Anytime you’re buying a house, it’s important to have it inspected for defects. No house is perfect, so expect the home inspector to provide a list of necessary repairs. This list can include anything from a leaky roof to an aging HVAC system to nail holes in the walls. If the house is older, there will be a greater number of repairs, as well as a greater need for more severe fixes.
The most important thing is that you understand which repairs you should ask the seller to cover. Also, you will need to determine how to proceed with the repairs once you and the seller have agreed on terms. If you’re in the process of buying a house, consider these tips when handling the repairs with the seller.
Understand What “As-Is” Means
Some sellers and buyers agree to go through with a transaction without addressing any repairs the house may need. This is called buying a home “as-is”, and it’s essential that you know exactly what this term entails before you agree to those terms.
If you agree to purchase a house as-is, you’re basically committing to buying a house that could have problems that you will be responsible for. This may include everything from structural issues and termite infestation to a broken septic system and mold problems. Getting the house inspected before you sign any papers can help you determine if buying as-is is the right move.
Request All Structural Repairs
If you have not agreed to buy a home as-is and your inspector reports any issues with your home’s structural elements, the seller should take responsibility for them before you agree to buy the house. Otherwise, your new digs could end up being a money pit and a perpetual safety hazard. Examples of structural issues you may run across include:
● Worn out, damaged, or leaky roof
● Failing or cracking foundation
● Weak framing (e.g., leaning walls, cracks in walls, etc.)
● Rotten flooring and/or subflooring
● Rotten stairs
● Termite damage to any structural members
Cosmetic issues, such as normal wear and tear and outdated fixtures, are not generally repaired or replaced by the seller, though some sellers will agree to fix them if they’re eager to sell the house. If they don’t agree to pay for the major structural problems, however, you should seriously consider looking elsewhere for a new house.
Request Any Other Repairs That Compromise Safety
Along with structural problems, you will want to consider any other features of the home that need repairing in order to provide safety. For instance, are there any broken walkways or holes in the driveway? Are all the windows and the front and back doors in good condition, or do they need to be replaced or reinforced? Are there any tree limbs that can threaten the house? You can request problems like these to be fixed, but they shouldn’t be deal-breakers.
Opt for Cash Credit
It will likely be in your best interest to request a cash credit for the cost of a repair item (or for the total cost of all necessary repairs). In short, this means the seller provides cash for any necessary repairs — or knocks the amount off the sale price — instead of having the repairs done before the sale. This works to your advantage because you can choose the contractors and have the repairs done under your watch.
Repairs — big and small — are part of buying a house. Make sure you understand what you’re getting into if you decide to purchase a home as-is, and ask the seller to take care of any major structural and safety concerns. Also, consider asking to get the money for repairs in cash credit so that you can ensure the repairs are done well. Following these tips can save you a lot of trouble as you’re buying your new house.
Photo Credit: Burst