- Brad Stringer, BA, MBA, CMI, CIE
Navigating the Home Inspection Report: Key Questions to Ask the Seller for Repairs
Congratulations! You've found the perfect home, and now it's time to conduct a thorough home inspection. This crucial step allows you to identify any potential issues or repairs needed before finalizing the purchase. Once you receive the home inspection report, it's important to assess the findings and determine which items should be addressed by the seller. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of identifying the most important things to ask the seller for repairs based on the home inspection report.
Safety Hazards and Structural Issues:
When navigating the home inspection report, it is important to first identify any safety hazards or structural concerns that could affect your well-being or the longevity of the property. These issues could also be expensive to fix after closing. Look for warning signs like electrical issues, plumbing leaks, foundation cracks, roofing problems, or signs of mold or pest infestation. It's important to ask your home inspector for more information about the severity and urgency of these issues and prioritize them as the most important items to request repairs from the seller.
Major System Failures:
To ensure the efficient and comfortable operation of your future home, it's important to assess major system failures that may impact your utility costs. These include the HVAC system, water heater, electrical panel, roofing, and other essential systems. Check their age, condition, and functionality as stated in the inspection report. If there are significant deficiencies, request repairs or replacements. If the seller is unwilling to replace older systems, consider negotiating for a one-year home warranty as part of the closing deal. This can reduce any out-of-pocket expenses associated with any significant covered repairs after closing.
Health & Environmental Concerns:
Nowadays, there is an increased focus on health and environmental factors in the housing industry. To ensure safety, it is important to review the home inspection report for any potential health hazards or environmental concerns. These could include concerns such as lead-based paint, asbestos, radon, or harmful chemicals. In severe cases, it may be necessary to seek professional evaluation or remediation to address these concerns. These typically fall outside the scope of a home inspection and likely require enlisting the help of the requisite professional at additional cost.
All homes require regular maintenance, but some may have accumulated deferred maintenance, where past repairs were ignored or missed. These issues may not be immediately problematic but could cause more significant issues in the future. To identify neglected maintenance, inspect the report for signs like deteriorating exterior surfaces, outdated electrical or plumbing systems, or damaged fixtures. Although they may not be deal-breakers, it's crucial to address them with the seller to avoid future complications and unforeseen expenses.
Lastly, focus on any additional costly repairs or replacements that could strain your budget after moving into the home. Examples may include a future roof replacement, or replacement of older HVAC equipment, or even the need for major renovations. Assess these expenses in light of your financial situation and the overall condition of the property. Depending on the extent of the repairs required, you may negotiate with the seller to have these issues resolved before closing the deal or receive compensation in the form of a reduced price for the home.
The home inspection report is a valuable tool that empowers you to make informed decisions about your future home. By carefully evaluating the findings, you can identify the most critical repairs to request from the seller. Prioritize safety hazards, structural issues, major system failures, health and environmental concerns, deferred maintenance, and costly repairs. Remember to consult with your real estate agent and home inspector to gain a comprehensive understanding of the report and negotiate effectively with the seller. With thorough communication and attention to detail, you can ensure a smoother transition into your new home, free from major concerns or surprises.