We all know that buying a home can be a stressful time. Things can get precarious when money and emotions are involved. When you’re bidding on a prime piece of real estate in a competitive market, with additional offers coming in, choosing what repairs to ask for can become even more strategic. In some cases, requesting too many “repairs” could potentially stall or even tank the sale, especially if there are other less-high-maintenance offers for the taking. When issues do surface during a home inspection or an initial walk-through, it’s important to request repairs that are deemed necessary such as anything related to a safety concern, or a repair that would be costly once you’ve taken ownership.
If you find yourself in a seller’s market or perhaps the property in question is in high demand, you probably want to ask for as little as possible. A good rule of thumb is to stick to key items such as: Roof, electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems. Be ready to prioritize and negotiate any requests for additional repairs and present your requests in an appealing manner. Try to have realistic expectations as to what is really a feasible repair request. The following are some requests that you should avoid making…
If You Are Going to Renovate It Yourself Soon, Then Don’t Ask for a Fix
Every time you request a property repair, you walk a fine line with the seller, who is hoping for an easy, quick sale. In essence, you are only lengthening the already long real estate process. If you are planning to renovate the bathroom or have a kitchen update in mind, it’s probably not worth asking the seller to replace those damaged baseboards or cracked tiles now. A better option might be to use the need for repairs during your negotiation process. Any credit can help your bottom line when you are ready to start those renovations.
Avoid Asking To Fix Basic Cosmetic Issues
When you’re in the thick of buying a new home, it’s tempting to ask the seller to add a fresh coat of paint or replace the carpeting. However, most real estate agents recommend overlooking simple cosmetic repairs especially if you can afford to fix them after closing. An added benefit of waiting is that you can select our own contractor which gives you more control over the quality. Keep in mind there could be other buyers vying for the same property who might not have any requests, thus, making them a much more attractive buyer. So you might want to ask yourself, “How important is that new coat of paint?”
Don’t Bother Asking for Missing Smoke and/or Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Most states require that every room has one, but if they’re missing, let it go. Depending on where you live, a seller may be required to replace any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors prior to selling. However, it shouldn’t be a deal breaker. This is an easy and inexpensive fix, and not worth risking losing the sale. Just make a mental note to replace any missing detectors after closing.
Avoid Sending Over a List of $10 Repairs
No matter how badly you want that jammed door in the hallway repaired, if it’s not flagged on the inspection report as a safety concern or code violation, it’s probably best to skip it. Remember, sellers have real estate agents too. If a seller is presented with a long list of minor repairs that have to be made in time to meet a closing deadline, their agent may suggest that they wait for a potentially lower maintenance (i.e. fewer repairs) offer down the road. Keep calm, and remember: You can always hire a contractor or handyman to do some work after you close.
Avoid Asking for Minor Electrical Fixes
A non-working light switch or faulty electrical socket that lands on the inspection report may seem like an obvious fix you should request. However, it’s basically a minor thing and not necessarily a sign of larger issues. These types of repairs can easily be taken care of after closing as time allows. Don’t hold up the process for something so trivial.
Avoid Worrying About Loose Railings
If you take one step up the front stairs and realize the railing is wobbly and loose, it seems like a no-brainer to ask for a fix. Even if a railing is dinged during the inspection for not being up to code, you may want to think twice before asking for repairs. If the buyer is particular about the way it should be repaired/replaced, it might make more sense to negotiate a credit from the seller and do the repair yourself. Again, some lenders may not allow closing to proceed with an issue like this pending.
Get Clear Answers From The Home Inspector If There Are Signs of Water Damage
This is a tough one as signs of previous water damage – like a water spot on a ceiling – could indicate a larger, chronic issue, or it could simply be a spot that’s an unfortunate leftover from a repaired water issue. When it comes to water damage issues, rely on the expertise of your home inspector. He/she can give you guidance on what should be done on a case by case basis. Any minimal damage could probably be repaired later. However, if the damage appears to be serious or is unknown, it is a good idea to request repair prior to closing on the property. You also need to confirm if any mold is present due to the water damage. Please note that some lenders may require that any damage or wood rot be repaired/replaced prior to a closing.
Termite Remediation May Be Something To Ask For After You Hear Back from The Home Inspector
They may be small, but as you can imagine, the presence of these can wreak havoc on a home and in turn, greatly affect the sale of one. If you’re taking out a mortgage loan, confirmation of a termite infestation can put your loan at risk. Sadly, if you encounter terminates, it might be best to walk away than request remediation. Some insurance companies will not insure a property that does not show a clean termite inspection report. This is one item that most sellers are going to have to fix for any buyer who needs mortgage financing. Again, if multiple offers are in-play, requesting remediation could be turned down as they can easily sell to someone else who isn’t asking for it. Seek the advice of your real estate agent for the best direction if you encounter this issue.
Navigating the real estate process can be anxiety-ridden at best. Rely on your real estate professional to guide you through any stage of the process with his/her advice and direction. An experienced agent has seen and heard it all before and will use their well-honed knowledge to get you into the house of your dreams.
Tom Reese has 20+ years experience in helping his clients sell their homes for a price that sells and makes them a profit. Tom has helped his clients buy and sell property in every neighborhood in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati.
About Tom Reese
Helping my clients attain their dreams has been the foundation of my success. With my strong attention to customer service, I have earned my clients continued support and referrals. Put my enthusiasm and dedication to work for you!
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Tom may be new to rapping but he’s not new to real estate!