So you’ve found a home that meets your needs, you’ve put in an offer and it’s been accepted now comes the inspection. Before closing you should always get an inspector to inspect the home so you know exactly what you’re buying. Sometimes there may be defects you can’t see or that have been covered over. So to avoid any complications when you move, carry out an inspection.
If the inspection does uncover some defects on the property it doesn’t mean you should walk away from the sale. On the contrary now is the time to negotiate with a seller and ask for repairs. So as a buyer what should you ask for and expect during this process.
What Repair Requests Can Be Made After a Home Inspection?
Structural Defects and Cosmetic Issues
Structural defects found during a home inspection are the responsibility of the seller and must be fixed. In addition the following issues should also be fixed by the seller:
- Water penetration such as mold or wet basement/crawlspace
- Any code and safety violations like unstable decking or missing handrails
Cosmetic issues including things like bold paint choices or peeling paint, nail holes, and other normal wear-and-tear are the responsibility of the buyer, not seller. It has happened on more than one occasion that buyers were too picky and the sellers decided the deal would be too much to accept. Remember you are buying the house, not decorative preferences.
If you’re not entirely sure about the requests you can make and what repairs are the responsibility of the seller, you should ask your REALTOR® as they’re there to help.
“Seller Responsibility” Repair Requests:
Home buyers do have the option of requesting repairs they believe are the seller’s responsibility. These often go beyond obvious structural issues and can commonly include:
- Replacing pipes and fixing leaks
- Replacing galvanized pipes due to lead contaminant, low water pressure, and leaks
- Upgrading wiring in a home built before 1960
- Fixing cracked windows
- Installing new HVAC and/or water heater
In older homes you may encounter ‘tar paper’ pipes or ‘orangeburg sewer pipes’. These sewer lines generally deteriorate over time and can be fixed by the seller. As a buyer you should hire a plumbing professional who specializes in sewer pipes to inspect the system as part of the overall home inspection, especially if you’re buying a older home.
If you encounter additional issues that a seller is unable or unwilling to fix then you can request a repair credit be added to the final contract. Typically, this works best when the repair or issue has a potential cost of more than $500.
Getting A Qualified Inspector
View an Example of a Home Inspection Below:
If you’re going to be requesting repairs as a buyer then it’s best that you get a qualified inspector that understands what they’re doing. Doing this ensures that your requests are taken seriously as they are backed up the expertise and knowledge of a qualified person. Not every state requires home inspectors to have specific certifications or even licensing, so it’s essential to work with your real estate agent when you’re selecting a qualified professional.
Finding and paying for a qualified and independent home inspector is the buyers responsibility, this inspector should have established credentials and preferably belong to a trade association. In most areas however, home inspectors are not licensed so just because they advertise they are an inspector, get some background checks and ask your REALTOR® if they’ve worked with the individual in the past.
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