Handling Home Inspection Repair Requests
If you’re selling your home, you might wonder if there are common repairs needed after a home inspection. Most buyers, after all, won’t commit to purchasing a place until it’s been thoroughly vetted by a home inspector—and rest assured, if there are problems, this professional will find them!
In fact, your real estate agent is highly likely to recommend making your offer to purchase contingent on a home inspection, right up there with appraisal and financing approval.
So if your home inspection turns up flaws that your home buyer wants to be fixed, what then?
Read about 7 of the most common home inspection problems and find the average cost to fix each one.
1. Outdated Or Dangerous Wiring
Faulty wiring tops the list of problematic (not to mention dangerous) home inspection findings. If your inspector finds:
A) the electrical power is supplied by an out-of-date system such as knob-and-tube wiring or
B) there are indications of dangerous wires, you might need to hire an electrician to rewire the whole house, a major undertaking.
When you just have to replace a few outlets – for example substituting GFI outlet receptacles for the standard variety — the fix will require much less time and money.
2. Damp Basement
Untreated dampness in the basement will lead to mildew and unhealthy indoor air quality. There are several potential methods to channel outdoor moisture away from the house:
A) get the yard properly graded,
B) have French drains installed, or
C) ensure that all gutters and downspouts are in good shape and correctly positioned.
3. Roof Damage
A damaged or aging roof may have blown-off, curling, or brittle shingles. Its flashings might be cracked or missing. Either of these situations is a red flag for future roof leaks (if there is not an active leak already), which in turn eventually result in water damage to the home’s interior.
4. Foundation Warning Signs
A house foundation in trouble shows distinct warning signs, which only get worse if left unattended. Your home inspector can interpret whether these signals mean, “Beware!” (diagonal cracking, crumbling mortar, bulging walls, sinking) or “This is something you might want to cope with” (vertical crack less than 1/16” wide, puddles adjacent to the foundation.)
5. Plumbing Malfunctions
How might home plumbing go wrong? Plumbing malfunctions often start small and turn into a huge headache (and strain on your wallet) over time. Dripping faucets, clogged drains, overly high or low water pressure, a damaged washing machine hose, and any sort of plumbing leak will have to be fixed to make the house truly habitable.
6. Inefficient Ventilation
Poor ventilation (such as a vent hood that merely removes kitchen odors and doesn’t vent steam outside) raises the indoor relative humidity level. This leads to condensation on windows, and eventually fungi and molds throughout the house. Combined with uber-enthusiastic insulation (seller’s DIY project, perhaps?), it also makes the attic overly hot, which is both energy-INefficient and very hard on the roof.
Home Inspection Repair Requests To Avoid
1. Cosmetic issues
These include problems like a deck that needs staining, touching up the paint, or repairing a cracked tile may catch your eye and bother you a bit, but they are not the kind of problems that need dealing with right away. Cosmetic issues are at the top of the list for a seller to avoid fixing.
2. Inexpensive Repairs
Minor issues under a hundred dollars to fix are definitely home inspection repair requests a buyer shouldn’t make! Problems that arise from repair requests are not always about the financial cost, however, this is taking being nitpicky to the extreme.
There may be a hundred little things that need to be fixed on a home, but both you and the buyer only have so much time to close a deal.
3. Renovations you are planning
The buyers may look over the house and imagine some improvements that will make it perfect for them and their lifestyle. However, it is important to remember that you are not responsible for preparing their dream home. You just want to sell the home for the best possible price and be done with it.
4. Cracks in a basement floor
Concrete by nature is a very porous substance. It absorbs water and naturally settles. Cracks in concrete floors are entirely expected and not a structural problem.
However, if your house has cracks in the cellar wall, it is important to determine if they are structural or not. Most of the time they are not a concern unless the wall has shifted, or the size of the crack has opened up a significant amount.
5. Loose fixtures, railings, and similar issues
A loose doorknob, light fixture, or railing on a deck or stairwell may be annoying, or even potentially unsafe, but these problems are also often fixable with basic hand tools and a little effort. If you can’t tighten the screws yourself – such as if they are stripped out, or if the material involved is old and worn out – you can hire a contractor to fix the problem for a reasonable price.
Obviously, if there are vast areas of rot or decay or major safety concerns, you can demand repair. But if the issue is minor, avoid stressing about it for the moment.
6. Minor water damage
When water saturates interior building materials, like drywall, it can look pretty bad. The buyer is unlikely to miss such damage as you wander through the house. Unfortunately, the home inspector is not going to miss the signs of water damage either, and he or she can tell you the severity of the problem. If the water has caused significant damage, the inspector will let you know, and you can work on appropriate repairs. But if the water damage is merely cosmetic, don’t stress about it.
7. External buildings
If you are in a competitive market, you are going to have to be able to let some things go when it comes to other buildings on the property. Sheds are prone to rot; garages tend to get dirty.
If there are serious issues, it may be better to fix them, but if the shed or the garage looks like every other shed or garage in the neighborhood – that is, less than perfect – it may just be something the buyers are going to have to deal with themselves.
8. Minor yard problems
The buyers can’t expect you to plant the flower beds and install a fountain just for them. You also won’t be too keen on making minor landscaping repairs that they can just do by themselves after they have bought the home.
Home inspection repairs that are negotiable
Between repairs that are typically required and those that aren’t is a whole gray area of repairs that are up for grabs. How you handle those depends in part on the market you’re in. If you’re in a hot seller’s market, you have more power to call the shots.
“While buyers are always advised to have a home inspection so they know what they are buying when there are a limited number of homes for sale and buyers need to compete for homes, they are more likely to waive their right to ask a seller to make repairs,” says Lerner.
In fact, “the best contract for a seller would be for the buyer to agree to purchase your home as-is or to request an ‘information only’ home inspection, thus absolving you of any need to pay for any repairs.”
However, in a normal market, you won’t be able to draw such a hard and fast line. Work with your real estate agent to understand what items you should tackle and where you might want to push back.
You’ll want to be reasonable—after all, you’ve already put a lot of time into the selling process, and it’s likely in your best interest to accommodate some repairs rather than allowing the buyer to walk away. Also, depending on the magnitude of the requested repair, it’s not likely to go away. Now that it’s been uncovered, you’ll need to disclose the issue to the next buyer.
If you have an older home and know you have some defects needing attention, a home inspection might be worth the money! Anytime you can prevent a home inspection from causing your sale to go down the tubes is a good thing.
Depending on the state of your home, you may not be able to get every last penny you hoped. However, selling for a reasonable price is worth spending a little money.
Give us a call and our team at Falaya will make sure to guide your choices and do their best to negotiate the home inspection issues with skill, and you should be able to sell without spending more than is reasonable.