How to Negotiate Your Home Inspection

Negotiating the Home Inspection!

As your offer is written you have an option in the contract to have not only a home inspection but an inspection of most anything you want.  For instance, if the roof looks questionable to you maybe you want a roofer to inspect it.  If you are buying Rural Property and there is a well you might want a well person to inspect that.  Other common individual inspections could be the heating supply, pests inspection, big in my area Radon and Mold.  Anything that doesn’t look right to you and you want a professional in that field to check it out this is the time to request that.

So who pays for that home inspection?  You do!  

It’s your information to protect you.  You own the inspection.  I can recommend you a few really good inspectors in our area,  you can check for fees but ultimately every inspection you request is your responsibility.  Time is usually of the essence in this situation also.  Depending on how fast your closing this contract will sometimes dictate how much time you have to get this done.  Even in a best-case scenario though you usually don’t get much more than 10 days.  You want to pay attention to that number in your contract and get these scheduled as quickly as possible so you have time to consider the results and do more research if necessary.

Before you made this offer hopefully you have already looked the house over for any major flaws or abnormalities that you could have noticed.  Your not the expert but you should be able to see if there is obvious water damage or a hole in the roof or something else that is big and obvious.  You will probably have a few surprises in the home inspection but they should be small if you look the house over fairly well.  Your Realtor can help you with this also, they are not a qualified home inspector but if it appears that you never noticed that part of the roof is missing, I do believe it is our responsibility to say hey Mr. or Mrs. buyer are you going to be okay with that big skylight?  Or for instance, I had one the other day a Repo that I noticed all the wires were cut to the breaker box.  You know that’s a simple observation that you might want to get the electrical checked out on this home.  I don’t know what needs to be done but looks like a potential problem.

Now one thing I am going to tell you straight up there is no such thing as a perfect house.  They all have something wrong with them.  It is like anything in life no such thing as perfection it’s just a question can you manage the flaws and can you live with them.  With that said prior to making the offer, you should have looked the house over for major flaws.  Water damage, Cracks in the wall or foundation, Obvious Electrical issues and anything else that seems strange.

So the home inspector looks the house over and it has some issues so what can you ask to have repaired and what should you accept.  A lot of times it is going to depend on how the home was listed if it’s a foreclosure or a short sale and its listed “as is.” Then that is probably what you’re going to get.  “As Is!”

That home inspection is to protect you and give you a heads up on what is wrong in that situation.  If the home was listed as is, and you thought you could handle its issues, but after the inspection, you find that there is something major, then here is a good opportunity for you to be able to walk away from the home.  

The type of loan you’re getting is also going to dictate what you’re going to have to ask the seller to fix and what you can let slide.  So the first thing you and your agent are going to do is go through that home inspection and make a list of everything that you want to be fixed, everything you need fixed and everything you must have fixed.  Do some prioritizing.

Then you are going to have to look at the market and take that into consideration.  In a fast market with lots of buyers, you’re not going to get as much fixed as you will in a slower market.  How marketable is that house?  If your loan requires certain repairs prior to funding the loan than those are must ask for and those become non-negotiable.  Your seller either fixes or you are forced to walk.

Then come the wants.  Some days that boils down to how handy are you.  If you can do some of the little things might be better to ask that seller to do the big must do fixes and you take on the little things.  This new home is going to be a lifetime of little things to fix just FYI.  If the seller is quite handy and you’re not then maybe yes its time to ask for those.

You really more than anything want to find a balance.

Finding a happy balance is the challenge

I usually tell my buyers if its major and can become a deal breaker then we ask for it.  If there is a bunch of little piddly things then maybe we pick what is most important to us and that is what we ask for.  Split it per sea and let them know that we are splitting it.  Sometimes a seller is a little happier to accommodate if they know that you have only selected a few things off the list rather than a huge laundry list.

I have found that usually not asking for more than about 3 or 4 things seems to work fairly well also.  You hand them to big of a list and it makes them mad they feel nitpicked.  I’ve had sellers say well if there is this much wrong with my house why are they buying it.  They obviously don’t like it.  Hand them something with just a few things on it and they will look at it and go okay I can do that.   So don’t overwhelm them.  I find lumping all of like kind under one big group takes this into consideration.  Example being Plumbing: fix the downstairs toilet and the leak under the master bath sink.  Lumping them make it look like the plumber shows up and here’s your list.  

And just a little insight on a seller.  That home inspector shows up and they are scared.  They know this person can rip their home a new one.  So take that into consideration as this process is going down.  Doesn’t mean getting stuck with something that you can’t handle it just means to be a little prudent and kind.

So what if the seller won’t fix anything.  Well, you still have some choices.  You can walk of course.  Or you can say hey Mr. or Mrs.  Seller there is a lot more repairs here then I was expecting will you come down on the price a little and help me out?  That is always an option unless the necessary repair has to be done to qualify the home for your loan.

If you really like the home though maybe you talk to the lender and see if some of the repairs can be done out of escrow or change your type of loan.  It is all still very negotiable at this moment. I’ve seen buyers change their loan to accommodate the repairs and the sellers drop the price a little and everyone is happy.  Sometimes you have sellers that are moving because of a variety of reasons and if they can’t afford to do the repairs sometimes you have to work around that.   And this is one of those spots that if you didn’t make your seller mad with your offer to purchase.  How to Make an Offer!  that you can still have a conversation and come to some form of an agreement.

The bottom line on a home purchase.  Everything is negotiable.  And sometimes the majority of the negotiations actually happen after you have made your offer.  Lots of variables out there.  I hope this has given you a little bit of an idea of what to expect with a home inspection and somewhat of how you are going to have to navigate it.  Every home deal is different so there is never any set in stone this is how it is done.  I always marvel at the creativity of people when they put their heads together and figure out how to make something happen. 

The Path to the Keys to your own Home

Please feel free to Contact me with any questions that you may have.  One more step in the process of getting the keys to your New Home!

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