When you’re in the market for a new house, you often come across homes that are perfect aside from a few maintenance issues or other problems. Finding a completely move-in ready home is sometimes impossible, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a house with issues. In many cases, a big part of the home-buying process is negotiating repairs as well as the selling price so you truly get what you’re paying for.
Start with a Home Inspection
Once you’ve decided on a house and signed a purchase agreement, you will want to have a home inspection. As the buyer, you are usually responsible for finding an inspector and paying for the service. The inspection covers the physical structure of the home as well as major components such as electrical work, plumbing, and heating and cooling.
The report you receive after a home inspection will point to any issues that need repair. However, a report might also reveal some major deal-breakers that will make you want to walk away from the home altogether. If you don’t understand anything in the home inspection report, make sure you get clarification to avoid making a mistake you can’t undo.
Know Your Boundaries
In some cases, the inspection will give you good cause to request that the seller makes repairs, reduces the asking price, or provides you with credit during closing. However, you don’t want to overstep your bounds. According to Trulia, there are certain requests that a buyer should never make. For example, asking the seller to fix cosmetic issues can seem nit-picky. Too many requests like these can frustrate a seller enough to walk away from the deal themselves.
When to Ask for Repairs
Upon getting a home inspection report, you will want to identify what problems you actually need the seller to fix. Issues that present a safety concern or significantly affect the value of the home should always be addressed if you want to move ahead with the deal.
In many cases, a seller will oblige by making the repairs on your behalf. However, you may ultimately need to refer to your real estate contract to determine who is responsible for completing any repairs. According to Bankrate, you’ll need to read any repair contingencies in your contract carefully to understand your options as a buyer.
When to Request a Credit
Keep in mind that sellers are usually itching to get out of the house and might feel reluctant about making certain repairs up to your standards. The last thing you’d want is for the seller to do a slapdash job as they rush through your list of requests. In such cases, you may find it’s a better option to ask for a seller credit in lieu of fixes.
A seller credit is meant to help cover the cost of repairs. In many cases, it is applied towards your expenses at closing, which means you’re left with more money in your pocket to cover repairs. However, credits can also be tacked onto the sales price of the home or paid directly to a contractor who will complete the required work.
How to Negotiate the Selling Price
Negotiations can last throughout the entire process of closing on a home. If an inspection report reveals major issues, you may consider asking for a lower selling price rather than requesting credits or repairs. Once you have an idea of how much repairs will cost, it can help you determine how much of a price reduction to ask for. It also helps to look at selling prices for other recently sold homes in the Owings Mills area, where houses tend to stay on the market for an average of 45 days before they sell. Keep in mind that negotiations in the home buying process can include more than just the asking price.
It can be frustrating when a home inspection comes back with major issues. However, a poor inspection doesn’t always need to be a bad thing. Some issues will make you want to walk away from the deal, but other problems can be used to your advantage to get a better deal on a home that’s perfect aside from a few fixable issues.