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Attic insulationThe buyer's home inspection sometimes turns up items the seller has lived with for years or is totally unaware of.  Items that the seller thought were no big deal may be a show stopper to a buyer.  I once had a 1970's house that had only a very thin layer of insulation in the attic.  Even for the 1970's it was skimpy.  In today's standards it was very inadequate.  The buyers asked for more insulation to be installed, the seller said no, and the buyers walked away from the home purchase.  A $2000 repair killed the deal.   So how do you negotiate simple repairs on a home inspection?  What should you do when it is a major repair?  How little can you get away with without losing the sale?  These are just some of the many questions that the seller may ask when negotiating the home sale. 

Sometimes a Michigan home seller thinks that once the purchase agreement is negotiated that negotiations are over.  That is untrue in some cases.  So home buyers enter into the home buying process planning on negotiating the price down or using the home inspection as a way to get repairs done.  Negotiating the home inspection is very important and requires different negotiating tactics than the purchase agreement. Why you ask?  Sometimes the buyer is on the edge of cancelling the deal because they are unsure of the condition or whether the repairs will really solve the problem.  The other issue is that sometimes the buyer only is willing or able to do what they are asking you for.

For example the buyer may not be able to afford to replace the boiler that the inspector said is not working.  So the buyer has to have you replace it, and not able to have the purchase price reduced.  Nor can they accept sellers concessions because their bank may not approve the loan with a non working boiler.  Or the buyer may ask for a seller’s concession because they want it fixed their way, by their contractor.  It may make them feel more comfortable to do it that way.  Some buyers feel that the seller may take the cheapest way to get it fixed.

The home inspection is over on your home in Oakland County.   How you handle the home inspection results can make or break your home sale.   Some of the factors are do you really want to sell?  And are these same issues going to come up on the next inspection?  If they are major issues that are easily recognized, sometimes it is best to deal with them and negotiate with the buyer because these inspection issues are most likely coming up on the next inspection.  Of course another factor is the inspection addendum request reasonable?

First let’s go over the psychology of the home inspection by the buyer.

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Hire a qualified home inspector



First of all the buyer(s) in their mind hired a good qualified home inspector.  A person that in their mind that is trained in home inspections and knows what he is talking about.  The home inspector’s comments and finds are what the buyer relies on.  It does not matter if the home inspector is totally wrong about something he has found.  The buyer is going to believe him.  No buyer’s home inspector is ever going to be wrong in the buyers mind.  This is going to be a big basis on how you negotiate your home inspection on your home.

Over the years I have confirmed many so called issue home inspectors said were wrong to be false.  There really was not an issue.   For example years ago there was one home inspector in the Metro Detroit area that had this fancy gadget that measured furnace inflow and outflow.  Every time this home inspector was hired, this became a problem in the home inspection.  All the deals fell apart.  There was always an argument about the furnace and whether it was the right size for the house.   Or whether it was providing the right air flow.  Always the buyers were steadfast in the conviction that the home inspector was right.  There was no way the sellers were going to put in new furnaces because some home inspector said so.


But that is what the seller is up against.  Even providing your own expert will sometimes not change the buyers opinion.  However let’s go over a few situations.  Let’s say the home inspector says the furnace is rusted and may be leaking carbon monoxide.  The best way to negotiate this is to agree to having a licensed heating and cooling contractor come check out the furnace and have it fixed.  Agreeing to use a heating and cooling contractor that the buyer picks will really put the buyer at ease.  This way the buyer is going to agree to the repairs or they are going to bail on the home sale based on something the more specialized home inspector said.  You may have to replace the whole furnace if the secondary expert says it is needed.  However you will overcome the home inspector’s opinion and findings.  I have found a simple cleaning to put the buyer’s mind at ease.  If you want to hold the sale together another way of handling it if the buyer is still uneasy is to offer to pay for a home warranty.  That way if something goes wrong with the furnace in the first year the buyer can get it fixed.

Basement wall crack & bowed wall – foundation issues

It is the same way with electrical, plumbing, and foundations issues.  Whether it is an old air conditioner, a crack in the basement wall, or outside drainage issues.  Talk to the buyer, bring in a specialized repair person like a licensed electrician, foundation repair person, or roofer.   Be there when the second expert repair man comes.  Be an active part of the conversation.  Get the quote in your name.  It also pays to have a 2nd or 3rd estimate.  If possible have the buyers be there along with the seller.  That way everybody hears the same information.

Buy a home warranty to give the buyer a warm fuzzy feeling

I went through this with a home in Oakland County.  The home inspector had found water seepage, and rust on metal in the crawl space indicating water intrusion in the crawl.  So I called two waterproofing companies to give an estimate and the seller called one themselves.  We set them all up on one day.  Both the seller, the listing agent,  and I the buyer’s agent was there.  We received a wide range of estimates from $14,000 to $21,000 to $36,000 for different ways of fixing the problem.  Of course the high priced estimate tried to scare the seller.  Telling the seller it was a major problem.

We were able to negotiate a reasonable settlement between the buyer and seller that was agreeable to both.  It saved the deal for the seller because everybody involved in met with specialized water proofing experts, understood the costs & the options.  Everybody was on the same page even though there were differences in what was the best option for the best price.  It was negotiated because there was no one party that was unreasonable.

Time to fix the roof

I had the same issue with another Metro Detroit home.  The home inspector had found roofing issues.  The buyer hired a roofer to come out. The buyer asked him to quote a 50 year roof with top of the line sheathing, and extra wide ice shield for the edges and valleys.  The estimate came to be $35,000.  The seller then got 2 other quotes of  $12,000 and $15,000.  Because the buyer was adamant of getting the top of the line roof the deal fell apart.  If both buyer and seller were there with multiple roofers it may have worked out.

So what you can take out of this article is:

  1. Home inspectors are not infallible….they make mistakes.
  2. So to debunk the mistakes hire a specialized expert or repair man to get a second opinion and repair costs
  3. Get 2 or 3 estimates because many times what the expert recommends may be different and costs vary widely many times
  4. Have both the buyer and seller there so they are on the same page.  So both parties can understand the true issue, the possible ways of repair, and the costs each company charges.  It makes it easier to carry on negotiations and a conversation when everybody is knowledgeable.

If you need a strong negotiator on your side when you sell your SE Michigan home give me a call.  I will work hard for you. (248) 310-6239

Russ Ravary

Your Metro Detroit realtor!


This is how I helped other clients and what they think of me:
Russ was incredibly helpful and very responsive. He scheduled showings, got comparables when we were interested in making an offer and made sure that everything went smoothly. Even though I know we weren't his only client, he made us feel that way and was very knowledgeable about the areas that we were looking at homes in, which was very helpful. Russ even went out of his way to look at a foreclosure that we were interested in looking at beforehand and saved us the trip.
                                                          David Reynolds