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Should You Walk Away If a Seller Refuses to Fix Problems Found in a Home Inspection?

A home inspection report might include a long list of defects. You have the right to ask the seller to make repairs, but the seller might refuse. In that case, you have a few options.

Figure out Which Repairs are Really Necessary

Even if the inspection report identifies several problems, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should ask the seller to fix them all. Focus on major issues, including structural defects and problems that could endanger your family’s health and safety. Things like a cracked foundation, mold, asbestos, or a damaged staircase could put your family in harm’s way, and your lender might refuse to approve a mortgage for a home with those sorts of problems.

Look for Other Ways to Handle Less Serious Problems

Many sellers don’t have thousands of dollars available to pay for repairs or don’t want to deal with the hassle. If that’s the case, you can ask the seller to reduce the sale price. Then, you can pay for repairs yourself after you buy the house.

It’s common for a home inspector to note issues that might be problematic, but that don’t necessarily have to be fixed immediately. For example, the furnace might be old and might not be operating as efficiently as it did when it was new, but it might keep working a little longer before it needs to be replaced.

In that type of situation, you can ask the seller to pay for a home warranty that will cover the furnace for a year or more after you move in. The seller might agree because a home warranty will cost less than a new furnace.

An inspection report might identify cosmetic issues that you don’t like, but that don’t pose a health or safety risk. It’s generally best to address cosmetic issues yourself after you close on a property.

Location Can Be a Factor

State and local laws can play a role. Depending on the location of the house that you want to buy, the seller may be legally required to make certain types of repairs. In other cases, it may be up to the parties involved in the transaction to reach an agreement.

The local housing market can be a determining factor. If there are more buyers than sellers, it’s easier for a seller to refuse to make repairs since someone else will likely be interested in buying the house as is. If there are more homes for sale than people who want to buy them, a seller may be more inclined to agree to make repairs

Ask Your Agent for Advice

Go through the inspection report with your real estate agent and identify the issues that are truly important. If the seller refuses to address health or safety issues and won’t make financial concessions, it might be best to walk away. Your agent can help you decide how to handle the situation.

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