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Negotiate a Bad Home Inspection Report.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

You thought your home was in good condition, but surprise… the home inspector says otherwise.   You have already reduced the house to a rock bottom price to get a sale.  This is the first offer you’ve had in months or ever.   What can you do to save the deal or should you???

Stay Calm.  Don’t Freak Out.

In slow markets, seller’s have every reason to panic when they learn about inspection problems.  First, they have no idea how the buyer will react to the report.  If the report is really bad, they know it is likely that the buyer will back out of the deal.   In the best case scenario, they know that more rounds of negotiations and repair requests lists are back in play.   Uncertainity, helplessness and frustration make it easy to freak out, but it is crucial that seller’s stay focused and remain calm.

The first thing the seller must do when they hear about a problem is to keep quiet.  They should resist the natural urge to curse the inspector and they should say absolutely nothing, until the buyer presents a request for repairs.   Some buyer’s aren’t surprised at all that a home might need some repairs.  Also, they may not view the repairs as negatively as the seller does.  Best advise is to not borrow trouble.  Wait for the report, before jumping to conclusions.

Keep Your Head.  Negotiate.

The good news is that if you receive a repair request list, the buyer didn’t walk and they are still interested in the purchase.   Plan to review and discuss the list with an open mind.  Chat with your Realtor, if you are using one.  Talk the situation over with a repair professional.  Get bids on big ticket items, before you go back to the buyer, or you agree/disagree to anything on the list.

Many times, seller’s find that they can get repairs done for less than they think.  Or, sometimes, the seller can make the repair themselves.   If cash flow is a problem, many contractors will agree to wait until the closing to be paid.  The goal is to create a win-win atmosphere and don’t hate the messenger, no matter how bad the news is initially.

Reassure the Buyer.  Stay Focused on Closing the Deal.

Reassure the buyer that you want to fix any major issues with the house.  Get multiple bids from legitimate contractor’s for major repairs.  Multiple bids are powerful because many times the buyer (especially the first time buyer) is scared about the costs of future problems, so they increase the numbers a bit.    Sometimes, after the see that the repair isn’t urgent or may not be as expensive as they thought, the buyer will relax a bit, setting the stage for better negotiations.

Remember that everything about repair requests is negotiable and the options are endless.   The seller can fix all the items on the list, they can agree to fix any real problems and ignore cosmetic issues, they can offer the buyer a cash credit at closing, reduce the sales price, or do absolutely nothing at all, depending on the value of the contract and what they can afford to do.  

In Conclusion.

If you receive a bad home inspection, please remain calm and cool headed.  Focus on a win-win compromise with the buyer.  And, gather all the facts and figures before commenting, if you want to keep the deal alive.  In the long run, honest communication is always key and addressing the problems eliminates the likelihood of lawsuits later.  

Thank you for visiting   The website where Seller’s can place a Free for Sale or Rent Property Listing and post their property on the MLS and  And, buyer’s can search for thousands of great properties with ease and privacy.