Negotiating After Home Inspections

Published on December 12, 2017

– 3 min read

After a home inspection, you as the buyer are in a position to think through the home’s condition and decide if your offer still makes sense.

While it’s common for buyers and sellers to negotiate at this stage of process, there are no steadfast rules about what should and should not happen. Rather, what happens is highly dependent on the buyers’ and sellers’ personal situations, as well as the market and the home inspections’ findings.

That said, we’d like to share an overview of your options and what’s to think about to ready yourself for this phase.

What can I negotiate after the inspection?

After the inspection, you as the buyer may have four options.

  1. Do nothing. If no major issues were found during the inspection, you can choose to move forward with the offer as originally planned. This is an ideal scenario!
  2.  

  3. Have the seller take care of repairs. If there are small things the seller could do themselves so you don’t have to deal with it after you move in, you could ask them to fix them. If the items are slightly more involved, and would require outside expertise, it’s best to have an agreement on who shall perform the repairs and ask the seller provide receipts. This includes needing to hire professionals like:
     

    • Plumber
    • Exterminator
    • Roofer
    • Electrician
    • Sewer contractor
    • Heating and ventilation expert (furnace repair or maintenance)
    • General handyman/contractor for deck repairs or other carpentry issues

     
    As a rule of thumb, you should be more focussed on safety, function, and structural integrity repairs than on cosmetics. Items like:

    • Sewer repairs
    • Rats or pet infestation
    • Roof repairs or replacement
    • Replacing cracked windows
    • Appliance repair or replacement
    • Issues with electrical panel or wiring
    • Garage door functionality and safety
    • Dry rot or evidence of past water damage

     

    Also think about the big picture of what you plan on doing with the home. For example, if you know you will be remodeling a specific room in the near future, it may not be a huge deal if some work needs to be done there.

  4. Renegotiate price. If issues were found that are fixable, but costly, you might ask the seller to lower the home price in order to account for these costs. Another way to address the costs of major repairs is to ask the sellers for a credit toward your closing costs without lowering the purchase price. This means you need to bring less cash to the closing table, and will have more money to tackle the most urgent repairs.
  5.  

  6. Walk away from the deal. If big issues were found during the inspection, you might decide that you want to retract your offer altogether. You are only able to do this, however, if you had an inspection contingency in your original purchase contract. Sometimes buyers waive contingencies to get an offer accepted in a competitive market, but before you do so, make sure that you’re well aware of what that means. Generally, buyers aim to protect themselves from deal-breaker issues so they include a home inspection contingency.

 
Final thought: Just because you ask for things doesn’t mean the seller will agree. There is often a give and take that happens between a buyer and seller after a home inspection. If you ask for too much from the seller, there’s a chance the seller may feel upset and doesn’t concede on anything. If you ask for too little and really need work done on the home, you may feel like you’re overpaying or, even worse, take safety risks for you or your family. Talk to your realtor about what you want. They may have insights on the sellers and can help you navigate.

There you have it, our thoughts on negotiating after a home inspection. If you feel ready to start shopping for a new home now, you can get pre-qualified instantly or chat with a licensed Loan Specialist. Good luck!

Steven Fung
Steven Fung is a licensed Loan Specialist at Clara with over 17 years of experience. When he doesn’t have his mortgage hat on, he enjoys repairing old cars and working on home improvement projects.
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