11 Common Repairs Needed After Home Inspection: Reasonable Requests

One of the most important aspects of buying and selling a home is a home inspection. Buyers want to know if the property they are eyeing is worth it since they know that a lot of work still needs to be done after purchasing it. Sellers are doing business, so they also want to make a profit from the sale.

An inspection gives a buyer clues about the house’s overall condition, especially issues that are not immediately visible. That way, the buyer can assess whether to continue the deal or look elsewhere. On the other hand, sellers can get a pre-listing inspection to find any issues they can fix before listing their home to get a higher sale price.

note book with the word inspected on it

If you are on the lookout for a new property, an inspection also gives you some leverage in the sale – you can ask the seller to fix any unearthed issues or get cash credit for the necessary repairs. However, this does not mean that you can demand the seller fix every issue an inspector sees.

If you ask the seller to get the property fixed up first, make sure that your repair requests are reasonable. But if you are wondering what kind of requests are those, don’t worry because we will walk you through that and more.

Sellers will also benefit from this article. They will better understand what repair requests they can accommodate and which ones should be left to the buyer.

Here’s everything you need to know about common and reasonable repair requests after a home inspection. Remember that requesting repairs will depend on how an offer was structured.

person looking at a property

Common Reasons Why Home Inspections Fail

Many people think that only old homes can fail an inspection. That is why there are times that both the seller and the buyer are surprised when it happens to relatively newer construction. But why does this happen?

Contrary to what most people think, a visibly rundown house is not the only one that can fail an inspection. There may be some major issues that only caught the attention of the inspector, not the seller.

It may seem that they will check on every nook and cranny. Still, the reality is that they will only focus primarily on the following:

Structural and House Grading Issues

The condition of foundations and other structures that support and keep it standing is among the first things an inspector will look at. After all, these structures determine their livability. Any structural issues discovered cause concern, as these put safety in question. Large cracks and doors that will not properly close are usual signs that they look for.

Foundation defects are also caused by house grading issues, which means water slopes toward the house instead of away from it. If so, it settles there. Unknown to most, too much water can damage and weaken the foundations.

Condition of the Roof and Its Components

One of the most common aspects that people neglect is the roof. And unless they already experience roof-related problems, they will assume that the roof is still in good condition.

An inspector will often get a closer look at the roof. It includes the roofing system, and assess its overall condition. He can also estimate how long the roof can still be used. If he believes that a new roof is needed asap, know that this will cost a lot. Many buyers consider it a deal-breaker because of how expensive a roof replacement is.

volunteers doing roof repair

He will also check other components installed on the roof, such as chimneys and gutters. Chimneys in poor condition cause various issues, such as mold growth and structural defects. There may also be water damage, especially in old places. That is why it usually warrants a closer look as well.

Water and Drainage Issues

Inspectors will also check a house for any signs of water damage – from the roof down to the foundations. If present in the basement, there is a chance that structural components may have been affected. Basements will inform any inspector of any water-related issues, such as too much moisture and water seepage. They are often considered a bad sign.

Drainage issues are also common and are not just found in clogged bathrooms and kitchens and may not be as simple as what people think. While it is usually caused by blockages that can be easily removed, slow drainage may also signify problems with the sewage system itself that will require major repairs.

Supply Lines, Piping, and Plumbing Issues

Leaking water pipes is a regular occurrence, and it is known as one of the known issues that pros see. Though seemingly harmless, leaks can cause all sorts of problems when left unrepaired. This is one aspect they’ll investigate; they will look for any visible effects of leaks. Also, low water pressure can indicate either plumbing issues or that the entire plumbing system is outdated.

Supply lines and pipes may also exhibit problems, such as those for gas and the sewer system. They are harder to fix, but they can also be dangerous since there are different health effects that gas leaks and sewer leaks can cause. Note that inspectors can only watch out for signs of such leaks but not confirm it since experts in those fields can only do confirmation.

Presence Mold and Mildew

The presence of mold is not just an eyesore, but it is also known to trigger different health issues. While they typically see mold in attics and walls, a mold infestation can happen anywhere. Mildew is also often found alongside mold, but it is safer since it poses no health risks.

Their presence indicates that the property has moisture issues, which may be caused by various structure-related factors such as poor ventilation.

Pest

Various pests are known to build their nests in different areas of any home; even a seemingly new place may unknowingly house these critters. A house inspection will reveal if any of these pests have infiltrated a property through any visible damage they caused. Termites eat away parts of a home that can compromise structural integrity. There may be issues with things like mice that you want to address, too.

little mouse peaking out

Electrical Issues

Faulty electrical wirings can easily become a fire hazard. That is why electrical systems must always be up to code. Some common issues found in an inspection include over-fusing and not grounded wirings. The absence of ground fault interrupters and outlets having reverse polarity are other issues an inspector can encounter. A double-tapped breaker is another issue.

