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What to do when the home inspection turns up a major repair?

You have a signed purchase agreement and now the home inspection is done.  You may have been nervous on what the home inspector turned up or you may think nothing is wrong with the house because you have taken care of your home.  What happens if the home inspection turns up a major repair?  I classify a major repair as environmental, structural, or health (safety).

Examples of these items are

  • mold
  • foundation issues
  • radon
  • broken trusses
  • electrical issues
  • plumbing leaks

These issues are deal killers many times.  Some buyers will just walk away from your home because of the issue.  What do you do to save the deal?  It’s not a simple answer because it depends on what went wrong in the home inspection, and how much money you want to put into the home.   My home selling tip on home inspections is pretty straight forward.

First scenario: The home buyer’s home inspection has revealed two major issues.  Mold in the attic and the stairs are structurally unsafe.  You are upset you aren’t going to have much money to move to the next house and these repairs cost a lot of money.  Now you are unsure whether you even want to sell.  Or sell to these buyers.  Maybe you can sell the home to somebody else.              

In this situation these two items are most likely going to be found by any home inspector.  If you cancel this deal with this buyer and put it back on the market the problem is going to be found again.  It's not going away and it is extremely rare that buyers do not have the home inspected.  The second issue is that you may have to disclose the issue on the seller's disclosure.  If you do not disclose the issue, it could be considered fraud.   


Even if you don’t sell it isn’t safe for you either.  Mold in the house or unsafe stairs need to be fixed.


In this instance the home inspection has revealed two items that have to be addressed.  It’s that simple.  It’s like your car breaking down.  You don’t like it, but you have to get it repaired or pay for the buyer to repair it.  I do understand that it is going to cost money.  It is sometimes money that you need.  But the repair has to be done whether you sell it now or live in the house. 

Sometimes the buyer will give you the choice to repair it, or to reduce the price by the amount of the repair.  You have to consider yourself lucky in the first place because sometimes the buyers will just void the contract.  They will not even send you an addendum to fix it.  The only time you might be able to negotiate or refuse to do the repair (remember I say might) is if the buyers have money and absolutely love your home.  But it is a one in a hundred chance.  Most buyers will walk from the deal is the seller refuses to fix a major problem or a problem that is going to cost more than a thousand dollars.

Now the next issue I will cover is getting quotes when the buyer wants to reduce the price or to hire their own contractor before the closing.  It is best to get 3 quotes because contractor quotes vary widely.  Some contractors are plain crazy on their prices.  If the buyer is getting a quote beware.  Just as you want one of the lowest price contractors, the buyer is going to want the job done with all the bells and whistles.  I once had a buyer want a $35,000 roof done with 50 year shingles, top of the line underlayment, and extra ice shield put on the house.  The other three quotes where between $12,000 and $18,000.  If you cannot reach agreement on how much to spend and what type of job is to be done.  You may have to say no to the buyer, have it fixed on your own, and then put your home back on the market if the repair request is unreasonable.

I hope this gives you a little guidance when the home inspection fails and you the home seller do not want to fix it.