When you decide to put a home under contract to purchase, there’s perhaps no larger step in getting to the closing table than ensuring that the home you’re buying is a sound investment. For your peace of mind, the best practice when purchasing a home is to hire a series of third-party inspectors to thoroughly investigate the house and its major systems. But what happens when inspections reveal larger issues than what you observed on your initial walkthrough? Depending on your sales contract, you have a few options on whether to proceed with your purchase, but more often than not, you (or you and your real estate agent) will negotiate with the seller on repairing items of concern. While negotiating repairs when buying a home can seem daunting, here are a few tips to help you give yourself the greatest chance to reach an agreement and the closing table. 

1. Consider The Real Estate Market Conditions

While initially, it can be tempting to ask the seller to fix everything your inspectors may have found, it’s pivotal to weigh your expectations in the context of the real estate market conditions when you’ve gone under contract. 

Did you have to compete in multiple offers to secure a contract on the home? Or conversely, was the home on the market for months (or years) before you came along and offered? 

Perhaps even more importantly, how long had you been looking for “the one” before contracting this home? And how many homes have been coming to market that meet your needs? 

All these questions, and more, are important in determining how much or little is realistic to expect when negotiating. 

For example, if you had to compete with multiple offers to contract the property, that’s not to say they won’t complete repairs. However, the seller may have a lower tolerance for a long repair addendum, knowing their home already had lots of other suitors. 

Understanding the seller’s motivations is key to reaching a positive outcome from negotiating repairs when buying a house. 

2. Determine Your Priorities 

Inspection reports can be lengthy, and loaded with items ranging from minor considerations to major safety issues. 

When crafting a repair addendum, it’s essential to rank the items on your inspection reports in terms of what you can, and can’t live with. Are there items you can easily have fixed? Those may slide to the bottom of the priority list when considering all the potential repairs you could request. 

When working with clients, we typically suggest placing the highest priority on items that the majority of buyers in the market currently would expect to have fixed. These include foundation issues, termite damage to wood, and problems with plumbing and electrical systems. A seller is more likely to address these issues for you, knowing that these repair items would likely impact their home’s marketability to you, and any other potential buyer on their home.

Fortunately for you, the buyer, these repairs are often some of the most expensive because they generally require licensed professionals to correct them.  

3. Have A Backup Plan In Place 

You should expect that the seller will not complete every item you request to repair. It is a negotiation after all! Considering this, it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan in place in case this outcome arises. 

Would you consider having the seller contribute towards your closing costs, keeping some extra money in your pocket after closing to address your items of concern that the seller will not address before closing? 

Sometimes, this strategy is even more beneficial because you can hire the professionals you trust to complete the work. In most states, if the seller agrees to a repair unless it’s specifically stated who will do the work, they can choose and hire the licensed professional of their liking to do the work. 

4. Hire An Expert To Help

Most people will only experience negotiating repairs when buying a house a few times in their lifespan, while a true real estate professional might negotiate twenty or more repair addendums yearly! Don’t go at it alone. 

When you partner with The Lafayette Team at eXp Realty, you have a team of knowledgeable advocates by your side through inspections, negotiations, closing, and beyond. Contact us today and together, we’ll find your dream home!