While most electrical issues can be easily fixed, the presence of knot and tube wiring will send a red flag. It’s because it is known to be a fire hazard. This wiring style is present in homes that date back to between 1800 to the mid-1900s, and the only fix is to rewire the home completely.

Problems with the HVAC

An HVAC system should still be in working order and can efficiently provide heating and cooling throughout the entire home. It includes its components, such as insulations and vents. They will check it by switching on the heating and air conditioning and allowing it to run for a short while.

They often find problems with the furnace, as not all homeowners get it to undergo regular maintenance. They will also check on its age because it has a limited lifespan. If it has been in use for around 25 years, an inspector will likely recommend getting a new one.

Faulty Doors and Windows

Inspectors often discover doors and windows that are broken or refuse to open or close, especially in old homes. These components easily succumb to wear and tear, and most homeowners learn to live with them instead of getting them fixed. However, buyers and pros will likely see it as a sign of neglect and poor maintenance. They can also take it as a sign of the home’s overall condition.

Malfunctioning doors and windows are not just a cosmetic issue. If left alone for too long, they also lead to different issues. It includes water damage and higher consumption, because the HVAC system works overtime to get the desired comfort level. As a result, inspectors may also see such issues in the home.

Security Concerns

People want to feel safe in their own homes. That is why they will also look for any security features present. Locks on the doors and windows must be working properly. There should be carbon monoxide, and smoke detectors present and in good condition.

Wood Rot

Although typically considered a cosmetic issue, the presence of rotting wood can also be a safety concern. Rotting wooden stairs or flooring is dangerous because its strength is compromised. Anyone who steps on it may get into an accident. Rotting door frames are also a concern. They may no longer properly hold the door in place, allowing it to collapse anytime.

Presence of Dangerous Substances

Old homes are at risk for various toxic substances. Still, lead and asbestos are at the forefront of those that must be addressed immediately. The scope is limited to visual inspections. Because of this, they assume homes built before the lead and asbestos bans in late 1970 are positive for those substances.

brick wall with lead paint on it

On the other hand, radon is a dangerous substance found in both old and relatively newer places. Unfortunately, radon leaks can happen anywhere since they are naturally occurring substances. However, some zones are more prone to radon leaks than others.

Testing for radon is also beyond the scope of a typical inspector. They will also assume that a home may have a high risk for radon leaks based on its location.

In sum, the role of inspectors is only to assess the overall condition of the house through a visual inspection. They’ll test various systems and components to check if they are still in working order.

They cannot tell you if the selling price is fair, nor will they know if a house meets the local building codes. And unless the cosmetic issues present affect the structural integrity of a house, these will only be considered a minor issue.

An inspection will only tell you if the house is livable or not and any aspects that need fixing.

What Happens Afterwards?

The actual inspection often takes only a few hours. Getting the final report to help you gauge whether to close the sale still or not usually takes a few days to two weeks. A buyer’s decision should not be solely based on the report. You will find that sellers are often willing to compromise with buyers on certain aspects. They will both talk about after finding out the home inspection results.

Once a buyer receives the report, he or she must evaluate if the issues presented are bad enough to cancel the sale. Maybe they’re willing to negotiate and work with the seller for a fairer deal for both parties. It may take some time until the negotiations are completed. There is always no guarantee that it will lead to closing.

Both parties can either finalize and iron out various details before closing the sale or cancel it if negotiations fall apart.

How Do You Negotiate After a Home Inspection?

Both buyers and sellers know that closing will depend a lot on the results of their negotiations. This can be the most stressful for many, even with real estate agents present to help them out. This is because they know that negotiations can make or break the sale.

When it comes to negotiating, always keep these in mind:

  • Never reveal any of your renovation plans, as it will work to your disadvantage. This will give the seller the impression you are completely decided on getting the house. You may easily acquiesce to anything to get it.
  • Focus only on the major issues. Talking about trivial matters can serve as an excuse for the seller to only work on those minor issues. They know it will be cheaper to address than major ones. The seller can agree to repainting the entire house and changing the flooring being incessantly complained about. They might do it if the buyer handles the more expensive roof replacement.
  • Always consider the option of walking away, no matter how much you want the property. As a buyer, you must ask yourself whether these issues are still worth fixing or you are just better off finding another property.
  • Consider the market. If you know that you are not the only interested buyer, it is best that your demands are kept to a minimum. Sellers have the upper hand in this scenario. They can simply choose the less demanding and more reasonable buyer to sell their home to.
  • Be respectful. Many buyers think that they always have the upper hand in negotiations. They forget that sellers also have the right to refuse potential buyers they do not like, even if it means losing a possible sale.

Major negotiations happen after a home inspection and before closing. The final report will serve as the main basis for both buyers and sellers to agree. Any findings should ideally be first discussed with the inspector present so that both parties will understand the seriousness of the issues discovered.

These negotiations will typically start with deciding who will shoulder the major repairs needed. Save for those that sellers must handle following state laws.

