home inspector of marsha gray assessing a house in santa barbara

What fixes are mandatory after a home inspection?

The home inspector’s report often leaves a list of to-do items, but what fixes are mandatory after a home inspection?

Home inspections are a good idea when buying a home because they help provide buyers confidence and negotiating power through the unbiased expertise of a third party. If your inspector tells you to fix something that is not up to code in the home you’re buying or selling, it’s probably a good idea to listen. But there are no mandatory rules on whether the involved parties fix it before or after the sale.

At any point in the home inspection process, either the buyer or the seller can walk away from the negotiation. But often, good real estate agents will negotiate a deal to make the buyer and seller happy.

Find a real estate expert with decades of experience negotiating fixes

What should be done in a home inspection?

No two homes are alike and the same is true of home inspections.

Home inspections — different from mortgage appraisals — are limited in what they can inspect. The inspectors are limited to non-destructive investigations, meaning they can’t do things like break open a wall to check the strength of your wooden beams. But the inspection will cover the visible structural and aesthetic issues that you can use to negotiate your offer on a home.

Here are the few things inspectors try to determine without taking away value from the property:

  • Electrical systems — From checking the Ground Floor Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets to your fuse box, a home inspector will do their best to determine whether any items like electrical panels will need to be replaced in the coming years.
  • Plumbing — Unless you’re a plumber, you likely don’t know what a safe and secure plumbing system looks like. But a home inspector does!
  • Safety hazards — Across the home, your inspector will keep an eye out for general safety issues with you, your family, or future tenants in mind and ensure the home meets your needs.
  • Cosmetic issues — Oftentimes sellers prep the home for purchase, and a good home inspector will have the expertise to spot bad cover-ups, dings, and other cosmetic fixes.
  • Heating — Air conditioning and heating are essential in many houses, condos, and townhomes, so inspectors will tell you whether your system is faulty.
  • Structural issues — Without cracking open the walls and looking at the wood, your inspection report will point out sagging crossbeams, an aging roof, or even a problem with your foundation.
  • Building code violations — Red flags should have likely been caught, but stranger things have happened than a missed code violation. A home inspector will likely be able to tell whether your potential home has a building code violation.

Home inspections are a critical piece of buyer satisfaction because covering all of these topics inspires buyer confidence before they drop hard-earned money into the equation.

Marsha Gray can connect you with a home inspector you can trust

Are any fixes mandatory?

Home inspectors inspire buyers with confidence and hopefully give them items to negotiate down the price.

Home inspectors will often grade their responses from what should be monitored but is fixable to things that need to be outright fixed, serviced or replaced. But in short, no recommendation from the home inspector is mandatory. A buyer may feel like a fix is mandatory — like a dog owner wanting a rotten fence replaced — but a home inspector is only there to give you their informed opinion.

As a free tip, smart buyers know it’s a good idea to include money in their budget for fixes when they buy a home. But just because you can expect your dream home to come with some fixes, doesn’t mean you need to pay for them.

Who pays for repairs?

Armed with a home inspection report, your realtor should know what you can fix or pay for yourself.

Your realtor will now go to bat for what you want dealt with before the sale. After negotiations, you may be left with some of the minor cosmetics, or you may be left with a list of safety hazards. This all depends on the realtor and the strength of the seller, the market, and your offer.

While some buyers may consider this a no-brainer, not every buyer is the same. Some buyers are looking for fixer-uppers and some have a family member or friend who could fix flags from the inspection report. If you can save on the overall cost of your home by shouldering some easy fixes, that’s a good idea.

The best advice I can give at this point: be honest with your realtor and don’t assume you know everything unless you’re a seasoned buyer.

There’s an art to negotiating repairs. Let us walk you through it.

What is a repair amendment?

During the option period, your real estate agent will use the repair amendment to change any items in your contract to send to your seller’s agent.

From fixing everything to only asking to fix details like a roof or HVAC unit, a repair amendment can include anything that the buyer wants fixed or amended from the seller’s contract.

How do I ask the buyer or seller to pay for repairs?

The name of the game is buyer and seller position.

If your seller is trying to get out of town, they may accept a cheaper offer if you shoulder more maintenance costs like a new paint job. If your seller is an investor who flips homes, they may be more willing to stick to their guns and demand a faulty water heater be replaced. But really, every negotiation between buyers and sellers is different.

An experienced real estate agent will know the market, home value, and common repairs after a home inspection to guide you to escrow.

How do I get the most from negotiations after a home inspection?

With a costly investment in a property, a real estate agent will get you the most from your investment.

In an expensive market like Santa Barbara County, you don’t want to pay more than you need. I am a broker and realtor who has worked in the county for decades. I work with lenders to get you the best loan possible while searching for off-market properties and hidden gems through my local connections.

From seasoned investors to first-time buyers, Marsha Gray’s Santa Barbara real estate market experience is precise and priceless.

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