What fixes are mandatory after a home inspection? Keep reading to learn about house fixes you need to prioritize.
The inspection process can be one of the trickiest aspects of the home sale process for the buyer and the seller. When the home inspection report reveals unexpected issues, home repairs and negotiation breakdowns can make sealing the deal a bit more complex.
At the heart of many of these failed deals could be a misunderstanding about which fixes are mandatory after a home inspection and which aren’t. Is a leaky roof or sliding foundation the seller’s responsibility or the buyer’s? What about damp, moldy basements, peeling paint, and broken appliances?
Whether you’re buying or selling, having a clear understanding of what repairs are required—and who’s required to pay for them—can make the entire process easier, ensuring that the sale is seamless for everyone involved. Here’s what you should know.
Although there aren’t any home repairs that homeowners are legally required to make, property issues are often points of negotiation when it comes to finalizing home sales. For that reason, it’s helpful to know what types of repairs home inspections are likely to turn up, whether you’re selling your house or shopping for a new one.
In general, a home inspection will turn up two types of issues.1 Those issues will concern aspects of the property’s…
As stated above, the list of what fixes are mandatory after a home inspection is pretty short. In most cases, sellers are not legally required to make any repairs. But that doesn't mean that buyers can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t ask for certain repairs to be made before closing the sale. In many cases, agreeing to make certain necessary repairs can be in the seller’s best interest, especially if those repairs threaten the home’s value.
For that reason, it’s important for both buyers and sellers to understand what kinds of inspection repairs are rightfully within the seller’s responsibilities according to residential real estate etiquette, even if they aren’t required by the law.
Generally, sellers are not likely to take responsibility for cosmetic issues. On the other hand, some larger problems with more extensive and expensive inspection repairs should be taken care of by the seller.1 In those cases, the seller either agrees to pay for the repair before the deal is finalized or the parties come to an alternate conclusion.
Potential buyers are not likely to agree to a sale if the home has:
Additionally, if the home is in violation of any local building codes, buyers will generally ask that those violations are addressed by the seller.
Legal requirements notwithstanding, repair requirements can be dedicated by the conditions of a buyer’s bank or mortgage loan. Most lenders will include certain requirements to protect their investment.
This is especially true if you’re buying a house using a loan funded or guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration or the offices of Veterans Affairs, both of which tend to have much stricter requirements than a conventional bank loan.
The FHA has fairly strict standards when it comes to what fixes are mandatory after a home inspection. The FHA’s repair requirements include:3
Meanwhile, VA loans have their own standards, known as “Minimum Property Requirements.”4 The included requirement
When it comes to conventional loans, repair requirements vary from lender to lender. In almost all cases, health and safety issues are prioritized. That includes structural soundness, mold and water damage, electric issues, and other high-cost complications.
That said, conventional lenders typically have fewer repair requirements than either the FHA or the VA. Additionally, a private lender may be more willing to negotiate certain repairs for price reductions or other solutions.
During most sales, homes are inspected twice. Usually, the property is appraised before the house ever goes on the market. Then, there’s usually a second appraisal during escrow that’s arranged by the potential buyer.
Hopefully, by the time the buyer performs their home inspection, major structural issues and other large concerns have already been addressed. That said, these inspections are still likely to turn up a range of smaller issues that the home buyer may want to negotiate as part of the sale.
It’s hard to say what any given inspection will turn up. The condition of the property, the year of its construction, and what areas the inspection covers can all play a part in what the final home inspection report looks like. But some of the most common issues concern things like:1
The question of what fixes are mandatory after a home inspection is often quickly followed by the question, who decides who pays for those fixes?
The answer? Both the buyer and the seller.
Negotiation is at the heart of any real estate deal, from the tiniest cottage to the tallest skyscraper. While small cosmetic issues might not factor in, bigger structural faults or safety hazards might be worth haggling over, if you’re the buyer, and worth being prepared to pay for, if you’re the seller.
In both cases, knowing how to negotiate repair costs can streamline the process and make sure you reach a deal that satisfies both sides.5 Whether you’re buying or selling, you can become a master negotiator by familiarizing yourself with the following tips:
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1. Ownerly. What Fixes Are Mandatory After a Home Inspection? https://www.ownerly.com/real-estate/what-fixes-mandatory-after-home-inspection/
2. Family Handyman. 9 Repair Requests Buyers Should Not Ask of Sellers. https://www.familyhandyman.com/list/9-repair-requests-home-buyers-should-not-ask-of-sellers/#
3. NerdWallet. FHA Appraisal Requirements for Homes. https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/mortgages/fha-appraisal-requirements
4. Military.com. A Look at the VA Loan Appraisal Process. https://www.military.com/money/home-ownership/buying-a-house/a-look-at-the-va-loan-appraisal-process.html
5. Credible.com. How to Negotiate After a Home Inspection. https://www.credible.com/blog/mortgages/negotiate-after-home-inspection/
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