What you need to know about negotiating requests for repair


Negotiating for repairs is often a delicate process. Be reasonable in your demands, and always weigh the consequences of your requests against how badly you want the property. A good buying agent will have your back and help you navigate and negotiate either repairs or credits.

You may have gotten your offer accepted, but if you think the negotiations are over once your new home goes into escrow, think again.

After you get a home inspection report and seller disclosures, you'll have a chance to talk to the seller about any hidden defects or needed repairs that were unknown or undisclosed when the purchase contract was signed.

So, what next? If you're still determined to close on the house, here's what to consider:

1. Now is not the time to be unreasonable.

Always weigh the consequences of your requests against how badly you want the property. This is not the time to present the seller with a laundry list of minor repairs, such as broken window screens or wear-and-tear on minor appliances, or to negotiate on any known conditions the seller has already already told you about before making your offer.

Instead, negotiate based off of major problems that could not have been anticipated from the visible condition and age of the home -- specifically, expensive upgrades that could significantly impact you like foundation issues.

2. Don’t hesitate to point out genuine defects.

Chances are, if the seller decides not to sell his home to you due to your requests, the next buyer will have similar requests. Don’t be intimidated by the seller in a seller’s market. Most sellers want and need to make your accepted offer happen as much as you do.

3. Know your rights.

If you have a home inspection contingency in place, you have every right to ask the seller for repairs or credits within the period of time specificed in your offer contract.

Otherwise, you have the option to walk away from the deal completely without losing any of your earnest money deposit.

Keep calm, and negotiate on.

Even if you’re a perfectionist, there are many issues covered in a home inspection report that you just have to let go of and entrust to your DIY skills or your new contractor BFF.

If you want to negotiate, focus on high-priced repairs that could run into the thousands of dollars. You’ll have more luck asking the seller for a reduction in price than asking the seller to do the repairs for you.

If the house was offered “As-Is,” you can still get an inspection contingency and use it to cancel the purchase, but cannot request any repairs or credits.

Of course, the seller will try and bargain down the size of the credit he or she gives you toward the improvements, so be prepared to show reports and professional estimates to justify your request.

Your Open Listings agent will help facilitate your home inspection and contingency negotiations.

Have more questions on how negotiating requests for repairs works in real estate? Check out our help center.