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How to Ask for (Reasonable) Requests After a Home Inspection

November 29 2018
by Leisl Bailey

Home inspection report surrounded by pen, keys, and flashlight

Home inspections are one of the most integral and common parts of the real estate transfer process. They have a very important purpose: to discover any potential problems with the property before the sale is final.

This way, the home seller has a chance to make things right. However, there are certain reasonable requests after home inspection, as well as things that a home buyer should never expect the seller to repair when they buy a home.

Here’s a list of reasonable requests after a home inspection, so that you know exactly what it is okay to ask for (and what you are likely to end up getting anyway):

Reasonable Requests after a Home Inspection

A home inspection essentially functions to find a laundry list of things wrong with a home. The older a house, the more likely you are to find out lots of things wrong with it. Home inspectors are state-qualified third parties who take an impartial look at a home and then provide a repairs list. These repairs lists are called home inspection reports.

There are many things to reasonably repair after a home inspection.

If your inspector finds any of the follow things, it is completely within your rights to request that the seller fix them before you finalize the sale:

  • Lead paint. Keep in mind: the federal government requires sellers to disclose this to buyers! It’s that big of a deal.
  • Major defects with the electrical panel (a big safety issue!)
  • Any major drainage problems.
  • Major structural issues, like a leaking roof or substandard building violations (i.e. a cracked foundation).
  • Plumbing problems bad enough to interfere with the quiet enjoyment of the home.
  • Radon levels above local EPA suggested levels.
  • The presence of mold in the home.
  • Traces of termites or other wood destroying insects.
  • Well water problems, such as a lack of pressure or volume of water.
  • Wild animals like bats, squirrels, or raccoons living in the attic.

How to Handle Something That Needs to Be Repaired

During the home inspection process, when you find an item needing repair that you think will likely decrease the life expectancy of the home, you have a few options when you approach the seller.

The first option: You can ask the seller to fix the problem outright. For example, if there are raccoons in the attic, you can insist that the seller gets rid of the pest infestation on their own dime before you close on the house.

Or, the second option is that you can negotiate a lower sales price based on the idea that you will need to invest time, effort, and money into getting rid of the raccoons yourself once you become the homeowner.

You can apply this strategy to all different kinds of problems that might come up during home inspections. However, if the problem is very serious, like the presence of lead paint or a cracked foundation, you need to proceed with extreme caution.

These problems are very serious and can take a lot of money and time to fix. Asking the seller to take care of them before closing is a very reasonable request and you should be wary of taking on the responsibility as a buyer, even for a great price.

However, sellers will likely not grant every repairs request.

Here are things that sellers will often ignore:

Cosmetic Repairs

Sometimes, contracts of sale get very specific about cosmetic repairs. They state that a seller will not fix anything cosmetic, only things like a structural issue, building code violations, or safety issues. Many sellers only like to fix things the law requires them to fix. So, be sure to check your local laws to ensure that what you are entitled to gets fixed.

Cheap Repairs

If it would cost less than $100 or so to fix a problem, don’t waste your time asking the seller to fix it. All this kind of nitpicking does is drive up the overall cost of repairs and annoy the seller. Instead, just make a note of the small things you would like fixed and complete the repairs yourself after closing.

External Buildings Repairs

If the home has a shed, pool house, clubhouse, or separate garage, it is best to just let any issues with them go, especially if you are buying your home in a competitive market. Just focus on the safety and soundness of the main house when making your requests after home inspections, as sheds are dirty and there are usually more important things to worry about.

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Looking for a Realtor who knows the inspection process inside and out? The team of professional agents at Clever can’t wait to work with you! Call us today at  1-833-2-CLEVER or fill out our online form to start.