Real NEastate: Home repair requests

Q: I am buying a twin in Bells Corner and had to get a home inspection. The inspector gave me a long list of things wrong with the house. One of them is an electrical issue that is considered a safety hazard. I am going to have my agent ask the seller to get this fixed but, considering I am not an electrician  and wouldn’t be able to tell, how will I know if it was done right or even done at all?

A: Usually a home inspection will uncover many items that need to be addressed. If homebuyers find repairs need to be done after electing a home inspection, they have every right to try and negotiate this with the home seller.

Be forewarned, if you ask the seller to perform any repairs and he or she complies, there is always a chance it will not be done to your satisfaction. To reduce the risk of not having repairs done properly, there are a couple ways to approach the seller when negotiating for inspection repairs:

  1. Ask the seller to have a qualified, licensed professional perform the repair requested. Follow up by getting a receipt and/or certification from the professional. This option carries the risk of the seller not hiring a high-quality pro.
  2. Ask the seller to hire a specific professional whom you know and trust to perform the requested repair. If this person’s estimate is too high the seller might be inclined to say no and find someone to do it for cheaper.
  3. Ask the seller for a credit toward your closing costs for the amount of the repair and get the repairs yourself after you move in. If you are already getting seller’s assist or your mortgage company won’t allow a credit, this isn’t the option for you.
  4. Ask for a price reduction and deal with the repairs when you move in. This is a tough request of the seller but is probably the best option if you have the money to do the repairs yourself.

The seller may not agree to any of your demands, and isn’t obligated to do any repairs or give you money back, but it usually doesn’t hurt to ask. If not, you will have to decide if the deal is still worth it without repairs. Just remember to always follow the timelines in your agreement of sale! One day past your allotted time can cost you.

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.

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