9 unreasonable repair requests – buyers should skip
Most buyers and sellers understand that buying and selling a home requires negotiating. Here is a list of nine repair requests that a buyer should think twice about before making.
1. Easily repaired items under $10
Whole house inspectors often come back with a list of items that cost under $10 to repair or replace. Save yourself the hassle, and omit these things from the list of requested repairs. Requests for switchplates and light bulbs should not be part of your list. If repairs are not related to a safety issue or the breakdown of an expensive system they should not be added.
2. Replacement of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Although these are safety items, unless local codes say differently, it is better if the buyer installs the smoke and carbon monoxide indicators after closing. That way, they can make an informed decision on the type of alarms they feel most comfortable using in their new home.
3. Cosmetic issues in a resale home
Unless the home is brand-new-construction, to note uneven paint or stained baseboards on a repair request is not a good idea. Neither are cracked switchplates, chipped mirrors or cracked tile. Normal wear and tear should be expected in any resale home and should be a factor in the original price negotiations but should not be items requested for repair.
4. Repairs related to minor plumbing and electrical issues
Often, a whole-home inspector will list in the report issues with simple electrical and plumbing items such as an upside down outlet or corrosion on a fitting. Unless the problems cited are a safety concern, they should not be listed as a requested repair. Simple issues such as an upside down outlet or a corroded fitting are DIY or handyman repairs that can easily be handled post-closing.
5. Repair of hairline cracks in the basement or driveway
Concrete expands and contracts naturally, and over time, cracks will occur. As long as the cracks are minor, don’t list them in a request for repairs. However, if the breaks are over a quarter inch, it’s an excellent idea to have a structural inspection. Structural cracks are a whole new ballgame.
6. Outdoor landscaping, porch and fence repairs
These items were visible at the initial showing and will be a factor in the initial offer and negotiations. It’s not a good idea to ask for things that were obvious at the beginning, such as sod replacement, fence restoration, loose railings or loose hinges. It’s also not a good idea to include a request for the removal of overgrown plants or trees even if they are touching the house. They can be trimmed in a manner appealing to the new owner.
7. Replacement of failed seals in windows
Unless the window is under warranty, most sellers will refuse to fix a failed seal. Window seals fail over time with use, and depending on the age of the window seal, failure can be expected. It’s another simple fix, and sometimes you need to choose your battles.
8. An air-conditioner or water heater because they are old
If the HVAC system or water heater is working properly, the age does not matter. Do not request the replacement of a functioning system. You can order an additional inspection (if you are still within the inspection period) and ask for repairs if they are needed.
If the age of the HVAC or water heater was not disclosed or disclosed in error before going under contract, you could request a concession, but the sellers do not have to give it to you.
9. Roof repairs for a roof that is free of leaks or structural damage
This is a bit of a gray area because sometimes roofs are very old and free of leaks but hard to insure due to age. If you suspect the roof might be at the end of its lifecycle, agree to how the roof will be handled pre-inspection before going under contract.
Inman by Missy Yost