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How Sellers Can Negotiate Unreasonable Home Repair Requests

A potential buyer looked at your home several times, presented a reasonable offer, and you accepted. Sounds like the perfect scenario, doesn’t it? However, there are times when things are running smoothly and suddenly a home inspection occurs and buyers request a mountain’s worth of repairs, some completely ridiculous. There are some ways that sellers can negotiate unreasonable home repair requests and hopefully not lose the sell.

1. Understand the Difference Between Reasonable and Unreasonable

First, talk to your real estate agent to figure out which of the requests are reasonable and which are unreasonable for your particular situation. For example, if the buyers made an offer on your home already and now want you to replace all the flooring throughout, this is an unreasonable request. They saw the floors before they made their offer, after all. If they were concerned, they probably should have mentioned it in the offer.

However, if the inspector uncovered an electrical issue with one of the electric sockets, and the buyer wants it fixed, this is a reasonable request. The electric socket could be a safety issue that you’d need to fix whether you sold your home or not.

2. Offer an Alternative to a Repair

If you run into a situation where the inspector uncovers a major problem you weren’t aware of, but you don’t have the funds to complete the repair, you could offer an alternative, such as covering closing costs, which can come out of your overall profit at closing. However, it can free up the money the home buyer will need to fix the issue.

Another thing you can offer if there is concern that something might need replaced sooner rather than later (such as a furnace or roof) is to offer to purchase a home warranty for the buyer. This will cost much less than putting in a new furnace but may give them the peace of mind of knowing that if the furnace goes out a month after they move in that it will be replaced without a big cost to them.

3. Understand the Worth of Your Time and Expenses

If a buyer is being truly unreasonable and asking for dozens of minor repairs, then it may be time to reevaluate whether this offer is really worth your time, your real estate agent’s time and any expenses you’re incurring.

For example, if the buyer asks that you swap out all the vents in the home for wooden ones, replace all the electric and light switch plates with white instead of off-white and paint every room orange, it is probably time to draw the line. The buyer will either stop with the requests or will move on. Either way, you’ll be able to move on as well.

While most home sells go much more smoothly than some of the examples listed above, if you do run into a problem, knowing a dollar amount you’re willing to spend on repairs will help you decide whether or not to move forward.

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