If you want to learn if home repairs are mandatory after a home inspection, you are in the right place!
In this guide, you will learn:
- If fixes are mandatory by the seller
- How inspection contingencies work
- The most common repairs requested by buyer
- And much more!
After having inspected thousands of homes in the states of Virginia and Maryland, I have learned a lot about whether repairs (if any) are mandatory after an inspection.
And there are other parties besides the buyer and seller; sometimes repair requirements are from the insurance company, the financing company, and other institutions.
I wanted to create an authoritative and simple guide for buyers and sellers on repair requests after a home inspection, and questions related to the repair negotiations.
Keep reading to learn all about whether repairs are mandatory after a home inspection and what to do after an inspection. Let's go!
What Things Are Mandatory To Fix After A Home Inspection?
From a legal standpoint, there are no fixes that are mandatory for a seller to perform.
Other than building code enforcement (which is done by a government official) there is no way to make repairs mandatory after a home inspection.
Some repairs do carry more weight and pressure for a seller to fix though, like things that have to do with health, safety, and major defects.
Below are reasonable requests after a home inspection:
- Structural problems like a damaged roof or cracked foundation
- Indoor air quality concerns such as mold, asbestos, or lead paint
- Electrical issues such as a defective panel box or unsafe outlet
- A pest problem like rats, snakes, cockroaches, or mice
- Plumbing leaks and water damage
- Unsafe landscaping like a damaged and leaning tree
Does An "As Is" Clause Make Repairs Mandatory?
If a buyer uses an 'as is' contingency or 'as is' contract, this explicitly makes repairs not required in order to proceed with the sale.
An 'as is' clause basically states that the buyer contracts to buy the home in it's present condition and regardless of the results of a home inspection.
A buyer may still get a home inspection performed, but none of the repairs will have to be completed by the seller. This means that the buyer may still walk away from the purchase, but they may not get back their purchase deposit.
Are Repairs Mandatory For Financing Or Insurance?
The buyer's lender or insurance company, may have certain standards for the house that must be met.
So if the lender or insurance company isn't satisfied with the condition of the home, it may make certain repairs mandatory for the financing or insurance to go through. In this case, if the seller is unwilling to do the repairs — the purchase may fall apart.
For example, for FHA financing to go through, there are certain standards that the home is in good enough condition to keep its occupants safe.
What If The Seller Won't Do Any Of The Repairs?
If the seller refuses to do all or some of your requested repairs, you have the option of proceeding with the purchase or backing out.
If you have a home inspection contingency, you will be able to walk away and get your deposit back.
But before you walk away from the sale, you should consider asking the seller for a credit for the repairs — either from the purchase price or for a cash credit at closing.
The seller may have no interest in hiring and managing contractors, but they may be willing to give some type of price discount or cash allowance. This is also another reason not to make a laundry list of cosmetic issues for a seller because it will irritate them.
Who Pays For Fixes After A Home Inspection?
Who pays for repairs after a home inspection is completely negotiable.
However, for the average purchase with a home inspection contingency, it is usually the seller who agrees to pay for reasonable repair requests.
If the home inspector finds undisclosed problems and defects, the seller is usually more than happy to fix these problems in order to finalize the sale. Of course, if it is a very hot market, a so-called sellers market, the owner may be more reluctant to fix anything.
This also doesn't mean that a seller will agree to repair things that are cosmetic in nature and unimportant. I never recommend my clients request small items like paint blemishes and other cosmetic issues.
Read Also >> What Will Fail A Home Inspection? (7 Things That Can Go Wrong)
What Are Common Repairs After A Home Inspection?
Home inspectors don't always find major problems with a home such as structural problems or health and safety issues.
Some of the issues we find are more mundane and less serious. Here are a few common repairs needed after home inspections:
- Rotted wood on a window sill or door jamb
- One or two missing roof shingles
- Toilet is loose at the base
- An outlet doesn't have power
- GFCI outlet in kitchen doesn't trip
- Garage door doesn't close all the way
- Interior door sticks and doesn't close properly
Why Buyers Should Request Repairs After A Home Inspection?
There are few if any downsides for a buyer to request repairs from a seller.
The most important reason to request repairs is to lower the purchase cost of the buyer especially on a tight budget.
Repairs also frequently turn out to be more than initially estimated, and it is a good idea to have the seller deal with cost overruns.
And if there is a major repair that you can live with for a few years, the next buyer upon reselling the home may not be so accommodating—so it's smart to take care of it upfront. On the flipside, if there are multiple buyers behind you wanting to buy this property, and it is a very hot market, it is more common for buyers to accept repairs as their responsibility.
