How To Negotiate After A Home Inspection – A Guide For Prospective Home Buyers

After viewing homes, dealing with preapprovals, and reviewing paperwork, the last thing you or the seller want is for the home buying deal to fall through because of the results of the home inspection. As a general rule, almost every home inspection will find at least a handful of things, and no house will come back with an entirely clean bill of health. Even though there will always be something to fix, not all repairs can be expected to be the responsibility of the seller. Knowing how – and what – to negotiate after a home inspection will save you lots of time and headaches down the line, and help your negotiations with the seller go as smoothly as possible. This guide will prepare you for the negotiation process, as well as identify the most common repairs needed after a home inspection so you know what you can expect.

One thing to keep in mind that, as a buyer, your negotiation power is directly proportional to the current state of the real estate market. In a seller’s market you can expect to have less negotiating power than you would otherwise, and you will need to be more flexible in your negotiations. Before approaching the seller for repair negotiations after the home inspection, consult with your real estate agent to see if your expectations match the current state of the market.

how to negotiate after home inspection

Know What To Expect

As mentioned earlier, no home will ace a home inspection. All homes have at least a handful of necessary repairs, and most likely your home inspector will come back with a multi-page report. Don’t be alarmed when you’re presented with a lengthy report after the inspection. Instead, take your time to review the report and understand which of the outlined problems are major and which are a quick fix. The most common problems that you’re likely to see are:

Structural Problems – These include faulty foundations, improper grading, and termite damage.

Roof Problems – Most commonly deterioration of roofing materials, but also structural issues that manifest themselves in a bowing roof.

Plumbing Problems – Including improper drainage, issues with water pressure, leaks.

Code Violations – Any addition to the home must be up to code, and may pose a safety risk if it was not built up to code.

Electrical Issues – Including broken outlets, overloaded circuits, or exposed wires. Many electrical issues can pose a serious fire hazard if neglected.

Some of these are easier fixes than others, and it’s best to consult with your home inspector regarding the problems they’ve found and what repairs are recommended.
how to negotiate repairs after a home inspection

Know What’s Worth Negotiating

Once you have the whole picture, you will need to decide which repairs are important, and which you can live with; which are reasonable to request from the seller, and which are not. Your goal when negotiating repairs after a home inspection is to ensure that all major issues are taken care of.

Major issues are issues that will cost a significant amount of money to repair, such as improper grading, a cracked foundation, a sagging roof, and other costly problems. Repairing these issues can run you tens of thousands of dollars on top of your closing costs, mortgage payments, moving costs, and insurance premiums. These costly problems are precisely what you want to address with the seller to ensure that they are taken care of as part of the sale agreement. It’s best to work with your real estate agent to ensure that you are taking the right things to the table.
common repairs needed after home inspection

Know Your Options

After you’ve identified which repairs you want to negotiate with the seller, you’ll need to decide which terms you will accept. You can request that the seller take care of the necessary repairs prior to the sale, which will save you having to pay for and oversee the repairs. With this route, however, you must take into account the fact that the seller is motivated to spend as little money as possible on this repair so as to not cut into their bottom line. The fact that the seller has no interest in paying for the highest quality materials and workmanship could mean that you find yourself having to redo the repair sooner rather than later.

Another option is to request a discount on the sale price, which you can then use to fund the repairs. Of course, this also means you will need to do your own research regarding repair costs, and be responsible for overseeing the repairs. This route may be worth it if you’re willing to put in the effort and time, but make sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew. On top of a move and the process of closing on a home, it may be a bit too much to take on in one go.

Finally, you have the option of a home warranty from the seller. This is a guarantee, usually for a year after the sale, that the specified repairs will be funded by the seller.

negotiating home inspection repairs

Know When To Walk Away

Sometimes, despite the best intentions, you will not be able to reach a satisfactory agreement with the seller. If you find that the seller is not willing to work with you, it may be time to cut your losses and walk away. On the other hand, after the inspection you may find that the home requires so many costly repairs that it may not even be worth buying. Take the time to consider your options, and allow yourself to walk away if you don’t feel 100% confident with the state of the home and the terms of the sale.