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After finding your dream home and submitting an offer for the house, the next step is to perform a home inspection. You will need to hire a home inspector to help you identify any issues requiring repair. In this case, you can ask the seller to fix the problem before continuing the transaction.
However, there are cases where the seller won't negotiate based on the inspection, which can be awkward and leave you uncertain about the property. In this article, you'll find tips to help you determine what to do, whether to walk away or continue with the transaction.
Understanding How to Negotiate with the Seller
Whether you or a buying agent are performing negotiations after a home inspection, it requires making specific considerations and having the right negotiating strategy to use with the real estate agent or seller.
This is important when you want the seller to perform repairs for issues identified during the inspection process. A key thing to remember is that the seller is not obligated to perform these repairs.
You must also know the differences between an unreasonable and a reasonable repair request. Here are some of the critical things to have in mind:
Does the seller need to make repairs?
In many cases, sellers are not obligated to make these repairs. However, there are exceptions to this, as some state regulations make some repairs non-negotiable. This includes repairs affecting water heater straps, smoke detectors, automatic gas shut-off valves, carbon monoxide detectors, and other retrofit components.
Always talk with your real estate agent to determine the state regulations and know what you can leverage before you ask for repairs. The seller may not know these regulations, so you should inquire before requesting.
What is an unreasonable repair request?
Sometimes, the seller may refuse to negotiate because they consider your request unreasonable. Minor issues cause more inconvenience than major issues, capable of causing an impact on the value and quality of the home.
These minor issues are considered unreasonable. Examples of some unreasonable repair requests include:
- Inexpensive repairs can be holes in the walls resulting from loose fixtures or pictures.
- Cosmetic repairs like trim work, landscaping, and paint colours
- Normal wear and tear
What is a reasonable repair request?
There are also cases where you make a reasonable repair request, but the seller will refuse to honour your request. Reasonable repair requests can be those that relate to the following:
- Structural issues like roof or foundation problems
- Major safety and health concerns like fire hazards, water damage, or the presence of mould.
- Some building code violations like an improperly functioning HVAC or electrical system.
As mentioned, the seller is not obligated to make these repairs unless otherwise stated by regulations.
What to Do if the Seller Refuses to Negotiate
There are many benefits to enjoy when you negotiate with the seller after inspecting your home, even though the seller isn't obligated to negotiate with you. For sales considered as-is, you won't be able to get the seller to perform repairs because they have already stated this from the beginning.
Nobody wants to lose, especially after going through the back-and-forth process of conversations and pre-inspection purchases. Therefore, if the seller does not negotiate repair after you perform a home inspection, you have some options to consider, which include:
- Consider another negotiation approach.
- Buy the house and make the repairs yourself.
- Walk away.
Consider another negotiation approach
As a home buyer, you need to know how to negotiate, especially when the seller won't negotiate. In such an instance, you'll need to reconsider another negotiation approach. You should consider trying different strategies after the home inspection process.
For example, you can consider getting detailed repair costs, prioritising some repairs, or understanding the market. If this is the first time you're entering a negotiation with the seller, and it didn't work out in your favour, you might want to consider one of the following strategies:
- Understand the real estate market: You may not have much of an advantage if it's a seller's market because they have many home buyers to choose from. However, you have the edge in a buyer's market because there are only a few buyers.
- Get quotes: The next thing you should consider is to get a formal quote from repair agents. This is a great way to let the seller know the actual numbers involved in the repair process.
- Use an attorney or real estate agent: Get a revised offer from an attorney or a real estate agent. With this, you can easily present your case to the seller. This can increase your chance of a successful renegotiation.
- Prioritise: Prioritising your repairs is excellent because it will allow you to decide the repairs that the seller will easily reconsider.
- Be reasonable: While making your request, always ensure that you are reasonable and not asking for too much.
Buy the house and repair it yourself
Often the seller would prefer to negotiate a cash reduction on the property than repair it themselves. This can be in your favour as then you can ensure that the job is repaired to your satisfaction.
With a cash deduction, you get some reduction in the closing cost for the property; with that, you have the full responsibility to perform the repairs. It will also make it simpler for you to save money on repairs.
The state of the housing market is the main factor determining whether to walk away or consider the other options above. Your final decision should also depend on your inspection contingency's outcome and advice from your real estate attorney and building inspector.
The inspection contingency is basically a clause in the sales contract for the buyer or buyer agent to make a final purchase offer according to the reports from their home inspection.
This clause also protects the buyer to ensure they don't lose their money deposit. Ensure to understand the conditions within the clause before anything else. If you choose to walk away, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Have you exhausted available resources to negotiate repairs?
- What is your timeline for moving into a new home?
- Is walking away worth it, compared to the other options available?
- Do you have a budget for the repairs?
- Can you get a better deal from another seller?
- Can you complete the repairs on your own?
The answers to these questions will assist in determining whether you should walk away or continue the transaction.
Deal or No Deal?
Nobody wants to lose money or the opportunity to move into their dream home after getting a home inspection. It's normal for the seller to refuse to negotiate after your home inspector finds some issues with the property.
However, always remember that you have different options whenever this happens. These options include trying a different negotiation approach to change the seller's mind, buying the house and making the repairs yourself, or simply walking away if you don't get a good repair deal.
The seller is not obligated to make these repairs. You should know the difference between an unreasonable and a reasonable repair request to increase your chance of a successful negotiation. These are all the key things to have in mind to help you make the right decision if the seller won't negotiate.
Ultimately, the importance of getting a building inspection should be considered, even if you're the one selling your home. It is a crucial process that can affect whether a buyer proceeds with buying the house or walking away. Make sure to work with professional building inspectors who can provide solid guidance and advice on the property based on their inspections.