Is a Home Seller Required to Fix Things Found During a Home Inspection?

Let’s face it, selling a house can be a challenging experience.  Finding a qualified agent, deciding on a price, preparing to move and locating a new home is part of a long list of things that make the process stressful. Then, you get an offer and can clearly see finish line. The buyer has the financing, you have a new place lined up, everything is falling into place. Only one last hurdle…the home inspection.

Let’s Get Started…

On the surface, the inspection sounds simple enough.  The new buyers just want to get a professional set of eyes on their purchase to be sure things are working okay. However, over the years home inspections have evolved a great deal and are now more detailed than ever. Home inspectors are not trying to be picky, cause problems, or make it difficult for sellers. The change has been a reaction to buyers wanting more detailed reports and requesting additional inspections if they think something was “missed”.

On the home inspection report…

An extremely detailed report always shows something that needs to be repaired, even on a new house. The result is the homebuyer will often try to ask for repairs to be made or the purchase price reduced in lieu of performing the repairs. I often hear sellers lament that they were, “required” to fix something to sell their house. In most cases this is not accurate.  There are some items that certain states or municipalities can require but they are generally minor.

Here is the details…

What the seller is really asking for is a negotiation. As with any negotiation, there is really nothing you MUST do.  It’s more an opportunity for buyers and sellers to come to an agreement as to who will pay for some things the house needs.  As a home seller you are completely within your rights to refuse to perform most repairs or credit buyers for things after a home inspection. Of course, the buyer also has the right to not buy your house.  The most important thing to remember is that it is a negotiation and you should not feel pressured to do things.

Who has the power?

Like any negotiation, the person who is willing to walk away has the most power so housing market conditions can play a huge role.  If it is a strong seller’s market, a buyer will have trouble finding a house so asking for a bunch of repairs may not go over well. You could simply accept another buyer’s offer. If it’s a strong seller’s market, you might even consider an “as-is contract”, which could require the buyer to purchase no matter what the home inspection reveals. Conversely, in a strong buyer’s market, a seller is often wise to take care of a buyer’s requests since it can be a challenge to get an offer.

Remember this!

Always remember as a home seller that you ultimately have the power to determine your fate when selling your house and little, if anything, is REQUIRED to be done as a result of a home inspection.