Home Inspections are a Buyer’s Best Tool to Negotiate a Purchase
In south Florida, most home purchases are written on “As Is” contracts. The seller does not want to fix anything, and the buyer wants to be able to cancel for any reason, if they do not like anything in the inspection report. Many times, if bigger issues come up in the inspection report, the seller will issue a credit. Once those issues are known, the seller would have to disclose it moving forward, to anyone else who has interest in the property. Therefore it makes sense, for the seller to work with the buyer they have, and deal with the problem then. However, some sellers will not budge, and will say, “The property is As Is, take it or leave it.”
I always push for a closing cost credit for my buyers, rather than the seller repairing the item. It is easy for a seller to make repairs cheaply and sometime poorly just to get to the closing and the buyers would be the ones to have to live with those repairs, so in my opinion is better for the buyer to get a credit, and then hire their own contractor, and make the needed repairs to the buyer’s liking.
When writing a contract, I always point out to a buyer, that the inspection clause reads that they can cancel “at their sole discretion.” That means they can cancel for any reason they want. Buyers like that, it usually comforts them in knowing that they are not bound to be stuck with a house they really do not want.
However on the other hand, when the inspection comes back, I have seen many buyers ask for everything to be fixed. I bring up the As Is clause, and suddenly, they forget it exists. I have seen buyers demand electrical outlets changed out, remotes, and other things that can be considered insignificant. I tell my buyers, “remember its not a brand new home and many items will need updating”.
I advise my buyers that most inspections could show $2000-$3000 worth of little insignificant items that need repairs and those costs can add up. However once you see items that are over $500 to repair, then you can try to negotiate with the seller for a credit.
When you come from a rational negotiating position, you have a better chance of getting what you desire and ultimately getting what you want. If you try to negotiate issues such as the roof, the plumbing, electrical, etc, which are bigger items, the seller will be more inclined to work with the buyers and be more willing to credit the buyer at the closing, since they are serious issues that should be addressed.
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