So you’ve found a buyer and your “good enough” home is under contract. Congratulations! Now it’s time for the buyer to have the home inspected. This can be a little nerve-wracking, since chances are the contract includes an option period, the buyer’s get out of jail free card to back out of the contract.
No matter how well you maintain your home, chances are that the buyer’s inspection will show some issues to be corrected. A home in excellent condition can still show several “deficient” items on the inspection. These are often due to changes in code, normal wear and tear on a home, or deferred maintenance. These deficiencies can be as small as a screw missing on the electrical panel outside the home or as big as a compromised foundation.
Except for items that directly impact the safety and livability of the home, I recommend my buyer clients ask for money to repair anything else in the home. As a listing agent, I agree that money is simplest for everyone involved.
There’s a misconception that a seller can do any repairs on their own when a buyer asks for them. In reality, the contract you signed says:
“The repairs and treatments must be performed by persons who are licensed to provide such repairs or treatments or, if no license is required by law, are commercially engaged in the trade of providing such repairs and treatments.”
Any buyer’s agent worth their salt will ask for paid invoices for the work, and may also contact the service provider to ensure the work is completed satisfactorily. Rather than pay out of your pocket for repairs, it’s often simpler and sometimes cheaper to give a credit to the buyer in lieu of repairs.
How much should you give as a credit? The buyer will likely ask for more than it would cost to make the repairs. And you’ll likely want to give less. Typically, you’ll meet somewhere in the middle, especially in a balanced market. While sellers still have the edge in today’s market (Summer 2023), it’s not like in 2020-2021 when sellers could demand anything, and buyers would be willing to accept those terms.
The final decision comes down to what you’re willing to give, what the buyer is willing to accept, and your walk away terms. When negotiating anything, it’s key to have your bottom line in mind, and be willing to walk away if you’re not going to be satisfied with the terms of a repair negotiation.
I'm Leila Hays, and I love helping homeowners looking to move up to their forever home while selling their current home with as little stress as possible. And maybe a little fun, too. I'm here to make your real estate dreams come true!
9303 New Trails Dr. Ste. 165
The Woodlands, TX 77381
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