The home inspector provides an objective opinion about a property, regardless of what has been agreed to in the contract. When buyers hire an inspector, they are hoping the report will show there are not any major problems, but that is not always the case. Buyers need to know their options.
Many novice buyers think the seller is responsible for correcting any issues that are found, but this is not the case. The seller must disclose any issues they know about, but the contract comes down to an agreement between the two parties. Unless it is a new construction, there are typically no guarantees about the condition or warranties. Here are four options that are available to buyers if issues are found during the home inspection.
Move forward with the purchase
Sellers are in a better position now than they were just a few years ago. The housing market is improving. In many areas of the country, new construction is slow to catch back up with the formation of new households. For many home buyers, just being aware of the overall condition of a property is sufficient. Buyers should not expect a home that has been lived in to be in perfect condition. It is unreasonable for them to expect the seller to make a long list of petty repairs just to justify the cost of the inspection for the buyer. Making an informed purchasing decision always justifies the cost of hiring a home inspector. If the buyer does try to renegotiate, the seller is not obligated to make any concessions and may opt to just put the house back on the market.
Asking the seller to make repairs
Perhaps the least advisable option for home buyers is to request the seller make repairs to a home they are under contract to purchase. This often complicates an already not-so-great situation. The seller is not motivated to pay for top-quality materials or high-quality work and might even choose to make repairs themselves. The only remedy the purchaser has for shoddy work and sub-par materials is to request the seller make repairs again to a more acceptable level. This opens up the renegotiation of the contract to certain acrimony. A contract executed in anger leads to resentment and possibly a lawsuit. Both sides begin nitpicking. A seller could assert that they held up their end of the contract and are entitled to the earnest money deposit. That would cost the home buyer a lot of time, anxiety, and much more than the costs of the inspection.
Renegotiating the price
This is the most common approach. It enables the buyers to make repairs on their timetable and according to their standards. The problem with this option is that it might require money that the home buyer does not have when they first move into the home. This results in the repairs going undone or the home owner starting out in a financial bind.
Any offer to purchase should always include an inspection contingency. The home buyer has a specified amount of time and access to the property for conducting reasonable, non-invasive inspections. If the purchaser is not satisfied with the condition for any reason, they can cancel the contract.