As a homebuyer looking at a property, your focus might be on cosmetic features like the new appliances or the recently renovated basement, and you miss important details that are not in plain view. But this is hardly your fault as a buyer. When it boils down to it, you’re not a home-building expert; aside from that, not all sellers are forthcoming in sharing certain information regarding the home’s condition, and this is where a Florida home inspection proves invaluable.
A qualified inspector will find the issues and problems you may have missed. But this also raises the question: what constitutes an acceptable repair request for the seller? In this article, we’ll go over why home inspections are important and which repairs are reasonable and unreasonable for buyers to ask of the sellers.
What Should You Ask the Seller to Fix After a Florida Home Inspection?
A Central Florida home inspection involves a thorough examination of the visual features of a home, as well as the systems such as plumbing, electrical, heating, and air. They serve an essential purpose for the buyer and seller as they can uncover unnoticed problems that could be costly or even dangerous down the road. A buyer could leverage this information when negotiating their offer if a home inspector discovers a necessary repair. A seller could also use the information to make the repair and maintain their price.
What to Do After the Inspection Is Complete
Once a qualified home inspector has made his rounds and analyzed the property, he or she will provide an inspection report with their findings. If the damage appears to be extensive, a buyer can cancel the sale altogether or begin negotiating the price lower.
Be Aware of Market Conditions
It’s essential to keep in mind that the overall housing market can impact the outcome of who holds the balance of power after a home inspection is complete. For example, if it’s a seller’s market, meaning there are fewer homes on the market, demand will be higher, thus providing sellers with an advantage. If one buyer isn’t willing to budge on a repair expense in a seller’s market, the listing party may listen to other offers to see if another buyer is more flexible.
In contrast, a buyer’s market gives the buying party an advantage. If the supply of homes on the market is high but few viable buyers are shopping around, a motivated seller may need to give a little more than they’d like in order to close the deal.
After the home inspection is complete and the buyer has the report with a list of necessary repairs, it may be helpful to consult with their realtor about which items can reasonably be sent to the sellers for repairs. While the seller is not obligated to fix the problems, nor can they be forced to do so, it is in their best interest to handle them anyway.
So what constitutes a reasonable repair request? This typically involves problems that could result in safety or health concerns. While some repairs are more common than others, anything that threatens the well-being of residents in a home should be addressed by the seller. The following are some typical repair items that tend to show up in inspection reports:
HVAC Problems (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning)
HVAC problems are a cause of concern for several reasons. The first and most obvious is not having the advantage of acclimatizing your home during times of extreme heat or cold. However, the more important reason is that broken HVAC systems pose a serious safety concern. A malfunction in this system can cause a fire and other perilous situations.
What’s the first line of defense for a home against rain and snow? The roof! And as a buyer, it is entirely reasonable to ask the seller to fix a damaged roof. This includes broken shingles, a leaky roof, or any other damage it has suffered. If this problem is not recent, it would be wise to analyze any subsequent damage that may have occurred as a result of the faulty roof.
Nothing beats a warm bath or a hot shower after a long day of moving, so the last thing you want to deal with as a new homeowner is terrible plumbing. More than just an annoyance, plumbing issues can result in broken pipes and massive leaks and create other and more expensive problems, such as mold, that you will have to tackle. If a plumbing problem appears in the home inspection report, be sure to add it to the list of repairs you’re requesting.
Creepy Crawlies & Unwelcome Guests
Keep in mind that not all Florida home inspection items involve the home itself. An experienced home inspector will also keep an eye out for signs of other residents in the home that aren’t of the human variety. This means identifying insect or rodent infestations that will ultimately require the services of a professional exterminator. If this pain point shows up on the report, it’s more than fair to ask the seller to cover it.
The safety of you and your family should always be the number one priority when selecting a home to purchase. Faulty electrical work is one of the leading causes of home fires and should be dealt with immediately. A home seller should instinctively want to fix issues like this as soon as possible since they are typically living in the home at the time of negotiations. As a buyer, you’re well within your rights to request that the seller repair this problem.
Structural issues are another reasonable ask that buyers can make to sellers. You want your home to be sturdy and robust upon moving in, so aspects such as the foundation should be in tip-top shape. Windows and doors should also function properly and have no issues preventing air from circulating when closed.
What Shouldn’t You Ask the Seller to Repair
Now that you’re well-versed on the several items a buyer can request the seller to fix, let’s take a closer look at the types of repairs not typically covered by sellers after a home inspection.
Minor Cosmetic Problems
Whether it’s chipped paint on the porch or a grease spot in the garage or driveway, small cosmetic blemishes aren’t something sellers typically handle. In fact, asking a seller to repair these minor issues could put you at risk of losing the deal to another buyer. Consider adding them to your to-do list after the completion of the sale.
Sheds or Adjoining Buildings
We’re sorry to break it to you, but asking to repair a tool shed or secondary structure on the property is considered to be an unreasonable request. This is because the offer you’re making is on the primary structure, which is the home itself. Any additional buildings on the property are not a priority, even if they require minor repairs.
Exterior & Interior Paint
Not everyone has the same preferences when it comes to the way they color their home, but that doesn’t mean the seller has to foot the bill. If you see a home you love but feel it needs a colorful do-over, be prepared to incur that expense yourself. Sellers are not required to paint houses to suit the buyer’s style.
Unsightly cracks that are large and pose a potential risk are one thing – a few small visible cracks in the basement or driveway are another. It’s not reasonable to make a deal contingent upon the seller fixing the latter. If that’s a deal-breaker for you as a buyer, you probably won’t experience much luck in finding a home to move into. Repairs like these are also considered minor and cosmetic, i.e., repairs that the buyer assumes responsibility for.
The devil is in the details, but if you’re overly picky, it could result in a deal falling apart. Yes, shaky doorknobs, light fixtures, and railings are annoying and inconvenient, but this is not an area buyers should request sellers to fix. Refrain from nit-picking small details like this and take care of them yourself. Besides, this presents an opportunity to replace old fixtures with more modern and trendy ones.
To Sum It All Up
Remember, it’s ok to want a structurally sound home and one that is in complete working order. This means all major systems and foundational features should function at total capacity and up to code. However, be prepared to encounter minor issues and repairs that you can fix yourself. See them as an opportunity to customize your new home to suit your personal style and preference. But more importantly, make sure that you acquire the services of a highly qualified home inspector. Call the professionals at Frontline inspections to get started today!