Real Estate Agents Answer: How Can Buyers Ace Post-Inspection Negotiations?

Real Estate

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Most buyers, especially first-timers, may not realize that the negotiations don’t stop once an offer has been signed. You still have to get through post-inspection negotiations, too. Just like any other part of the deal, these discussions need to be handled with care in order for the transaction to continue moving forward. With that in mind, we asked agents to share their best tips for how buyers should handle post-inspection negotiations. Here’s what they had to say.

Hire a qualified inspector from the start

“Always have your inspector go through the property with a fine-toothed comb. Find someone that has been in the business long enough where they know what to look for and how to properly document any issues. When we have a thorough inspection done, where we can back up issues with pictures and facts, we can then properly use the information to form a plan of negotiation that results in the best scenario possible.”

– Talbot Sutter, President and Broker of Sutter & Nugent Real Estate

Schedule it early

Schedule the inspection early in the escrow period. Chances are that you may need to return to the property with a specialist to address a specific issue with the home and get an estimate for your negotiation. If you wait until the negotiation window is near expiration to have your initial inspection, you may run out of time for any follow-up visits. In this case, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

– Jordan Stuart of The Stuart Group with Keller Williams Realty

Make two repair lists

“After reviewing the report with their agent, buyers should make two lists, a list of “must-haves” and a list of “okay to take care of alone” items. Having two lists will help keep you organized and set your expectations. Send the “must-haves” to the seller to see if they are willing to make the repairs and emphasize that there are additional items that you are willing to address those yourself post-closing. This emphasis will show that you’re being reasonable in your requests.”

Tali Berzak, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Compass Real Estate

Don’t sweat the small stuff

“Be reasonable and don’t sweat the small stuff! If your report shows the need for both large and small repairs, consider asking for just the larger items instead of handing the seller a 100-point punch list. Sure, you might save $100 on those 95 small repairs, but then the seller might refuse to do any more and you’ll be left to handle the costly repairs yourself. Instead, it’s better to hand in a smaller list of items that make a big impact.”

 - Rachel Street, REALTOR® & Team Leader, The Street Group at SPACE & COMPANY

Ask for a credit or a certified contractor

If you ask for repairs to be made by the seller prior to closing, you’ll never know how well the repair has been done.  There are many cases where the repair only corrects the issue-at-hand and does not correct the underlying cause. By asking for the
credit at closing
 to repair any deficiencies, the new owner can make sure that the repairs are made by a qualified contractor and that they are done do his or her satisfaction. If that isn’t possible, make sure that a certified contractor does the repair.”

– Keith Lucas, The Keith Lucas Team with Charleston Real Estate Company

Provide estimates for the work

“When representing the buyer, I have contractors provide bids for the repairs suggested on an inspection report. Then, I’ll attach those bid to the request for repairs that we send to the seller. I find that this adds an extra layer of credence to what the buyers are asking for and provides a basis for negotiating the amount of credit that will be given at settlement.”

Tammy Templin, an affiliated agent with Coldwell Banker United, REALTORS® 


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