by Natalie Jones


Buying a home is rarely a simple process, and one factor that can make it difficult is negotiating repairs with the seller. Anytime you’re planning to purchase a home, it’s critical to get it inspected for needed repairs. Then, you will need to negotiate those repairs with the seller before you commit to a home with a lot of unaddressed issues.


Unless you’re agreeing to buy the home as-is, there are certain repairs that the seller should definitely cover, as well as ones that will probably not be covered. It’s up to you and your real estate agent to decide which repairs to push for and how to get them done. This article will provide advice on how to go about this process.


Getting the Home Inspected


First things first: You always want to have a home inspected before you sign the papers. A qualified home inspector will be approved by the state and serve as a third party, providing an impartial report of the home’s condition. Pricing for an inspection varies, but Home Advisor notes the national average ranges from $278-$390. No matter what kind of home it is, you can expect the inspector to provide a laundry list of recommended repairs to be made. If it’s a newer home, the list may be quite short. If it’s an older home, there will likely be a number of issues that the inspector brings to light.


Repairs that Should Be Addressed


There are certain problems that shouldn’t be overlooked when buying a home. A failing foundation, weak walls or any other kind of structural damage, for example, should be addressed before you make any commitments. Also, roof problems are serious and can be expensive to fix. A qualified inspector will be able to provide you with a detailed description of any roof issues, as well as determine an estimated age of the roof.


Common signs of problems that a roof may have include:


     Missing shingles

     Cracked or curling shingles

     Leaks in the home

     Mold and algae accumulation


If the inspector gives the roof a poor grade, you would want to discuss the issues with a roofing contractor, who should be able to give you an estimate of the repair or replacement cost. Then, you can take the price to the seller and see if you can work something out. Other major repairs that the seller should cover include electrical, plumbing and HVAC issues.


Repairs You Shouldn’t Expect to Be Covered


Most other, less serious repairs that show up in the inspector’s report are best to leave alone and fix yourself once the home is yours. This includes any cosmetic fixes, such as paint defects, stained flooring, holes in the walls and cracked tiles. It also includes any repair that would cost less than $100. It’s better to handle these types of repairs yourself rather than annoy the seller by adding to the overall repair costs.


Negotiating the Costs


Once you’ve determined which repairs to request of the seller, you’ll be ready to work out the details, such as negotiating the price of the repairs and how the repairs will be done. You basically have three options in this regard:


  1. Ask the seller to have the repairs done before closing.
  2. Ask for the total cost of repairs in the form of credit, and have the repairs done after closing.
  3. Ask the seller to deduct the repair costs from the sale price.


Option 2 or 3 is often ideal for both parties, because the seller can move on with their life and you can ensure the repairs are done to your satisfaction. Nonetheless, either way you go, you want to make sure you’re not getting the short end of the stick.


Negotiating repairs with the seller is paramount when buying a home. Be sure to have the home inspected so that you can determine which repairs the seller should cover and which they shouldn’t, and then work out the best way to have the repairs done. Taking care to do this process the right way can save you a lot of time, money and stress.


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