Asking For Repairs When Bidding on a Home

Architectural roof design with dormer windows, siding, gutters and shutters.

Unless a house is brand new, chances are that something in it needs to be repaired. Here’s what to consider when requesting a home be fixed prior to purchase.

Determine what’s important
Home inspections typically turn up a host of issues, but only some of them should be cause for alarm. Be on the lookout for:

• Galvanized water pipes. They tend to corrode over time, although it’s common to simply repair them.
• Orangeburg water pipes. If the home has these pipes, they should be replaced entirely.
• Roofing issues. If a serious problem is found, sellers may agree to replace it.
• HVAC or heating problems. If the HVAC system is nearing the end of its lifespan, get it inspected in case it needs to be replaced.

Focus on the big picture
When requesting repairs, prioritize major problems as well as anything that’s a safety concern. Asking for little fixes all over the house is unlikely to be well received. It’s not worth putting the transaction in jeopardy for minor cosmetic issues.

Know what to expect
Keep in mind that sellers aren’t obligated to accept repair requests. In fact, in a seller’s market, they may simply refuse because they know they’ll get another offer.

Finally, keep in mind that it’s sometimes better to get a cash credit than it is to get the owners to make the repairs. Speak with your realtor to determine the best option.