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How to Handle Home Repairs When Buying a House


Unless you’re buying a brand new house, chances are fairly high that the house you’re interested in will need some repairs. In some cases, this can lead to a make or break situation between you and the seller, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It can help if you know how to navigate this tricky circumstance.

Know the Regulations

As The Week explains, there are some flaws you can usually ignore when buying a home. You might not walk away from cosmetic issues like outdated furniture or wallpaper. Odd paint choices also don’t need to be a deal-breaker.

Whether the seller needs to fix the other concerns will depend on state regulations. Generally, home sellers will need to fix anything that will compromise the structural stability of the house. The seller will also need to address things that might affect your health such as mold growth. To find out what else may be covered, make sure to check on the laws for your state.

On the other hand, there are some signs of a tricky house when house-hunting. You should beware of concerns like bouncy floors and cracks in the exterior wall. Issues like these could point toward serious and expensive repairs.

Know What You’re Getting Into

Before you even reach the point of a home inspection, the seller would have sent you a real estate contract. Forbes explains that some of the things the seller will need to disclose include lead paint, the presence of pests and home drainage issues. You also have the right to know if there are any boundary issues. The real estate contract should have information about home inspections and the way forward for repairs as well.

Things can be a little trickier when it comes to buying a house ‘as-is’. According to Redfin sellers in an ‘as-is’ situation still need to let you know what issues the home may have but they are under no obligation to fix them. If you’re thinking of buying a house like this, then make sure you know the details of the defects so you can research how much the repairs will cost and plan it into your budget.

Consult the Expert

During the process of buying a house, you’ll need to bring in a home inspector. When looking for a home inspector, check out their license and get recommendations from people you know. If you can’t get any personal references, then don’t be afraid to check online reviews.

To prepare for the home inspection, it’s suggested that you make notes about any issues you’re concerned about so you can talk with the inspector about them. According to HGTV, some of the questions you should ask the inspector are things like the roof’s condition and how well insulated the home is. It’s also great to check on the status of the home’s electrical and plumbing systems. You can also get an idea of what repairs are a priority and how long other components in the home may last.

Negotiate With the Seller

After the inspection, the home inspector will present a report. Most reports will state the condition of areas in terms of poor, fair or good, but in some cases, the report will go into detail about repairs. If the report is somewhat vague, then whatever notes you took during the inspection may come in handy.

The report is what you will use to open negotiations with the seller. Apart from mandatory repairs, some other areas you should ask the seller to repair include plumbing or electrical issues. Minor, aesthetic aspects like painting, cupboards or cracked tiles may have to wait if the house has a lot of major issues. When negotiating, you can ask for the repairs to be done before closing or request a reduction in the house’s price. You can also have the costs credited during closing if you want to oversee the repair project yourself.

Buying a house is a major emotional and financial decision. It’s important that you know what to expect when choosing your home as well as what issues you could face. Protect yourself from a potential money pit or tricky situation by knowing the facts before you start getting out there.

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