What Home Inspection Issues are Worth Negotiating?
The purpose of a home inspection is to make buyers aware of any major defects and safety problems that would cause them to reconsider buying a home. Some defects are insignificant, and others are major.
When a home inspector finds major defects, buyers can either take the house as is, require repair or replacement of any defects, negotiate a credit off of the purchase price or walk away from the transaction if issues can’t be satisfactorily resolved.
No buyer is going to get a 25 year old home in new construction condition. Reasonable buyers should expect a leaky faucet, a missing switch plate or an even aging but still operating hot water heater. Those items aren’t usually worth negotiating as they’ll only set the transaction on a course heading south when the seller thinks the buyer is being unfair.
All standard real estate contracts that real estate agents use provide for the option of a home inspection. When that option is exercised, the rights buyers have are focused on material defects and not minor conditions, particularly if that minor condition is something like a hole in the front screen door that was openly visible when the parties entered into their contract.
Major defects include conditions that jeopardize the health and safety of the buyers and the structural integrity of the home. They involve the roof, foundation, electrical system, plumbing and HVAC system.
There are times when replacement is in order, and there are other times when repair is all that’s needed. Home inspection reports often recommend that a material defect be repaired or replaced. Negotiations should focus on what operates in the best interests of both parties.
If seller can’t afford to repair or replace, or if there isn’t enough time to repair or replace before closing, buyer can ask for a credit off of the purchase price. If the parties can’t come to terms on what the inspection calls for, buyers can walk away from the transaction.
Try not to create a distraction with minor inspection issues. Any issues involving health and safety or the structural integrity of the home are the key.