To be totally frank, all houses are going to have some problems—often very minor, occasionally more major. This is true of luxury homes. It’s true of immaculately cared-for homes. It’s even true of new constructions!
That’s why it’s highly recommended that all homebuyers have a home inspection before they close. If the inspection yields major surprises, it can potentially give you a way out of the contract, effectively letting you dodge a bullet. And if it turns up more minor problems, you can use that information to proceed in a more confident and knowledgeable manner.
Indeed, homebuyers naturally want to know of any potential repair needs before they sign on the dotted line. What’s more, you can actually use the results of the home inspection to bargain down the home’s price. Or, you can negotiate for the seller to make the repairs for you, before you move in—meaning you won’t have to worry about those issues as you settle into your new residence.
Bargaining After the Home Inspection
Here’s what you should know about the post-inspection bargaining process.
First and foremost, be judicious in the repair requests that you make. Most sellers are going to be perfectly willing to make some home improvements, but it’s not realistic to assume that you can give them a list of 100 little odd jobs and they’ll do every last one of them. Rather, choose your battles. If it’s a small cosmetic issue that you can easily fix yourself, don’t ask the seller to do it. Instead, provide them with a shorter list that’s focused on cosmetic and systemic issues.
Second, know the law! There are some home repairs that homeowners are actually required to make. These include both violations of local building codes as well as water penetration issues. So, for instance, if there is a leak in the basement, you should always ask the seller to make the needed repair; they are required by law to do so for any buyer. If you’re unclear about any of this, your agent can brief you on local laws and codes.
Provide data. Saying “I think there’s a leak in the roof” probably isn’t going to motivate your seller to make any changes. However, if you provide them with a report from the home inspector, showing them photos of the specific place where the leak was spotted, that’s far more compelling.
Remember that you can always ask for repair credits, as well. If you’re concerned that the seller is only going to find the cheapest possible contractor and do a so-so job on the repairs, you can ask them to provide you with a little financial wiggle-room so that you can coordinate the work yourself.
Along the same lines, understand that some sellers may be in such a hurry to move that they really don’t have time to make repairs—and in those cases, it’s reasonable to ask them to come down on the price, allowing you the resources to have the repairs made.
Remember, all this room for negotiation is possible only when you have a professional home inspection made—so don’t skip over this critical step in the home buying process.
Whether you’re ready to look at homes, hire an inspector, or talk about the negotiation process, Ryan Minges Real Estate is here to help. Reach out to our Charlotte-based real estate office at your next convenience.