It is a good idea to inspect a house before you buy it. Although the inspection may reveal more defects than you expected, it does not necessarily mean that your deal is over. This is how inspections work, and the next steps to take after you’ve had one.
It is recommended that any buyer of a home request a complete inspection before closing. It is important to know what is and isn’t included in a home inspector and what your options are for moving forward should any defects be found.
How home inspections work
You have the option to choose which company to use when you are ready to have your home inspected. Your real estate agent will likely recommend a company that they have used often and trust. You, the buyer, pay for the inspection. In addition to being able (and encouraged) to attend the inspection in person.
Standard inspections evaluate the condition of your home’s heating and air systems, electrical, plumbing, and wiring, roof, walls and ceilings, floors, windows and doors, foundation, and structure. You may also need additional inspections to check for pests or radon. After the inspection, you will receive a detailed report that includes photos and descriptions of any defects.
Fixes you can make yourself
Rarely will a home inspector find anything wrong with a house. If this happens, you might question the thoroughness and professionalism of the inspector. You don’t have to buy the house if you find problems, but you might need to fix them down the line.
You shouldn’t ask the seller for repairs if you plan on remodeling the bathroom or kitchen soon after buying the house.
These are the most common fixes that sellers make after a move-in
- Cosmetic problems – Retouching or restaining wood floors
- Easy or inexpensive repairs – If the price is less than $100, you can ask the seller to fix it.
- Broken sockets or switches – This might seem like a big deal. It is not a serious problem unless an inspector determines that the issue is electrical. This is usually caused by a loose wire or worn-out part, and it’s easy to fix.
- Outside structures — A seller is unlikely to fix garages or sheds, especially in a highly competitive market.
How to Negotiate Fixes
You have two options if you are short of cash or can’t afford to fix the house. Either ask the seller for repairs at no cost, or negotiate for a lower price or cash-back.
Although you may be able to ask the seller to make repairs after an inspection, it is important that you choose your battles. The seller will always be able to say no. This should be reserved for serious structural or mechanical problems. When deciding what repairs to request from a seller, you should rely heavily on the expertise and experience of your realty agent.
A seller might fix common defects such as a leaky roof, elevated levels of radon, unsafe electrical defects, water issues and drainage problems. A seller may be willing to send an exterminator to deal with termite or wildlife infestations. These are often issues that you want to resolve before you move in to a home. It is common for sellers to pay the bill and cover the cost of having these issues addressed prior to closing.
How to Negotiate for Money
You may be able to ask the seller for cash-back credit when closing. This means that the seller will give you money to use in order to finish the project. You may be offered a lower purchase price by the seller. While these options may seem similar, they could have different implications for your mortgage.
If you feel the seller’s contractor may make poor repairs or you want to speed up closing, you can ask for cash-back. You may be able to request a reduction in the asking price if the problem is serious but not necessarily urgent.
When to Walk
Although most defects in a house can be repaired, it is possible to charge a high price. You may need to end the deal if the seller refuses repairs to a serious problem such as a foundation problem. It doesn’t mean that the problem will disappear, but it can be fixed. You’ll need to repair it yourself.
Problems Not Found During An Inspection
Although inspectors will try to find all defects in the property, they might not be able to catch them all. They aren’t experts in everything. They may be able to check that the air conditioner unit is functioning, but it’s impossible to know if it will still work when you move in without an HVAC specialist inspecting it.
Inspections can be difficult because leaks and structural problems are easy to overlook. Although inspectors are trained to spot signs of leaks, they may not be able to detect them if the inspection was done after the dry season.
Hire the experts
For guidance and support, contact an experienced local agent if you are looking to purchase a home. They are experts in valuing homes and can help you find the right price for your home, as well as the necessary repairs. They are also familiar with the process of inspections. This will allow them to help you decide when you should make repairs, what you can ask the seller and when you should walk away.
Clever Partner Agents can also offer on-demand showings, sometimes in under an hour. This ensures that you don’t miss a great deal on a flip. Clever Cash Back may also be available if your home is valued at more than $150,000.