A home inspection report will highlight a list of home repair issues needing attention before you complete the purchase transaction.
Regardless of whether the house you want to buy is a new construction or decades old, you will always need to make a request for repairs.
Repairs can run the gamut from major plumbing or electrical issues to minor tile chips or floor scratches.
Keep in mind that it is unlikely that the sellers will repair the tens (or hundreds) of line items on your fix-it wish list.
Therefore, it is important for a buyer to have clear and reasonable expectations when making home repair requests.
Leverage Home Repair in Your Favor
Let them hear it from a pro: hire a professional, experienced home inspector to fully inspect the home you have your eye on.
Aside from determining whether the house is in good enough shape for you to invest your hard earned money in it, having an official inspection report will give you an edge at the negotiation table.
Telling the seller you want the porch repaired because it feels shaky will not hold weight unless a professional home inspector submits a report about the porch’s structural damage.
Each Home Repair is Not Equal to the Next
If the home repair is relatively minor in cost or a non-safety issue, it may not be worth making an issue over it. Valid buyer repair requests are generally significant issues uncovered by a thorough home inspection.
Any items obvious when you initially look at the house—like cracked sidewalks or peeling paint—should be stipulated in the purchase offer and not requested as a home repair later in the process.
Common Home Repair Requests
Here are some items commonly found on buyers’ home repair lists, although sellers may or may not be willing to fix them:
-Upgrading ungrounded electrical wiring if the house was built before the 1960s
-Replacing old-style galvanized water pipes or any leaking pipes
-Making roof repairs
-Changing disintegrating sewer pipes
-Upgrading heating/cooling systems and water heaters
Required Home Repair Items
Items a seller must fix are these:
-Any water penetration issues, such as a wet basement or moldy walls
-Local code safety violations, such as missing handrails or an unstable deck
In addition, any repairs listed on the appraisal report must be fixed.
For example, if a structural problem was noted on the appraisal, a lender may not be willing to release funds to the buyer until that home repair is made.
In many cases, the seller may opt to offer you a cash credit for the cost of the repair, rather than taking the time to have it repaired themselves.
This is actually in the buyer’s favor, as the seller no longer has a vested interest in ensuring the job will be done right.