To read part one of this series, click here.
To read part two of this series, click here.
KNOW WHAT IS REASONABLE TO NEGOTIATE ON
So what issues are considered reasonable for the buyer to expect the seller to be willing to negotiate repairs on, and what issues are reasonable for the seller to expect the buyer to be responsible for? Know what is considered reasonable on both the end of the buyer and the seller will help you prioritize your requests in the negotiation process and come out a winner.
Reasonable concerns for a buyer
The following items are concerns that can be difficult to detect without a home inspection, and are considered major concerns that are reasonable for the buyer to expect the seller to either repair or be willing to negotiate on:
- Roof damage including leaks, missing shingles, improper installation, and roofing at the end of its service life.
- Major electrical concerns that are considered a safety hazard or endanger the home.
- Major plumbing concerns including disintegrating sewer pipes, clogged drains, leaks, and inadequate water pressure or flow.
- Structural concerns including foundation, walls, chimney, and other masonry.
- Broken HVAC system or water heater. The key here is that it is broken, not that it is simply old.
- Water damage in the home and basement that indicate rotting walls, siding, or decks.
- Any mold concerns.
- Insect and rodent problems such as termites, rats, and bats.
Reasonable expectations of a seller
The following items are concerns that may be noticeable during the initial walk through of the home, or concerns that could show up on the inspection report but are still considered minor. It is perfectly reasonable for the seller to have an expectation that the buyer will be responsible for concerns such as:
- Cosmetic changes like cabinets, flooring that is not a result of major structural damage, landscaping, and other cosmetic issues that were easily identifiable during the walkthrough.
- Concerns that are minor and inexpensive to repair such as window seal damage or missing smoke detectors.
- Concerns that were outlined in the seller’s property disclosure statement prior to the home inspection.
- Concerns with dead power outlets that do not indicate a larger electrical problem.
- Cracks in the wall or flooring that do not indicate a larger structural problem.
- Cosmetic water damage that is not an indication of a larger structural problem or rot.
Sometimes an inspection report will include items that are not as clear cut as to whether they are a major, immediate concern that is reasonable to expect the seller to be responsible for, but also do not seem unreasonable for a buyer to want corrected before moving forward with the purchase agreement. Some areas of concerns that fall in the middle and may or may not be able to be negotiated include:
- Old, ungrounded electrical systems that are not a safety hazard and do not have damage. It is extremely expensive and unrealistic to rewire an entire house when there is not a problem with the electrical system as is.
- Galvanized steel pipes that are not leaking or rusty. Just because the plumbing is old doesn’t mean that it isn’t in a good enough working order, or that the seller should have to replace it.
- HVAC systems and water heaters that are old, nearing the end of their service life, but are still currently functional. It’s reasonable for an old home to have old equipment, and if that equipment is still currently functioning it is reasonable for the seller not to want to replace it.
- Although the disclosure of lead paint is federally mandated, and many states require asbestos and radon disclosure as well, it is not necessarily the responsibility of the seller to rectify these problems or replace the materials.
Once the home inspection and negotiation processes are complete, you are one step closer to owning your dream home. Make sure that you maximize the home inspection and negotiation process to get the best deal on the house possible, but don’t go overboard on your expectations and then risk the buyer backing out of the purchase agreement. Use these tips when preparing to negotiate repairs after a home inspection and both you and the sellers should be walking away from the agreement feeling like you won.