When purchasing a new home or a new-to-you home, there are a slew of steps to check off your to-do list before you officially own the property. One must-do task is ordering a home inspection. Though a home inspection isn't typically required by mortgage lenders for you to receive a home loan, you should still have one done. Otherwise, you're purchasing a home that you really don't know the true condition of.
A home inspection consists of an evaluation conducted by an impartial third-party inspector. During the evaluation, the inspector will examine the interior and exterior components of the home. At the end of the inspection, you'll receive a report that details areas of concern. Some of the issues on the report may be cosmetic, while other items may be things that need to be fixed for functionality or safety. If you get a less-than-stellar inspection report for your prospective home, you have a few options for handling these problems.
Assuming that you made the offer for the home contingent upon the home inspection, it's possible to back out of the deal if you're not satisfied with the findings of the report. Maybe the home has a slew of significant problems, like faulty wiring and foundation issues, that will take a lot of time and money to fix. When you need to move quickly, you may not want to wait for the seller to fix such issues.
If you still want to purchase the home after a poor inspection, it's possible to ask the seller to make the required repairs to bring the home up to your standards. However, it can be tricky to know when you should request said repairs. Generally, you shouldn't ask the seller to fix cosmetic issues that were apparent when you initially viewed the property, like old carpet or peeling paint.
As a guideline, if a repair is less than $100, it's best to avoid asking the seller to fix it. Asking for a lot of little things can irritate a seller, and you don't want to risk the entire deal if this is a home that you really want to purchase. One possible exception to this rule is if the repair is for something that poses a safety threat.
Depending on the housing market, you may want to ask the seller to fix things that will cost more than $100 to fix, especially if there are multiple problems on the report. Talk to your realtor to decide what's reasonable for your area. If the housing market favors sellers, you might want to limit what repairs you request, especially if these problems are unlikely to deter other people from wanting to buy the home. However, if the market favors buyers, you might have a little bit more leeway regarding what repairs to ask the seller to complete.
You should strongly consider asking the seller to make repairs for anything that affects the mechanical functioning of the house, compromises the home's structure, or makes the property an unsafe space for your family. This includes problems like roof damage, old electrical wiring, termites, and major plumbing issues.
When you buy a new home, chances are, you’re going to be making some updates, like repainting, installing window shades or other additions, or even fully remodeling. You can help safeguard these future investments by ensuring all systems of the home are operating correctly. For this reason, it’s important to always ask for structural or important functional repairs.