What Kind of Issues Should a Buyer Expect a Seller to Fix After a Home Inspection?

Real Estate Agent with Home Buyer's Agent of Ann Arbor


As the biggest and oldest buyer's brokerage in our market we've always taken the buyer's side in home inspection issues.

In general we look first to the negotiation and expectations based on the seller's presentation of the home.

We expect the home to be in a certain condition if it is a foreclosure or marketed as a "fixer-upper".

We expect something else if it is marketed as a "wonderful well maintained family home". 


Also, if a home has a "new kitchen" or a "new bath" we expect those items to be updated in a professional manner and we have higher expectations for their condition.

Beyond the original expectations, we look at 3 specific areas"

1. Structural issues. Like basement wall issues or mold in the attic issues or additions without proper footings. Something where the home's condition is getting worse or is likely to get worse. Roof leaks fit into this category also.

2. Health and safety issues. These mostly relate to the furnace condition but also include the fireplace. If a home has a fireplace our expectation is that it is going to be safe to use.

3. Mis-representation issues. If the home has a "new roof" and our inspector finds that only the South half of the roof is new, we have a problem. If the home has a "new electric panel" and the panel has been replaced without the proper permits and/or has been done by an amateur, we normally have a problem.



As a recent example, we helped a buyer buy a older home with a "newer" bathroom. The update was probably a little more than ten years old but the materials were nice quality. Well during the inspection we found that two of the three fixtures leaked.  We could also see that leaks from one of the fixtures had damaged the ceiling below and had been repaired at some time in the past.   We expected those to be fixed by the seller and that was part of our negotiation.


What do you all think?

Comments (2)

Ron Parise
LocateHomes.com - Cape Coral, FL

The contract that many of us use in Florida is one developed by the Florida Association of Realtors. There is a clause that defines warranted items and another that provides for the buyers inspection of warrented items. The contract specifically states that these warrented items must be in working condition (not brought to current code) and thet there is no obligation to deal with cosmetics

In my experience the inspectors generally inspect a lot more than the warrented items and the buyers expect everything noted in the inspectors report to be fixed. In the worst cases the inspection report is used to re-open negotiations. This is a mis-use of the inspection and inspection report.

I like to review the reports (for my buyers and sellers)  and mark the items that I feel need addressed ie warranted items that are not in working condition. My advice is to consider the rest of the report an owners manual and that the buyers need to deal with that stuff themselves after they buy the home.

Apr 26, 2008 11:26 AM
Bobby Frank

In Michigan, the contract typically calls for a satisfactory inspection; so it is very broad and open. Everything and anything can be a subject of negotiation. It is up to the buyer and seller to NEGOTIATE. Generally speaking, most of my clients go into an inspection with the knowledge of certain defects, which they have usually already factored into their agreed upon price. Sometimes the problems are more of an issue or more expensive to remedy than what they had figured upon. A realtor who is an advocate for their client will have helped to be more accurate in the price for the home.

The market can also influence the price negotiations, if any, after the inspection. In the real world, sellers are not open to negotiating much after an inspection during a seller's market when homes sell easily. A few years ago, my clients were often told that there would be no further negotiations on price because there were backup offers, or the house would sell easily, or whatever. That was the hard reality.   In this soft market, the shoe is on the other foot, and buyers have the upper hand in negotiations. It is an ECONOMIC negotiation based on the housing market.

I tell my clients that I attempt to find all the possible issues that I can with the home within the confines of a (typically) 4-5 hour inspection. My job is to inform them. I make them aware of problems and approximate costs of remedies. I can point out the larger dollar and serious safety issues for them. But they have to figure out how much they want the home, what they can afford; and compare now, after the inspection, how this home compares to what is out there in their price range.

One last point. In my humble opinion, Buyers are better off negotiating price rather than asking the sellers to do the repairs. I have seen, so many times, very low quality work being done by sellers.  Sellers want to get it done cheaply and quickly, so unless you have a sy in who is doing the work, I feel a buyer is better of getting the cash and arranging for their own repairs. Besides, this way any warranties are with the buyer and not the seller.

Jon, I'd appreciate any feedback from you, or anyone else , on this matter.

Bobby Frank

A Buyer's Ally - RJ Frank home Inspections

An Arbor MI


Dec 27, 2008 06:26 AM