The Home Inspection and Repair Negotiations in a Home Purchase Transaction

If you are planning on buying a home in Oklahoma it involves more than just the original purchase price negotiation. There are other activities during the transaction process to get to closing that can involve more negotiation. The single most critical negotiation that can kill the whole deal is the repair negotiation based on the results of the home inspection.

After the housing and mortgage crash that began in late 2006, there were many rule changes in the appraisal and mortgage process, inspections and necessary repairs were involved. The first and most important is that you’re not going to get a mortgage for a personal residence that needs extensive repairs to make it livable to qualify for a mortgage.

There can be a lot of little things, from minor roof or basement leaks to broken windows, cracks or just about anything that results from normal living and wear on the home. From problems resulting from ground sloping toward the foundation to peeling paint, there will be issues in the inspection report.

The decision the buyer must make is just how much they’re going to want to be done or paid for by the seller to correct problems. One other change in the past few years has also been tougher rules on cash changing hands in the closing process. It’s more difficult to get significant credits on the buyer side from the seller for repairs, so be ready for some hiccups in your negotiations if you bump into lender rules.

If you have been a strong negotiator in the purchase price phase, you may have backed the seller up against a wall for their bottom line. If so, it is going to be tough to get any concessions for repairs, either done by or paid for by trade-off for your initial negotiation skills.

Even if you can get the seller to make repairs, consider your different goals. You want a high quality and lasting repair. The seller wants to take home maximum cash from the sale. They are not looking to rip you off, but their motivation will be to get quotes and go with the lowest bidder who will do the work. You may not end up with the quality you want, so if you can get a cash credit, do the work after closing.

Though last in this article, the most important consideration is the choice of a home inspector. As the buyer, you should choose the inspector and not your real estate agent as many home inspectors will soft report or not call out critical defects in a home as they are worried they may upset the realtor. If they upset the realtor, the home inspector may be worried the realtor will no longer refer them to perform home inspections. While it is okay if your real estate agent provide a list or at a few suggestions, but again it should be up to you to choose. The recommendation of only one inspection should not be considered without a few more to interview as there as many home inspection companies in Oklahoma City, Tulsa or other surrounding areas to choose from. You are not looking for a price break, you want a thorough home inspection from an inspector who is licensed in the state of Oklahoma and preferably one who is also carrying Errors and Omissions Insurance, which is an extra layer of protection. Also you want one who is well trained and educated with positive reviews.

While you are not looking for a nit-picky inspector, you do want one who is thorough and show you the type of report they will submit. You should choose one who submits photos and videos as well, the more the better. If you want, and it is a good idea, to be there during the inspection as they should welcome your presence. If they do not want you there, that is a major red flag. However please do not be to bothersome; instead just watch and ask a question if you are unsure of what you see that may look like a problem.

Once you have negotiated a purchase price, just be prepared for a new round of negotiations based on items found by your home inspector that is listed in the home inspection report.

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