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How to Handle the Request for Repairs When Buying a Home

How to Handle the Request for Repairs When Buying a Home

When buying a Denver home, be prepared to put on your negotiating hat. When you are caught up in the excitement of buying a home, you may forget that there is another side to the process: the seller. Generally each side is trying to get the best deal and it’s easy to forget or ignore the other party. Arriving at an agreed upon sales price is only part of the process; equally important is what comes next.  Even though a home is listed with the caveat “as is”, that doesn’t always mean much. Almost every seller expects that they are going to receive a request for repairs.

In Denver, it is required that a buyer conducts a home inspection or waive their right to one. Once these inspections have been completed and you have the report(s) in hand, you will sit down and discuss your request for repairs with your real estate agent.  And once the request is submitted, the clock stops and the ball is in the seller’s court.

Before you submit your request for repairs, keep in mind what are reasonable requests, and what repairs are negotiable and non-negotiable.  Get your negotiating cap on and think about the following before requesting repairs on your prospective house:

What you might see

When you look at your home inspector’s report, you are most likely going to see so many items for repair that your head will spin! You may well think the house is about to fall down.  But understand that many of them are a symptoms of an aging  house and are normal wear and tear, and may not be items for major concern.  The most common I see are:

  • Electrical panels needing upgrade
  • Electrical outlets not up to code
  • Plumbing leaks
  • Dripping toilets and faucets
  • Cracks in walls

These are generally minor items that are probably not going to cost much to repair. And remember, the previous owner has been living with them for a while.

Major items of concern might be:

  • Foundation cracks or lack of bolting
  • Cracks in the chimney
  • Wear showing on the roof
  • HVAC/hot water heater that may need replacing
  • These items can be expensive to repair or replace.

Did you offer full price?

If you did, then asking for all the items of major concern to be replaced may be the place to start. You may get a positive answer to all or most of them.

Did you get the house for a little less than asking?

You might want to leave an item or two out of your request for repairs.  Asking for everything might get you a no on all. Asking for selective repairs might get you all of them, but you should at least get some.

Did you pay significantly less than asking?

If so, you are probably not going to get much in the way of repairs.  Remember, the seller is already not getting what they originally wanted and is unlikely to give up more money. So, when you do get the home for a good price, be of the mindset that this probably will not come with repairs.  Think of it as having negotiated your repairs up front. Also, it’s important to maintain a good relationship with the seller in case after closing, you have questions about the home’s operating systems. The seller will be more inclined to help if the negotiation process was fair and respectful.

I know homes have fallen out of escrow over the request for repairs not being agreed to by the seller, but if both parties can put themselves in the other side’s position, there can be a successful outcome.  Again, it is all about the negotiations.

Let Usaj Realty know how we can assist you in making your real estate dreams a reality.


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