Repairs and Renegotiation
Your First Home: The Proven Path to Home Ownership
A Keller Williams ® Realty Guide
By Gary Keller with Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan
Once you have your inspection report, we want you to know your first job is simple: read it.
Many agents say they’re amazed by the number of people who approach their inspection like a hurdle to jump over; rather than as a valuable new source of information about the property they’re considering to buy.
“When my daughter bought her house, she didn’t pay attention to the details of her inspection and ended up with all sorts of problems,” says New York agent Mohammad Abbasi. “This is all too common. In the rush of things, people don’t take the time to read the report and miss the opportunity to make the seller take care of the problems for them.”
So you’re flipping through your inspection report, noting page after page of problems the inspector found in your “former” dream home. Your first response, when you get to page five or so, is probably a heartfelt “Eeeeek!”
Don’t panic. There are no perfect homes. Unless your home is new, it’s virtually guaranteed to have some wear and tear. An inspector’s job is to note everything-everything-that’s not perfect about the property, right down to the minor, easily fixed “problems,” such as replacing a missing window screens or broken switch plates, which annoys about everyone. However, asking a seller to replace every broken doorknob is a surefire deal-killer. Custom (not to mention common sense) dictates that buyers not ask the unreasonable. But what, exactly, is “unreasonable”? This will vary from place to place and market to market, and your real estate agent will be able to guide you toward what is and isn’t a typical, reasonable request.
“Put yourself in the seller’s shoes,” says agent Shannon Jones. “If there are any health-and-safety concerns, most people would consider those repairs reasonable. But most sellers will say no if you just come in with a laundry list.” In short, the right to handle your inspection report is to avoid demanding the sellers fix every little thing. Instead, take the time to sort out problems that are actually worth worrying about and negotiating over.
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