Am I Crazy To Ask For Repairs Or A Lower Cost After Home Inspection Results

Dated: 10/05/2016

Views: 210

Q: I am a first time home buyer and I just got my home inspection results on a house I want to purchase. For the last week we have had a constant rain so the issues noted were not visible to me or disclosed before today. There is some sort of leak in the roof (assumed to be from a skylight) that has created a water spot in the bedroom and a mysterious leak in the basement (leak from something either on ground floor or hidden pipe, water was dripping onto the basement floor). Also there is a door frame to the exterior that is rotting due to exposure to water. My question is, what should I do next? The seller has already come down on price because of very outdated flooring. Is it crazy to ask them to repair these issues or to re-visit price? Any advice is appreciated.

A: Great questions... and they are questions a lot of people have. When working as a buyer's agent, I consider heavy rain before a home inspection a blessing... because you're seeing things that you wouldn't normally see in perfect weather.

When you make an offer, it's based upon a few things yet mainly market conditions and what conditions you can physically see. You negotiate price based upon that. If, during the inspection, you find other items that you were not aware of previously, then those are things you need to have addressed.

I don't mean you should be nit-picky as there is no such thing as a perfect home. We typically see things like reverse polarity outlets, etc. However, if you find mechanical issues, structural defects, or water penetration issues... all bets are off. For example, in one inspection I attended last year the inspector was unable to turn off the A/C... so he opened the exterior case on the condenser and it was, literally, a block of ice. The refrigerant line had cracked and the refrigerant froze. The seller ended up crediting the buyer $6500 (the cost of a new unit plus install).

Use your best judgement. You should expect some minor issues in a home inspection. In your case, you have some water penetration issues and those are nearly never minor. So... a few things you can do:

  1. Obtain quotes for repair and ask the seller to repair: I'm never a big fan of this. Most sellers will simply look for the cheapest person possible.

  2. Obtain quotes for repair and ask the seller for a credit: Preferred method... then you can hire who you want and you have the money available to handle the repair because you didn't come out of pocket with that money at the closing.

  3. Obtain quotes for repair and ask the seller for a price reduction: This only works if you have the money available to repair. This will reduce your monthly mortgage payment and the difference will likely be very small. In essence, you'll be financing the repair.

  4. Just ask seller to repair: For minor things, not a big deal. For items that require licensed practitioners, different story. Not all licensees are created equally.

Keep in mind that if the seller does perform repair work that requires a licensed professional, require that the professional be someone who is "regularly in the business" of performing the expected repair. Also, be sure to ask for a receipt with the professional's contact information and license number.

Good Luck!

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