Tips for negotiating after a home inspection

In a real estate sale, there can be a number of loose ends to tie up between signing the contract and closing the transaction. In fact, another set of negotiations often arise during the escrow period – especially after the home inspection.

When it comes to the inspection, the buyer is responsible for hiring and paying a licensed inspector, who will thoroughly examine the property to identify any major structural or mechanical issues as well as minor repairs.

This is an important part of the home-buying process – so important that some sellers will take the precautionary step of having an inspection done before they list their home so they are aware of anything that will need to be fixed.

Should there be any issues that come up during the inspection, here are a few things buyers should take into consideration.

Be mindful of market conditions

Your ability to negotiate depends on the market and of course your particular transaction. For example, if you’re in a seller’s market, there’s less room to negotiate especially if there were multiple offers for the property.

On the other hand, if the home has been lingering on the market and your offer is the only one on the table, the seller is more likely to be flexible.

Avoid “nickel and diming”

If you’re in a competitive marketplace, it’s important to pick your battles. Focus on any major issues (common ones include structural defects, code violations or safety concerns) rather than cosmetic changes like paint touchups.

Keep in mind that the seller doesn’t have to fix anything, so it’s best to prioritize your wants and needs in order to keep the deal together.

Ask for a credit

Instead of asking the seller to make repairs, you can request a credit that you will receive at the closing. This is often the preferred choice for both parties, as the seller simply fronts the cost for the project and doesn’t have to be involved otherwise. Meanwhile, it gives the buyer full control over the repair.

Work with a broker

Negotiations are another part of the home-buying process in which a broker’s experience is invaluable. Your broker will help you successfully navigate the inspection process and ultimately get to the closing table.

Written by Rick Sobin
Rick is a managing broker at @properties. In addition to a 15+ year real estate career, Rick is no stranger to the open road. He’s taken many cross-country motorcycle trips -- even a solo run from Chicago to Fairbanks.