Buy Alexandria Real Estate: "You're a Homeowner Now"

Alexandria Virginia Real Estate Blog

"You're a Homeowner Now"

Recently (actually yesterday), I sold a two bedroom condo in Alexandria.  My client David lived in this particular condo for 8 years and 2 years ago after getting married, Dave and Lizzie extensively renovated the unit.  It looked and showed great and the new owners got a great deal on a great condo.

Last week after the home inspection, the buyers came back with a very long list of walkthrough items and home inspection issues.  13 items in total, which was a bit surprising since we're only talking about a 1309 square foot condo here!

Dave and I reviewed the list and discussed each item and prepared a strategy for responding to the buyers' inspection contingency requests.  While we felt that many of the items were justified and relatively easy to fix, there were a couple that were "nickel & dime" type of stuff.

The straw that broke the camel's back was this request "need to caulk in tub in hall bathroom."  Caulk where?  Around the tub?  On the tiles?  There was no explanation. 

That's when Dave e-mailed me THE line of the week:

"She's a homeowner now -- she can go to Home Depot and buy a caulking gun like the rest of us :)"

Caulk Gun

Ha! Ha! Ha!  How true!  Needless to say we crossed out this item on the home inspection list before faxing it back to the buyer's agent.

That begs the question:  What kinds of repairs can you ask for after a home inspection?

Home inspection


First, it's important to remember that in Virginia, there are two categories of repairs -- walkthrough items and home inspection items.  Walkthrough items are covered under Paragraph 7 of our Regional Sales Contract -- Please read Mighty Paragaph 7 of the Sales Contract for more explanation.  These items are basically non-negotiable and must be repaired by the seller.


Next, a buyer should realize that when buying a resale home, you are NOT asking the seller to rebuild the home into a brand new home for you.  You should ask for major repairs if there are serious problems.  Certain aesthetic things can sometimes be negotiated (i.e. dirty carpet, touch-up painting, etc.).  However, remember that you are asking for repairs, not a full renovation of the home.


There's an agent in my office dealing with a buyer right now who's expecting the sellers to have the house in 100% tip-top shape and they seem to be over-reaching.  Even brand new homes can have problems.


When negotiating home inspection items as a purchaser, you should usually ask for more than you'd expect the sellers to do.  After all if you don't ask, you won't get. 


Ask and ye shall receive.  Maybe...  If you're reasonable.

Had the new buyer used a RE/MAX Allegiance agent, a Bank of America loan officer, and settled at The Settlement Group, they would have received a $200 Home Depot gift card from our new promotion, certainly more than enough for a caulking gun!


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Comment balloon 9 commentsBrian Block • April 29 2009 05:12PM


You CAN ask for anything. Our Florida contract specifically excludes caulking as cosmetic. So - if it matters to the buyer, it should have been in the original offer, not as an inspection request.

Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) about 9 years ago


Dave sounds like my kinda guy. Really :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) about 9 years ago


It is amazing the types of things I have seen buyers ask for from an inspection report.  I have also had buyers who were so fortunate to have everything in an inspection report taken care of. 

Posted by Victoria Murphy, Santa Fe, NM (Sotheby's International Realty ) about 9 years ago

Brian, we prepare our buyers before the inspection. Every home is going to have issues. They are not buying new and even IF it was new there is NO PERFECT HOME.

We are looking for large ticket items at least over $200.00 that need to be fixed.

Not nickle and dime things.


Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) about 9 years ago

Uh oh, I definitely had more than 13 items on the punch list of the last home I bought, I think I might be one of the ones Dave needs to email - haha.  Great post!  And interesting comment Sharon, had never heard of anything like that before. 

Posted by Sara Bonert, Real Estate Internet Marketing (Zillow) about 9 years ago

Funny - and so true !  Re-caulk the tub indeed!  I have asked buyers ask this - my sellers promptly laughed it off!  

Of course Property Condition Items are always up for some interpretation of 'Normal Working Order'.  My favorite thing (not!) are windows that won't stay open.  Does the window work if it won't stay open?  Of course... maybe...


Posted by James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes, When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move (Real Living | At Home) about 9 years ago

Brain, great post. I am not suprised by either one of their reaction/ buyers had asked for caulking which I think the seller should have taken care off prior to listing. It just refects they do take care of the home. But as a seller's agent I tell my folk its a 10 min job which the buyer will have to eventually learn to do it for themselves once they become homeowner. Let's focus on bigger ticket items.

My biggest one was I was listing agent and the buyers asked us to get the skylight cleaned right in the middle of winter season. With the weather we had this past winter I could not get a handyman to climb on the skippery roof. That was a deal breaker for them...give me a break! Finally on a sunny winter cold weather I had a good friend of mine cleaned the skylights.


Posted by Ritu Desai, Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949 (Samson Properties) about 9 years ago

Brian, I'd caulk the tub if I were the seller.  It's easy to do and eliminates the chance that water could start leaking into the downstairs unit.  I once had an upstairs neighbor who didn't caulk, and it wasn't pretty!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Some people think a home inspection is a punch-out list...  not so!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago