You don’t want it failing six months into owning your new home. If your home inspector suggests that the furnace’s days are numbered, a replacement is in order.
It’s important to understand the costs of a new furnace, however, because there are several different types. With a home system that costs so much money, it’s definitely worth negotiating with the home seller.
Another big problem your inspector will look for is anything that will compromise your home’s structural integrity. The cost of a roof repair, for example, can be much higher if the roof needs replaced. Also, foundation problems (e.g., cracks, slopes, improper soil distribution) are fairly common, and they can cost thousands to fix.
You don’t want to buy a home with plumbing issues, which is why any plumbing issues the inspector finds are a big deal. Whether it’s a dripping faucet, faulty water heater, or drainage problems, most sellers will agree to address it before the sale.
Electrical issues can be minor or major, but in any case, they can compromise the safety and comfort of your household. So, whether the home inspection reveals broken outlets, faulty wiring, or circuit overloads, be sure to bring these issues up.
Minor Issues to Consider
You and your home inspector will likely come across some issues that should be fixed but that you shouldn’t demand from the seller. This primarily includes cosmetic problems, such as a bad paint job, inadequate lighting, an untreated deck, or chips in tile. Feel free to point some of these issues out to your seller, but don’t hand them a long wish list of minor repairs.
How to Negotiate Repairs
You have a few options when it comes to handling repairs before closing on your home purchase. You can ask the seller to have the repairs completed before closing, which relieves you of the responsibility; however, the seller might not be as motivated as you to ensure the repairs are done satisfactorily, especially if they’re wanting to close the deal sooner than later.
Many home buyers prefer to request repair credits or a reduction in the sale price to cover the cost of repairs. That way, you can choose the contractors who do the work. You can also opt to barter certain items to make up for a number of repair costs. This could come in handy if there are particular home furnishings you like that the seller was planning to take with them. Note that if you’re purchasing the house “as is,” you won’t have the opportunity to ask for repair credits or a price reduction on the home.
Make sure you know which repairs are most important to you, and if you aren’t sure, ask the inspector. Remember that any major issues should be addressed before closing and that minor issues shouldn’t be considered a deal-breaker. Once you know what you want, you can determine how to negotiate.