Read Also >> How Long Does A Home Inspection Take? (5 Different Factors)
When Buyers Should Walk Away After A Home Inspection?
When to walk away after a home inspection depends on if there are major issues that a seller won't fix.
And if the buyer can't afford the repairs or can't wait for them to be completed — a buyer should walk away from the sale. If there aren't major issues, but a significant number of minor problems, a buyer may still prefer to walk.
A lot of minor problems can add up to a large price tag, and many buyers just don't want the hassle—they want a home that is ready to be moved into without repairs.
If the buyer has a home inspection contingency, then they can get their deposit back if the seller refuses to do repairs.
Do Sellers Have To Fix Everything On Home Inspections?
Sellers have a few options if they don’t want to do all of the repairs. The most common thing to do is lower the purchase price.
Another option is to give a cash credit that goes towards the costs of the home purchase. Sellers may also have valuable home items that you are willing to throw into the deal such as furniture, pool table, or an outdoor grill.
Sellers may be able to sway buyers by offering to pay for the first 12-24 months of a home warranty — especially if the buyer is worried about possible repairs.
Buyers should be aware that not all repairs are covered by warranties, and that they should carefully read what it covers before agreeing to it.
If you are a home seller, you may also be interested in reading my guide on whether sellers should be at the home inspection.
What Should I Ask Seller To Fix After Inspection?
Buyers should ask the seller to fix major problems and any issues dealing with health and safety.
Here are some common repairs requested by buyers include...
- foundation issues
- roof leaks
- pest infestations
- electrical defects.
- defective electrical outlets
- mold growth
- missing handrails
Buyers should always consult with their home inspector and realtor on what repairs should be requested.
Read Also >> What Is The Best Home Inspection Checklist? (117 Defects To Inspect)
How Do You Counter Offer After A Home Inspection?
Homeowners that are presented with a list of repairs need to know what to do after a home inspection. Sellers should take a few steps in order to create a counter offer:
- Carefully review the home inspection report and repairs
- Have qualified contractors give you estimates on the major items (at least 3 bids on the major repairs)
- A structural engineer should give a report on any structural concerns
- Consider the state of the real estate market and if there are other eager buyers
- Consult with your real estate agent and attorney
Can You Negotiate After Inspection?
Any and all repairs are negotiable after a home inspection.
Most realtors and home inspectors usually advise only asking for major repairs or things that affect health and safety.
Providing a copy of the home inspection report and pictures can help negotiate the repairs. An estimate from a qualified contractor or two can help settle the question of how much it will cost.
Who Verifies Repairs After Home Inspection?
The person who usually verifies repairs after a home inspection is the original home inspector.
Since the home inspector is already familiar with the home, a 're-inspection' is a good option for a small fee.
A qualified contractor can also verify repairs for an even more expert opinion on repair completion.
Read Also >> How Much Does A Home Inspection Cost?
What Is The Next Step After Home Inspection?
What happens after the home inspection is completed and the repairs are negotiated or finished, then home sale can move into the appraisal and closing stage.
Once the appraisal is finished, another round of price negotiations may result if it comes in lower than the sales price.
What If There Is Damage To House After Inspection?
Virtually all real estate contracts have conditions in the agreement that specify what happens if there is damage to the home during the contract period.
One example would be language in the contract that states if there is damage to the home up to 1% of the sales price, then the seller is required to fix it. But if the home damage exceeds 1%, then the seller has the right to refuse the repair and to back out of the contract.
It will also likely say that the buyer has the option to move forward with the sale even if the seller refuses to do the greater than 1% repair.
Buyers should carefully read the purchase contract itself and consult with their realtor and attorney.
Final Thoughts On Mandatory Repairs After A Home Inspection
To summarize, sellers simply aren’t required to fix anything from a legal standpoint.
If a buyer includes a home inspection contingency in the offer, this will give some leverage in asking for repairs or at least a credit off the purchase price. But if a buyer makes the offer with an “as is” contingency, then the buyer will likely need to either walk away or accept the current condition.
As I tell many of my home inspection clients, if you want to increase the likelihood of getting repairs done by the seller — ask for the most important and costly items rather than a long list of minor problems.
In my home inspection reports, I literally have hundreds of things to repair (large and small). If you request all of these items, you will likely turn off the buyer.
Buyers are probably better off making a list of the top 10-20 things that you want the seller to repair, but always consult with your realtor and attorney to make a good decision.