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 :)"
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?
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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