Before closing on a new home, homebuyers and sellers have to move forward with a home inspection to accurately assess the state of the property. If an inspection reveals defects, the homebuyer might wonder if they should simply take care of the renovations themselves after they move in or if the seller might be required to handle it before the move-in date.
Sometimes, the answer isn’t clear. If you’re a homebuyer who’s wondering whether the seller should address certain maintenance issues, here are tips to help you reach a fair compromise.
Carefully Read Contracts
Don’t request any repairs from the seller until you’ve carefully looked over your inspection and repair contingencies. Make sure you fully understand everything you’re agreeing to before you sign it. This paperwork will explain which repairs the seller could be required to pay for. If you have any questions, now is the time to ask your real estate agent.
Are You Buying ‘As-Is’?
The idea of buying a home “as is” can seem enticing because of the lower listing price. But if you have agreed to purchase a property “as is,” you should be aware that the seller is not obligated to repair structural problems. Furthermore, they are not required to address other issues like mold and mildew, leaks in the roof, or pest infestations. As the homebuyer, you will have to cover the cost of these repairs and hire contractors. If you’re planning on buying a fixer-upper, it’s important to consider the costs of necessary repairs and any renovations.
Does your contract state that the seller is responsible for dealing with certain property defects? It might be tempting to ask them to foot the bill for every noticeable flaw you encounter, but making unreasonable requests can backfire if you’re in a hot market where the seller could easily move on to a buyer with lower expectations
If you want to make any cosmetic fixes to the house, you’re going to have to do that on your dime. Asking the seller to make changes to the property for aesthetic reasons is not advisable.
Let the Seller Fix Serious Defects
The home inspection might reveal issues that could compromise your health and safety upon moving in. If you find out about a problem that would prevent you from living comfortably in your new home, how should you proceed? As long as your contract allows for it, you should request the seller to remedy the issue. In some cases, state law might dictate that the seller is legally required to pay for major repairs under certain circumstances, so it might be helpful to consult your local laws before moving forward with any requests.
Perks of Credits at Closing
If the seller has agreed to fulfill your requests for repairs, you have a few different options available to you. For example, the seller can choose a contractor and pay for the repairs outright. Alternatively, you could negotiate for the costs to be credited at closing instead.
How does this process work? According to SF Gate, closing credits are intended to offset out-of-pocket repair expenses for the buyer. Both parties will need to negotiate the credit amount in advance. The final number should be based on contractor estimates for the repair costs. When a buyer is granted repair credits at closing, they can choose which contractors to hire and handle repairs as they see fit after moving in.
Deciding who should cover the cost of home repairs before the buyer moves in can be a complex process. Unless you’re buying a property “as is,” you have every right to request fixes for issues that come up during the home inspection. Overall, you want to ensure that your new house is safe, secure, and comfortable when it’s time to move in.