If both parties agree to get the house fixed up by the seller, the buyer must formally give the seller a Request for Repairs form or RR form. This list enumerates the repairs that a buyer believes must be handled by the seller. They should know that sellers are free only to accommodate repair requests that they see as reasonable, not everything a buyer has listed down.

There is no guarantee that the repairs handled by the seller will meet the buyer’s standards, especially if the seller is rushing the sale. But if you agree that the seller will fix these issues, request a home warranty for your peace of mind.

A more advisable solution is for a buyer to handle the repairs and negotiate for a repair credit with the seller. It means the buyer will handle the repairs. Still, the repair costs will be deducted from the property’s final sale price. Getting credit is also advisable if the buyer knows that the seller is too busy or financially incapable of doing the repairs needed.

With this, buyers are assured that the repairs are handled according to their standards. The sellers avoid the hassle of handling repairs before closing. This is a preferable solution for many buyers and sellers.

What Fixes are Mandatory After a Home Inspection?

One aspect that both buyers and sellers often do not see eye-to-eye on is the repairs needed after an inspection. Many buyers demand that sellers repair every flaw on the home before moving forward. In contrast, sellers are only willing to handle important issues based on the report and mandatory fixes. IT depends on state laws.

But in general, any defect discovered after an inspection that compromises the health and safety of the people who will occupy the home must be fixed.

The question now for both the buyer and seller is: who will shoulder those repairs? This answer will depend on their negotiations but in most cases. Sellers are expected to get these major repairs done.

home inspection illustration

What Are Generally Reasonable Requests After a Home Inspection?

Buyers believe that a report lists down all that is wrong with the house that they should ask sellers to fix before closing the sale. However, they do not realize that sellers are not required to say ‘yes’ to anything a buyer says. Sellers are often accommodating to buyers’ requests. Buyers should also know that these sellers will only entertain those they feel are reasonable.

Reasonable repair requests that a buyer can ask a seller to address after doing an inspection are those that they consider as important. They often involve the following:

  • Structural integrity – things such as foundations that are badly damaged and other defects due to poor construction.
  • Electrical – It includes electrical panels and wirings that are unsafe for use or outdated and no longer meet the building codes and safety standards.
  • Roof – major problems like damaged or missing shingles and leaks
  • Pests – from removal or extermination to ensuring that the home is completely pest-free
  • HVAC – such as failing or outdated components
  • Plumbing and Water – outdated and leaking pipes, major drainage issues, low water pressure, and other issues due to water damage
  • Lead – Sellers are required by law to disclose if a home has lead paint, and lead paint test kits are enough to confirm this. If testing is yet to be done by the seller, buyers should insist on doing a bulk test to determine the extent of the use of lead-based paint in the property. This can be done with something like a handheld XRF machine.
  • Asbestos – It’s important if components often associated with asbestos are damaged.
  • Radon – high radon levels are often found in basements, and only testing will confirm the levels. It cannot be checked through sight or smell.
  • Mold – Significant mold infestation must be addressed due to the health risks involved.

Buyers should keep in mind that they are not buying a brand-new home, so they should expect some flaws with the property. Only request repairs that they consider a major deal-breaker that can put anyone’s safety and health at risk.

Unreasonable requests focus on only cosmetic issues that have no bearing on the structure itself. It includes things such as broken tiles and worn-down flooring. It can be peeling wallpaper and faded paint. Any issues that involve external buildings are also expected to be handled by the buyer since it has no bearing on the main house. A good rule of thumb is if the repairs cost less than $100, buyers should handle it.

Don’t be surprised if a seller turns down certain repair requests, or even all of them if there are other interested buyers. Sellers want to move on quickly with the sale and would rather not handle any repairs unless mandated by law. They also want to finish it quickly, which may compromise any repairs.

Is A Seller Entitled to the Inspection Report?

home inspector

In many states, sellers are legally required to disclose any issues present in the home they are listing. After getting a pre-listing inspection or without it, they can do it as long as they indicate all the issues they are aware of. They will only rely on the buyer’s inspection since buyers are given a period to inspect their own before heading to the negotiation table.

Buyers who hired someone to check on the condition of a home they are eyeing are expected to receive the report once completed. They paid for the service. They often only give a full copy to their realtor to better understand what to do with the transaction.

On the other hand, Sellers are not entitled to the same report. While a seller can request a copy, it is up to the buyer whether to furnish them with a copy or not or share certain sections.

If the home passes, sellers themselves no longer ask for a copy. But if it fails, buyers typically provide only the major concerns discovered during the inspection. They don’t provide the entire report. Once the buyer fills out an RR form, they often include relevant report sections to support their repair requests.

Sellers often only get a general gist of the report’s content once negotiations start. Buyers will use the report as their bargaining chip and discuss what should be done. They cannot do that if the seller has no idea what the buyer is talking about.

An inspector is legally bound to report to whoever hired his or her service. This means if you hired the inspector, they must only give the result to you. The report is only given to the buyer for a buyer’s inspection. On the other hand, a pre-listing inspection means that only the seller will get the report. However, the seller must divulge important findings.

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