Q: I am looking at houses in Northeast Philadelphia and mauve rugs seem very popular. Yuck! I just can’t bring myself to live in a house with mauve rugs. My agent told me if I didn’t like the rugs in a house that I could ask for a “carpet credit” and get the seller to pay for new rugs. None of my friends have ever heard of this. Can you ask the seller for things that are cosmetic? I thought you could only ask them to do safety repairs if it doesn’t pass inspection. A: You can request whatever you want when you’re making an offer. You want a specific appliance to be left behind? Just ask! You want the workbench in the garage? Ask! You want new carpets? Ask and you may be able to get them. Put your request in writing, of course. That doesn’t mean the seller will always agree to your requests, but it can’t hurt.
After a deal is made and a contract is signed, the home inspection component comes into play. If a buyer is using an FHA loan, then the home is going to get appraised and FHA will require safety issues to be corrected. But with any house, buyers should elect to get a home inspection and hire a professional home inspector. A home inspection is not a pass or fail issue. It’s the time to learn about the house and which issues, if any, are deal-breakers for you. If the house isn’t being sold as-in, then you can try to negotiate for repairs at that time.
If it’s a cosmetic issue, like rugs, then it’s best to request it in the offer at the beginning and be up front about it. If the only thing you don’t like about a home is the rugs, and you can’t afford to change them yourself, then ask the seller for a set amount to replace the carpet. This money can be arranged to be paid directly to your carpet vendor of choice at settlement and you get the home you want with the carpet color that suits 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.