How do I negotiate requests for repair?

Updated 2 months ago ​by Aneesah Emeka

If you think the negotiations are over once your new home goes into escrow, think again. After the home inspection report and seller disclosures, you will 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.

Negotiating for repairs is often a delicate process, but our team helps buyers through it. 

  1. Be reasonable in your demand. 
  2. Always weigh the consequences of your requests against how badly you want the property.
  3. Don't hesitate to point out major defects. A home inspection contingency in place lets you ask the seller for repairs or credits. Otherwise, you have the option to walk away from the deal completely.  We suggest a monetary credit at closing, especially if you have paperwork or estimates related to the defects. 

With a home inspection contingency in place, you can tell the seller, “if you agree to these additional terms and conditions, which are a direct result of the inspection or other discovery, we will waive the option to back out, and we will proceed to closing.”

During the inspection period, buyers often uncover major problems that could not have been anticipated based on the visible condition and age of the home; specifically, expensive upgrades that will impact the buyer financially for years to come. It is not the time to present the seller with a laundry-list of minor repairs.

You should never be unreasonable, but don’t hesitate to point out genuine defects, and don’t be intimidated by the seller in a seller’s market.

Chances are, if the seller decides not to sell his home to you due to your many requests, the next buyer will have similar requests. 

The seller has little interest in sprucing up the place the same way the buyer does. 

Let’s take a typical example: 

A home inspection turns up evidence that the HVAC system is on its last legs. While buyers should always accept that an older home often comes with older appliances and systems, the seller in our example assured the buyer initially that the HVAC system had been upgraded “just a few years ago,” and indeed appeared new-ish. 

However, an inspector noted the unit was too small for the BTUs needed, and was quickly burning itself out. Armed with two or three written estimates for replacing the entire HVAC unit, you can negotiate cash credits (or partial refunds) based on your findings. 

If the seller agrees to your credit requests, or replaces the HVAC system with an acceptable model, you will be obligated to go through with the home purchase.