3 Questions to Answer When Negotiating Repairs with a Home Seller

3 Questions to Answer When Negotiating Repairs with a Home Seller

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3 Questions to Answer When Negotiating Repairs with a Home Seller

Photo of the front of a home

Source: Image via BurstGuest Author:  Natalie Jones

When buying a home, it’s essential to have it inspected for issues by a third-party home inspector. This will provide you and the seller with an unbiased list of problems that should be addressed before closing. Depending on the number and severity of the issues found, you and your real estate agent will need to determine how to negotiate with the seller. To help the process go more smoothly and ensure that you don’t end up with a bad investment, it’s important to answer three questions:

1. Should You Buy As-Is?

First of all, if you’ve considered purchasing a home “as-is,” it’s important to understand what is involved with that choice. When a seller is listing the property to be sold as-is, that means that the seller isn’t expected to make repairs prior to closing, nor will any repair credits be issued. If you go this route, you literally will be committing to purchasing the home in the exact condition it currently is. During this time, it’s also important to pay attention to the prices of homes in the market. It’s important to compare this number with the price of an “as-is” home to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.

This means that even serious issues like structural problems, a damaged roof, a broken HVAC system, mold and mildew issues, and termite damage will come with the house. Even if the list price seems like a great deal, be sure to consider what you’re getting into before committing.

2. Which Repairs Are a Big Deal?

When the home inspector gives you the list of things that need to be fixed, you need to determine which repairs are the most important. Unless it’s a brand-new home, you don’t want to nitpick the small stuff and give the seller a wishlist of cosmetic changes to be made. This will only prolong the sale process and annoy the seller.

Besides, the seller is unlikely to agree to fix every little thing that’s wrong with the house, so you have to choose your battles. Therefore, address the major problems before you address the poorly painted living room, chips in the cabinetry, or scratches on the hardwood floors.

Focus on issues that compromise the function and structural integrity of your home, such as:

  • Faulty wiring/electrical work
  • Roof leaks or missing shingles
  • Severe cracks in the foundation
  • Uneven floors or walls, or doors that get jammed
  • Faulty HVAC systems and water heaters
  • Plumbing/sewage problems

All of these issues are worthy of requesting repairs from the seller before you close the deal—whether that means getting the actual repairs done, lowering the sale price, or giving you repair credits. Realtor Kathy S. Koops will advise you on your best course of action.

3. Should You Have It Fixed Before Closing?

There are a few different ways to go about getting the repairs done before closing, and you and the seller will need to come to an agreement. Moving.com explains that some buyers would rather ask the seller to arrange for the repairs before moving in. This takes some of the burdens off of the buyer, but it also means that the seller chooses the contractors who do the work.


If you want to ensure everything is done to your satisfaction, you may want to request repair credit, which is basically cash that the seller gives you to take care of the repairs. You’ll be responsible for making the fixes after you move in, but you’ll be able to choose who does the work. Finding the right contractor will require some extra work, of course, but you thankfully have the internet at your disposal. For instance, if you’re in need of a plumber, use Angi’s to search reviews for the nearly 200 highest-rated plumbing contractors in Cincinnati. You’ll still need to make arrangements and pay for the work, but at least you’ll rest easy knowing that you’ve got a well-reviewed plumber helping you out.

Or, you could get an estimate for all repairs needed on the home and negotiate with the seller to lower the home’s sale price. Which way you go really depends on what repairs are needed and what your estimated timeline is for the process.

Figuring out how to handle necessary repairs is a critical aspect of buying a home. Make sure you know what you’re doing if you’re buying a home as-is. Prioritize what’s needed so that you can determine how to address those issues, and decide whether to ask the seller to handle the repairs, provide you with cash credit, or knock some off of the sale price. Considering these factors and coming up with a plan will help the entire process go more smoothly.

About the Author: Natalie Jones enjoys writing about home buying and hopes to inspire homeowners of all stages to enjoy the perks of homeownership. When she isn’t writing about the homebuying process, Natalie spends time with her husband working on DIY projects for their home.