If you’re a first-time home buyer, you’ve probably heard of the negotiations that come at the beginning of the home buying process—when you’re negotiating the purchase price of the home. But, many first-time buyers are not aware that negotiations don’t stop there. Oftentimes, they continue well into escrow, after you’ve already drafted and signed the initial contract. It’s common for buyers to negotiate all kinds of details related to their home purchase, especially who pays for what repairs after a home inspection. Did your home inspection reveal some issues that need to be repaired? We’ve got a few tips for navigating these tricky post-home inspection negotiations like a pro.
1. Ask for a credit. The sellers are on their way out, physically and mentally. If it’s looking like you’re going to close the deal and buy this home from them, they’re probably packing up their things and daydreaming of the next chapter of their lives. Making repairs on their “old” house probably isn’t high on their priority list. Even if you asked them to take care of the repairs themselves, they might not do as nice of a job as you’d like. At this point of post-home inspection negotiations, you might want to ask the sellers for a credit at closing. This means the sellers agree to give you a certain dollar amount at the time of closing that you, the buyer, can use toward repairs. And, if you get the credit, you won’t have to worry about going back and forth with the seller about whether the repairs were done to your liking—you can take care of them completely on your own.
2. Think about the big picture. Let’s say you’re thinking about the kitchen in your new home and you already know you’re going to to renovate it someday. Why not now? Sure you could probably deal with the water damage behind the sink or the back burner of the stovetop that won’t stay lit, but if you can negotiate these repairs now, wouldn’t you do it? When you’re working through post-home inspection negotiations, consider the future of your new home, and remember that a seller credit toward these repairs could help offset the costs due at closing.
3. Don’t show your cards. If your home inspection is coming up, find out whether the seller’s agent will be walking the property with you, your agent, and the home inspector. If so, you might want to hide your true excitement about the house. Showing satisfaction with the current state of the home in front of the seller’s agent could hurt your chances of negotiating those repairs later. If the seller’s agent can sense even the slightest disapproval from you during the home inspection, you’re building a case for yourself that the agent will probably mention to the sellers.
4. Be ready for anything. There’s a saying for home purchases: It’s not over till it’s over. That means until you sign the closing documents and have the keys in hand, anything could happen. Don’t sign the initial contract thinking that you’ll be able to negotiate the price of the home even lower after the inspection. With all the people involved, the unknown factors, and the competitive state of the market, there’s a good chance that glimmer of hope will fade quickly. Think about this: if your home inspection results are favorable, there’s nothing for you to negotiate. If you didn’t consider this possible outcome during the initial contract negotiations, you may have just lost out on big savings. Now don’t go and try to negotiate a new purchase price anyway—the sellers will likely turn away and find another buyer.
Negotiations are tough, and post-home inspection negotiations are not exempt! Keep in mind these helpful tips or ask your LO for advice and you’ll be more prepared for your home buying process.