When buying a home, one of the most important things you’ll need to do is determine the kind of repairs the property requires, and to see if the seller is willing to shoulder these repairs.
Here’s a quick guide to making repair requests:
- Get a home inspection
Hire a qualified and independent home inspector, preferably one who belongs to a trade association. This will help you identify defects in the home.
Show the seller the receipt of inspection before making a request for repairs – this will make them more likely to negotiate, especially if there are other known deficiencies that you’re willing to ignore.
- Do research on older wiring and plumbing
Homes constructed before 1960 are likely to have two-plug outlets, indicative of polarized receptacles and ungrounded wiring. You won’t be able to swap these two-plug outlets for three-pronged ones unless you ground the receptacle or install a GFCI.
Most sellers are unwilling to have homes rewired, in which case you can simply run a non-metallic cable from the electrical box to brand new receptacles when using sensitive appliances. You can also opt to purchase a newer home instead.
Homes constructed before 1970 typically have galvanized steel pipes, which are prone to rust and leaks. Mineral build-up can also cause low water pressure over time.
Few sellers will agree to replace galvanized steel pipes, but most of them are willing to repair them when there are leaks.
- Ask for a roof certification
It’s common for sellers to present buyers a roof certification from a roofing company. The roofing normally won’t issue a certificate if they recommend repairs. Sellers will usually offer cash credit for a new roof if a replacement is necessary.
- Check the HVAC systems and water heaters
Age is a good indicator of whether or not the home heating and cooling systems should be replaced. The average lifespan of a furnace is around 20 years and about 10 years for a water heater. It’s not unusual for buyers to ask for replacements even though it’s expensive.
- Ask for a home warranty
It’s advisable to ask the seller to purchase a home warranty. A home warranty will cover defects for up to a year. Coverage may vary according to the plan, but this generally includes electrical systems, air conditioning, and dishwashers.
A home warranty will give you peace of mind since a service provider will be at hand to make repairs for a nominal trade service fee.
- Don’t nitpick
If the home is new, you don’t have to nitpick minor issues. Instead, address safety issues and major problems. Avoid making repair requests for issues that could have been brought up during your initial inspection, like poor paint jobs and uneven floors. Otherwise, the seller will argue that you should have mentioned these items in your purchase offer.
- Be wary of major defects
Think twice about buying the home if there are major issues like problems with the foundation or a wet basement. These kinds of defects are difficult and expensive to fix, and you might be better off looking at other homes.
When buying home, it helps to have professional representation. Call Scott Haubrich at (612) 298-5400 or send an email to scott(at)buyrentsellmn(dotted)com.