Buying a home is an exciting time, especially if this is your first homebuying experience. However, it does come with numerous challenges, including the possibility that your new home will need repairs. Before you make an offer, you’ll need to determine what repairs need to be done right away and whether you or the seller is responsible for these repairs. This guide will help you navigate the process.
An “As-Is” Home
If you’re looking at a home being sold as is, then there’s no need for you to request repairs or credits toward future fixes. The seller is basically saying they will not repair issues in the home, nor give you any funds to help with them. Such issues can include structural damage, mold or mildew, a leaky roof, and a pest infestation.
You’ll still want to have an accredited home inspection done so you’ll know what you’re getting into, but again, don’t expect the seller to budge on anything. When it comes time for the inspection, make sure you choose a professional with a good reputation. This can be costly, but you want the job done right. According to U.S. News, usually “a home inspection costs $300 to $600.” Unless the expert specializes in other areas like septic systems and can test for mold, you might be paying for additional inspectors.
What Are Sellers On the Hook For?
All material defects must be brought to light for potential buyers. In PA, sellers must fill out a disclosure when listing a property. If a buyer finds an issue with the property that wasn’t mentioned by the seller beforehand, they can request that the seller make repairs that make the home habitable, like the air conditioner, electricity and plumbing. Keep in mind, however, that all homes in the state are technically “as-is,” and sellers are not required to make any repairs. As a buyer, you are responsible for knowing its condition before signing a contract. The only way that you can push liability onto the seller after the fact is if you can prove they were aware of defects not listed on the disclosure.
Don’t Fear Negotiations
Negotiations are a natural part of the homebuying process. There’s a lot of money at stake for you and the lending company responsible for the mortgage, so some healthy discussion about the cost to repair or replace anything is well-deserved.
You can always make a request for a repair, but the seller doesn’t have to concede. If you’re in a seller’s market, the seller is less likely to concede to your requests for repairs. Approach the seller with any reasonable requests to get a sense of what they’re willing to do to close the deal.
Having an agent will come in handy for these times. Agents act as mediators and help both sides see the benefits of compromise, and your agent will also be responsible for ensuring any negotiations and costs are documented.
For example, if the seller agrees to leave behind their fridge instead of replacing a few broken shutters, your agent will outline the agreement for both parties to sign off on. The purchase agreement with the seller and any addenda are what ultimately determine who is responsible for what and how much, since a verbal agreement won’t hold up in court.
At the end of the day, you and the seller are both responsible for whatever the paperwork states. Don’t leave anything unclear, and embrace negotiating. As long as you’re actively engaged throughout the homebuying process, you’re sure to reach a satisfactory deal.