Most buyers and sellers believe the real estate “deal” is negotiated at the signing of the contract. By that point, the counteroffers have been made and the back and forth has happened, so it’s easy to assume that the deal will go on auto-pilot until closing. Not so fast… Its time for home inspection repair negotiations!
The reality though is that in many cases the deal-making and negotiations only started at the contract signing. Even in more competitive real estate markets, negotiations still happen once in escrow.
For example, maybe the HVAC system has some issues – may prompt you to seek a credit. But where do you go from there?
Here are three tips for negotiating repairs after a home inspection.
Ask for a credit for the work to be done
1. The sellers are on their way out. If the property is moving toward closing, they’re likely packing and dreaming of their new home. The last thing they want to do is deal with repairs and work on their old home. As a result, they may not be as thorough as you, as the new owner would. They may not treat the work as a high priority. If you take a cash-back credit at close of escrow, you can use that money to complete the project yourself. Chances are you may do a better job than the seller. Finally, if you get the credit there will be less back and forth to confirm the work has been done.
2. If you know you want to renovate a bathroom within a few years, then you likely won’t care that a little bit of its floor id damaged, that there’s a leaky faucet or that the caulking needs to be redone. These things will get fixed during the future renovation. However, the repairs are still up for negotiation. Asking the seller for a credit to fix these issues will help offset some of your closing cost.
3. A good listing agent will walk the property inspection with you, your agent and the inspector. Revealing your comfort level with the home or your intentions, in the presence of the listing agent, could come back to haunt you in the further discussions or negotiations.
For example, if you mention you’re planning a gut renovation of the kitchen, the sellers will certainly hear about it. And they’re going to be less likely to offer you a credit back to repair some of the kitchen cabinets. Also, if the listing agent hears you tell the inspector that you love the home so much you don’t mind replacing the HVAC system the agent will surely let the sellers know about that.
Eyes wide open
A word of caution: You should never complete the original contract assuming that you can negotiate more as a result of the property inspections. It’s a competitive market and the property inspection comes back flawless, there’s nothing to negotiate. If you attempt to negotiate anyways to recoup what you lost in maybe an initial negotiation. You risk alienating the sellers and possibly giving them an incentive to move on to the next buyer.
A real estate transaction is never a done deal until all the money has been wired in and deed transferred. Prior to signing the real estate contract, your main concern is that you may be competing with other buyers.