A home inspection is a visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home. It is meant to draw attention to issues that will significantly impact the use, enjoyment, and safety of the house. The inspection is not meant to create a punch-list that itemizes every minor defect that the seller is expected to fix.
It’s important to note that repairs are not mandatory, and sellers cannot be forced to fix anything
from the inspection report that was not already disclosed in the purchase agreement. There’s a fine line between asking for repairs and jeopardizing your relationship with the seller.
When considering which repairs are reasonable, ask yourself: Is it a health or safety concern? How severe is the damage? How much would it cost to fix the issue later down the line? If you would feel at risk financially or your health and safety would be at risk without a repair, it is most likely a reasonable request.
Broken shingles, leakage, and other roofing damage can be a reasonable repair request, as these types of problems can lead to additional home damage and a high cost of repairs down the road.
HVAC problems are concerning for more reasons than one. First and foremost, no one wants to be stuck in their house on a hot summer day without working A/C. But more importantly, broken HVAC systems are a significant safety concern and can result in fires and other dangerous situations.
Electrical and fire hazards are extremely concerning. You want to feel safe in your new home, so things like sparking outlets should be analyzed and repaired as soon as possible. These types of problems can also lead to gas leaks and other dangerous situations, so it’s well within your rights to ask for these issues to be addressed.
A critical system in any home is plumbing. Plumbing problems are more than just an inconvenience; they can lead to broken pipes, water leaks, and damage to other parts of the home. These types of repair requests are not only reasonable but should be listed as non-negotiable.
Not all mold is created equal, and it requires a qualified mold inspector to assess the extent of the contamination. If a home inspection indicates the presence of mold, it is reasonable to ask the seller for additional time to find a mold inspection expert.
Skilled home inspectors will immediately recognize signs of pest infestation, and in some cases, the seller may need to hire a separate professional to eradicate pests causing the damage. If significant pest problems are on the inspection report, including this issue on your list of requests is reasonable.
Structural issues, such as problems with the foundation or improperly functioning windows and doors, can be issues of grave concern. Cracks in the basement or the cellar walls can also indicate serious structural problems, and requesting further study from an engineer or contractor could be deemed reasonable.
Requesting repairs can put the home sale in jeopardy if the repairs are unreasonable. If you’re having difficulty deciding whether or not your requests are reasonable, create a list of the issues in question, then determine if you would consider fixing them if you were the seller. As a general rule, don’t sweat the small stuff!
Minor issues that are $100 or less to repair are unreasonable requests. It’s better to stay focused on big-picture items and move on.
Most homes have a few cosmetic defects that may not be easy on the eyes. However, sellers are typically unwilling to negotiate on flaws visible before the inspection and before submitting an offer to purchase.
In many locations, inspectors are obligated to list items in the house that do not meet current code requirements. However, these items are typically grandfathered in to the purchase and deemed unreasonable requests for repair.
It’s unreasonable to expect sellers to trim foundation plantings, level out uneven walkway bricks, or repair a loose fence board. If these items were visible before you put in an offer to purchase the home, it will likely irritate the sellers and jeopardize the transaction.
A concrete floor does nothing to hold up a structure, and cracks in concrete floors are not only expected but unavoidable. If you’re purchasing a home that doesn’t have a few cracks, consider yourself lucky, and expect a few later down the line.
When water saturates interior building materials, like drywall, it can look pretty bad, and you’re unlikely to miss it the first time you view the house. One of the most common water stains you will see in a home is in the ceiling over a 2nd story bathroom. This condition is often caused by a toilet that has been overflown at some point or a child who decided to create a wave pool in the bathtub. It is usually easy to discern whether or not a water stain is an ongoing issue or caused by a one-time incident. The home inspector will notice signs of water damage. Their report will indicate whether or not the problem still exists and if the damage warrants a reasonable repair request.
Homeowners are prone to let external buildings get run down more often than the main house. External structures are not considered the primary structure on the property, and repairs will not be regarded as a top priority. More often than not, the general condition of an external building was evident before an offer to purchase was submitted, therefore an unreasonable request for repair.
The state of the market has a significant impact on prioritizing repairs, and as the market shifts, the value placed on repair requests will also shift accordingly. Your REALTOR® is an invaluable resource when determining if your repair requests are in line with the rules of supply and demand. If you need assistance buying or selling your home, we are happy to offer our expertise and guidance.
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