Negotiating Repairs After a Home Inspection

The PropertyClub Team
Oct 27th 2020
Having previously unknown issues with the house uncovered after a home inspection means you should negotiate repairs or a price reduction with the seller. Here's what you need to know from asking for a credit or discount to submitting a counteroffer.

Putting in an offer on a home can be an exciting moment. But you won’t know until after the inspection whether or not you’re offering a fair price. There may be issues that you overlooked at first glance that will significantly impact property values. Here is a look at what to do if you need to negotiate repairs with the seller after a home inspection.

How to Negotiate After a Home Inspection

You should contact the seller or the seller’s agent as soon as possible if any issues are uncovered during the inspection. In most cases, the seller will be willing to negotiate to save the deal. There are three ways you can handle repairs after an inspection

You ask the seller to make the repairs

Some sellers will be willing to make the repairs themselves if it’s a minor issue. The seller can quickly fix things like painting, landscaping, broken doorknobs, or loose hinges. Plus, you can always ask the seller to hire a contractor or technician if the problem is more complicated. This is the simplest way to remedy the issue and make sure your offer accurately represents the house’s fair market value. But some sellers may not be willing or able to make the repairs on the home. If that’s the case, you have a few other options.

You ask the seller for credit for the repairs.

You can request a credit for repairs at the closing for whatever costs you will incur by doing it yourself if the seller is unable to make the necessary repairs. For instance, say one of the windows is broken, and it will cost $300 to replace it. You could ask the seller for a $300 credit off the final sale price to accommodate for the repair. Make sure you know exactly how much it will cost to fix the issue, otherwise the seller may not accept, or you may end up not requesting a large enough credit. But this can be another solution if the seller doesn’t have the means to make the repairs before close.

You make a counteroffer on the home.

If the damage is beyond a simple credit, you may decide to submit an entirely new offer. Say you find out the house has termites, but you like the location, and you don’t want to give up on the property altogether. You may decide that your original offer was highly overvalued and decide to put in a new offer instead. Or perhaps there are several problems with the house, and it would be easier to adjust the offer than requesting a credit for each item. Making a counteroffer is a more complicated process than requesting a credit, so it only makes sense in situations where credit would be unfeasible. But this is another way to finance repairs if any issues are discovered in the inspection.

How to Counteroffer After a Home Inspection

This is where having a good real estate agent comes in handy. They can help you decide on a new price that is fair and help you negotiate with the seller. You don’t need an agent if you are comfortable on your own, but an experienced broker can bring insights to the table that you may not have. 

Submitting a counteroffer works the same way as submitting an offer. After the inspector drafts their report, you can fill out an offer form stating the new price you are offering and the reasoning behind it. You should contact the seller first if you can and let them know your grievances. The situation may be remedied more efficiently through one of the previously mentioned methods, and you should try to reach an agreement before submitting a counteroffer. But in some cases, the only thing you can do is submit an entirely new offer. Once you have the counter offer ready, you can send it to the seller or sellers’ agent and wait for their approval.

What if a Seller is Not Willing to Negotiate After a Home Inspection?

If the seller is not willing to negotiate, you have two options: accept the property as-is or back out of the offer. Most home inspection contingencies give you a window of about seven days to back out of a sale after an inspection. The whole point of a home inspection is to validate that the property is in a habitable condition. If it’s discovered that it’s not, you have a right to walk away from the sale without repercussions. Whether or not this is the best course of action depends entirely on the circumstance.

Say you get a great deal on a property, but there are a few minor repairs. It may make sense to hold onto your original offer if the seller refuses to make any other concessions because the price is already generous.

But if you offer the fair market value of a home and discover that it needs several repairs to make its true value commiserate with the price you’re offering, you shouldn’t let it go. Buying a home is one of the biggest financial transactions most of us make in our lives, and you shouldn’t let yourself be taken advantage of just because the seller is being stubborn.

Negotiating with a seller can get tense, and it’s essential to be prepared. It’s critical to know precisely what you need to be done and what it will cost before you enter negotiations. If you let the seller decide a figure, you’re more likely to get short-changed. But if you do your research and stick to your guns, it will be hard for the seller to refuse. If the seller can’t see your point of view, it’s wiser to walk away from the deal than overpay for a property with obvious flaws. But most sellers will be willing to strike a deal if they already accepted your offer, and as long as you are reasonable, you shouldn’t have to worry.