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 Does the seller get a copy of the home inspection report? and 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:
To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:
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