Does the seller have to make a repair requested by the homebuyer, even if the home inspector did not call it out as a defect?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The answer to this question depends on two things: the terms of the sales contract that buyer and seller signed before the inspection, and how badly the seller wants to sell the house. Even if the home inspector listed something as a defect that requires repair, it does not automatically mean that the repair is the seller’s obligation unless there are repair allowances written into the contract. Also, even then, the extent of repairs may be limited by the category of the allowance and dollar amount.

    What ends up getting repaired is usually worked out after the inspection between the buyer and seller, often with the realtors acting as arbitrators between the two parties, rather than a list of items determined by the home inspector. The inspector’s findings that are considered safety hazards, such as defective electrical wiring or severely corroded plumbing, should be fixed as soon as possible; but, again, whether the seller does it before the sale or the buyer makes the repairs afterwards is a matter of contract terms and negotiation.

     If bickering over a purely cosmetic defect (which, incidentally, falls outside the scope of a home inspection) is holding up the sale, then it becomes a question of whether it is financially beneficial for the seller to just do the repair. It’s not a question of black-and-white, right and wrong. As the old saying goes, “If a fella says it’s not the money, it’s the principle of the thing...it’s the money.”

    Also, see our blog posts What is a home inspector not allowed to do? and How can a house be inspected by two different home inspectors that come up with different things to be fixed?

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  To learn more strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

How can I make sure I don't get screwed on my home inspection? 

How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?

Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?

Can I do my own home inspection?

Is a home inspection required? 

How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a house over a sinkhole? 

The seller gave me a report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector? 

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s house?

• What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property? 

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been moved?

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

What do I need to know about a condo inspection?

   Visit our HOME INSPECTION page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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