What Your Real Estate Agent Won’t Tell You about Requesting Home Repairs

Picture this!   You have found the house of your dreams.  You get an inspector out to the property to determine repairs needed.  You receive the report in an email attachment, open it at work when the boss is not looking and you are floored by what he finds in your house.  What do you do now?   

At this stage, you have to submit a Amendment to the original contract, often referred to as the repair amendment.  Remember, you most likely checked the As-is box in your One to Four Residential Contract.   Hopefully, you were told by your agent that this is common practice until you know what needs to be repaired in the property, which you won’t know until you get it inspected during the option period.    There are some things that Real Estate agents will often keep to themselves about this important step in requesting repairs on your dream home. 

Ask for what you really want for home repairs

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Ask for what you really want.   Please be sure to initially ask for what you want from the seller in terms of repairs when making the initial Amendment change.   Many agents might tell you to list out all the repairs in the amendment and send it over to the seller to get their reaction.   Please only do this if you really want the seller to handle the repairs.   Agents should also tell you from the beginning that you can ask for an repair allowance or a reduction in the sales price to cover the cost of repairs.  Don’t change your strategy midstream, either ask for the repairs or ask for funds to do it yourself after closing.   Sellers do not have to do repairs at all and many will be insulted that you originally asked them to do the repairs, only to turn around later to ask for financial considerations instead.   I wouldn’t blame a seller for walking away from the repairs altogether if this happens.   

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff of Home Repairs

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Don’t sweat the small stuff   I always tell my buyers to look over the inspection report for what it is.   An inspector was paid to look over the property to find defects needing repair.   They will list everything!    It can be quite intimidating to a home buyer, but please do not react harshly to every repair in the inspection report.  Homes will have defects.  It is part of home ownership to make repairs, even at the beginning of it.   I always advise my clients to look for large structural issues with the home, or home repairs that will cost a lot to fix.    These are the repairs you want the seller to tackle for you.  Once again, the seller does not have to do any repairs and sending over a list of thirty or more items to be repaired will be met with apprehension and get the negotiation off on the wrong foot.   You want the seller to be on your side.  Small repairs will drive the seller nuts and is something you can do when you get into the home.  

Don't get stressed out by Home Repairs

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Try not to take it too personally.  Buying a home is stressful.   Many of the steps will keep people up at night, but the one step that always seems to cause the most anguish is the repair amendment.  I have seen perfectly level-headed buyers and sellers lose it completely over repairs.    For sellers, it is a pride of ownership and having to admit that not everything in the home is perfect.  For buyers, its about getting a home they feel comfortable purchasing.   I know it can be difficult, but try not to take the home repairs too personally.   Hopefully, your agent will have warned you about this step and how stressful it can be.    Mental preparation and setting expectations will go a long way towards easing the tension.