Don't Sink a Deal with an Unfair Repair Request

Making a repair request as a buyer is a fairly common practice. When you make a request, you want to make sure that you are not out of line and end up costing yourself a good deal. Here are a few things to consider about repair requests and when you should make one. When a buyer is making an offer on a house, often they will make a contingent offer based on a report from a building inspector. If the inspector finds anything that is not acceptable, they will put it in a report that the buyer and seller will have access to. Inspectors know how buildings are supposed to be constructed and will alert the parties involved if there are any major issues to deal with. 

Repair Requests

If you are going to make a repair request, it should usually be done based on what the home inspector found. If you are requesting something to be fixed that was obviously present when you initially walked through the house, you probably should avoid asking it to be fixed. For example, if there is a problem with the flooring, you would know it immediately when you walked into the house for the first time. Because of this knowledge, you could have put something about the flooring in your original offer to the seller.

If you make repair requests after the initial offer that are not based on information provided by the building inspector, it can reflect negatively on you. There is no such thing as a perfect house, and you can find something wrong with every property if you look hard enough. Therefore, you can not reasonably expect a seller to fix every thing that is wrong with a property before the sale can go through. As a general rule, if you knew about a condition when you initially walked through the house and did not address it with the seller when you made the offer, then you should not submit a repair request for it later. 

Major vs Minor

In most cases, you are only going to ask for repairs when you are dealing with something major. Most of the small repairs that could be done should not be the responsibility of the seller. You only want to ask them to repair something that could cost you a large sum of money or a lot of time to fix. For example, you might want to have the roof or the foundation repaired if the inspector finds major issues. This way, you could potentially back out of the deal if the seller is unwilling to repair the major issues. If you purchase a house with major issues, you may be required to make a substantial investment before it is inhabitable.


Instead of having the seller repair the problems, you might also consider getting a credit on the purchase price of the property. This way, you can be in charge of selecting your own contractors and have more control over the process. Be sure to check with your lender before you write your contract because many lenders will not recognize large credits.

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