You’ve found a house that is perfect for you and your family in term of location, amenities, and size. The next best step before you buy is to hire a home inspector to look through the house with a fine-tooth comb to find anything wrong with the house. However, the home inspection can be a hot-button issue between the potential buyer and the sellers. Here are some tips to help you deal with home inspections and the sellers. This article works out as a checklist, since the tips flow onto one another.
Choose your battles
When the inspector hands you the results of what they found wrong with the house, it is tempting to give the sellers the list and expect them to fix everything before they sell it to you. Doing so is a great way to hear the seller say “no” and have your negotiations start on the wrong foot. It will be easy for the sellers to fix only the cheapest and easiest projects, potentially leaving you on the hook for the rest. Not every seller will take the low road, but don’t expect them to happily fix every single thing wrong with the house.
Instead, talk to the sellers about the issues that would make you uncomfortable or unhappy to live in the house with. Stick to functional and structural problems. Cosmetic and simple hardware repairs can be fixed after you own the house and can be checked off at your leisure and to your taste.
Know what is and is not required
To further emphasize the first point, you need to know what is required to be repairs before you movie into the house. If you are getting an FHA loan, structural issues and water damage must be fixed so the house is considered structurally sound. Despite this requirement, don’t expect the seller to pick up the tab for these repairs.
However, this does put you in a better position to negotiate. Since the sellers are now aware of these lawfully required fixes, they are legally required to disclose them to any other potential buyers that come along. In order to not have to disclose this information to every subsequent interested buyer, the seller may be more willing to negotiate. This leads to our next tip:
Credits vs repairs
When it comes to negotiating home inspection repairs, there are two ways to approach it: asking the sellers to make the repairs before you move in or asking for a credit on the listing price to free up funds on your end for you to make the repairs after the sale.
For the most part, asking for a credit benefits both parties. For the sellers, they avoid the hassle of overseeing the repairs while also coordinating a move and dealing with closing on the house. The buyers benefit because they get to see the repairs done to their satisfaction with a repairman of their choosing, and they get to move into a house that is safe and structurally sound. Credits also work well if the seller has a time constraint on selling the house.
When is it time to walk away?
As perfect as the house may be, sometimes the number of repairs or the repair cost may be too much for you to deal with. In some cases, you and the seller may not be able to mediate the cost of the repairs versus the cost of the home. As the buyer, you need to be confident and comfortable purchasing a home. If you are neither confident nor comfortable, know that walking away from the deal is an option. If that’s the case, be confident that you will find a home that will suit your needs.