How to Negotiate after a Home Inspection | My Move

How to Negotiate after a Home Inspection

Author: Dave Goodboy

Home inspections are a critical component of the real estate sales process. The agreement of sale often is contingent upon a satisfactory home inspection by a professional home inspector. Many buyers use the home inspection as a negotiating tool to lower the price and/or to have needed repairs completed prior to purchasing the home.

Smart sellers also hire home inspectors prior to listing their home so that they can obtain a heads-up on what buyers may insist get done prior to the purchase. This can allow the seller time to fix the problem themselves or find a less expensive solution without the time constraints of a pending home offer. Either way, negotiating after a home inspection is crucial.

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Using Repairs and Safety to Your Advantage

As a buyer, the home inspection will likely turn up issues that will provide you with negotiating ammunition to help lower the sales price. The home inspection report will let you know what parts of the house are in need of repair, and allow you to compare the home with homes in the area in a similar condition. Knowing these facts will empower the buyer to make a sensible offer for the property.

Issues of safety normally provide the buyer with powerful negotiating tools. Things like outdated electrical systems, violations of local codes, structural issues, broken beams and environmental concerns can be powerful home inspection negotiating points.

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Older Items as Leverage

Expensive items close to the end of their lifespan are often iffy fodder for successful negotiations. However, if properly framed, they can provide powerful price negotiation tools. As an example of iffy negotiating items, consider a 35-year-old roof that may need to be replaced. The seller will claim that the roof doesn't leak and, therefore, functions fine despite its age. The buyer will counter with the age and condition, hoping for an amicable settlement. Other iffy items can include furnaces and A/C units that work, but are close to dying.

Items such as these are difficult but can work as price-leveraging tools if you and your realtor are skilled at negotiation. What normally happens in these situations is that sellers will refuse to budge by responding that the item is not broken, and therefore needs no immediate action. On the other hand, a buyer does not wish to be saddled with avoidable expenses shortly after moving into a new home. Often each party will compromise just enough to get the deal completed. This compromise can include a partial credit on the sales price or the home seller splitting the cost to fix the item with the buyer.

A home inspection is worth the cost and can be a powerful tool in the right hands to obtain the optimum price for your next home. Everyone should have a home inspection contingency in their offer to purchase real estate.

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