Top 5 FAQs About Sending Repair Request Letters to Sellers

By 

Jamie Ayers

Updated 

June 25th, 2019

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Have you recently ordered a home inspection on a potential home purchase only to find out it needs repairs? Before you start making demands, read up on these frequently asked questions about sending repair request letters to sellers.

When you find a home you like, pick your battles when requesting repairs after a home inspection. While it would be nice for the seller to fix every issue, there are only so many they're usually willing to commit to.

After deciding on reasonable repairs for the seller to fix, you'll need to draft up a repair request letter. But unless you’ve done this before, you’re sure to have questions about the process and what it means for your ability to close the deal.

How Do You Negotiate a Repair Request?

After you send a repair request to a seller, you wait for the seller to accept, deny, or negotiate. If they decide to negotiate, you want to remember this is a delicate process. A bad negotiation can lead the seller to walk away from the deal.

Remember to stay reasonable. If a seller denies something, small, be open to making the concession. If a seller isn’t budging on bigger, high-priority repair requests, consider asking for a lower price on the house.

Weigh the consequences of your requests against how much you want the property. Major defects like a leaky roof, water damage, or hazards are worth standing your ground on. If it appears the seller doesn't have the means to make all these repairs, you have the option to walk away from the deal.

Buyers often avoid doing any negotiating themselves. If you're working with a real estate agent, rely on their advice and expertise.

How Do You Request a Repair from a Seller?

You'll be requesting repairs from the seller after a home inspection.Once you have a better idea of what issues the home has, you can come up with a list of asks. If you're working with a real estate agent, they will draft the leader and give it to the seller's agent.

The requests are often sent on paper, as an official letter. Before sending a repair request, consider every repair you're requesting and if it's worth possibly having the seller back out. Your home inspection report should determine what is the top priority. If the seller comes back with a counteroffer, you either accept, deny, or send a new repair request letter.

What Do Sellers Fix After a Home Inspection?

What a seller fixes after a home inspection depends on the requests agreed upon and lender rules. A seller with a higher budget and desire to sell is more inclined to fix most of what you're requesting. Most of the time, a seller who doesn't have a high budget will only fix what is necessary.

There are some repairs that lenders require before they will release funds to finance a buyer's home purchase. Typically these address structural defects, building code violations, or safety issues.

Some purchase agreements also state that you can't request any cosmetic repairs and can only ask for fixes to structural defects, building code violations, or safety issues.

Need to request repairs from a seller?

A Clever Partner Agent will help you with the process.

Does the Seller Have to Make Repairs After a Home Inspection?

Technically, a seller isn’t required to fix everything on a buyer's repair request letter. What drives a seller to fix defects is the desire to sell their house. If they deny a repair request to one buyer, it doesn't mean the next buyer won't ask for the same repairs, essentially putting them in the same position.

There are repairs that some lenders require sellers to make before completing a sale. These are usually major repairs that could affect the safety and well-being of potential homeowners. A homeowner also can't sell a home to a buyer if there are building code violations.

Should You Make Repair Requests After a Home Inspection?

The decision to make repair requests after a home inspection is up to you. It's not advised that a buyer willingly lives in a home with major structural defects or safety issues. However, if the inspection brings up no red flags regarding hazards like those, you don't need to request anything.

Buyers will request repairs to make sure they're getting the best deal on a house. These requests don't need to be major but can be as simple as having a toilet fixed or section of a fence repaired. If you don't request repairs, consider asking for closing cost assistance or a lower selling price.

Your real estate agent will help you determine what the seller should fix and if forgoing a repair request can get you a great deal in other areas.

Work With Clever

Sending repair request letters to sellers is part of the delicate negotiating process of real estate transactions. Like all negotiations, you should come prepared and be ready to not receive everything you requested. Working with a real estate agent is an invaluable resource in the home buying process, especially the negotiation stage.

If you want an agent with experience that won't break the bank, work with Clever. You'll get matched with a local Partner Agent who knows the ins and outs of negotiating, while getting you the best deal possible.

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