Moving at any time is always stressful, and even as experienced movers, military families still feel the strain every time. If you’re purchasing or selling a home, there’s a whole new level of stress that enters the equation. As you may know, buying/ selling usually includes a property inspection, and with the inspections comes a list of repair requests. But what is a reasonable request? Where do you start? Do you ask for everything and hope for some of it? Do you only ask for big things? Do you only ask for little things? Thankfully, here at the MilHousing Network, we have a few ideas to help simplify the process for you.
First, when you are going through an inspection on a property, be sure to ask lots of questions. Ask what something means, ask your inspector if they see it as a major issue, do your research, and even ask if your inspector has recommended repair professionals. The more information you have, the more prepared you will be to ask for reasonable repairs. Knowledge is power.
When you get your inspection results, reasonable requests are somewhat subjective. However, there are a few repairs that are always reasonable to ask for, like anything that is out of code or a safety hazard. As military families, we typically don’t have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to move-in dates, so be intentional about what you ask for because no one wants a delayed move-in date. Again, anything that is a serious code violation or safety hazard should be at the top of the list. Common requests involve plumbing, heating or air conditioning concerns, roofing damage, foundation concerns, or signs of pest infestation.
Next, consider repairs that would be too difficult to complete after moving in, then decide whether or not you want to ask the seller to cover those, especially if it’s purely for cosmetic purposes. A perfect example is replacing flooring. Often, depending on other repair requests, buyers and sellers can negotiate an allowance to help cover floors that are in serious disrepair. However, if the flooring change is due to personal preference, leave that one off the list and find a way to update the floors before you move in or your household goods arrive.
Lastly, things you should never request from the seller: cosmetic or maintenance repairs. These are trivial requests and should only be considered if there is nothing else to ask about. Cosmetic repairs include painting walls, changing fixtures, updating air filters, etc. These are part of homeownership and your cosmetic and maintenance requests should be understood as your responsibility.
As always, be sure to talk to your real estate professional about your list of requests. They will have an in-depth understanding of your market, as well as what is reasonable to ask for. Here at the MilHousing Network, we have a team of vetted professionals in multiple locations that we are ready to connect you with, should you need additional support.
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Heather Campbell is an Air Force spouse, mom of 3, and serial volunteer for military families. As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, she is a subject matter expert in the field of nutrition and is passionate about eliminating food insecurity in the military community. She is also the host of the MilHousing Network’s own podcast, called MilHousing Nation, where we share actionable steps to help you build community no matter where you call home.