It's the biggest question facing home buyers who aren't buying new construction. Having represented my fair share of buyers in my career, nothing makes a prospective buyer more nervous than reading over a home inspection report. How much of this is serious? How much is repairing all of these items going to cost? How much will the seller pay for? Is this home even worth proceeding with?
It's inevitable. Unavoidable. When buying a resale there are going to be items that show up on an inspection report. It's just the nature of the beast. Even if the seller has made a litany of repairs already, there will always be items that show up on the report.
It all comes down to money, because every issue can be repaired. It may cost $500 or it may cost $25,000. So how do home buyers know what issues they can (and should) fix themselves, what they should ask the seller to fix, or when to walk away? Let's talk about it.
Because home inspections don't take place until the buyer is under contract, they no longer have to worry about another buyer swooping in and stealing the home. Now it comes down to money and risk. I generally try to prepare my home buyers by advising them that if they buy a resale they need to allocate a certain amount of money for some repairs after they purchase the home. That dollar amount is different for every buyer, but it helps them understand that there are going to be some things that they will want to change, and change costs money.
This is what every home buyer needs to ask themselves after reading through the home inspection and going through it with their Realtor: "If the seller fixes nothing, am I willing to proceed with the contract as-is?
If you aren't willing to buy the home as-is, come up with a list of repairs that the seller would have to complete for you to move forward. This is all based on what the home is worth to you. Once you have your list, ask for a couple extra items along with your must-have list. Odds are, the seller will not repair ALL of the items, so make sure they feel like you were willing to compromise down to your original must-have list.
Lastly, if they are not willing to meet your value proposition, walk away from the home. It is not worth buying a home that you do not have the time, money, or effort to put into it. Maintaining a home is already a financial commitment. The last thing you want to do is overextend and buy something that becomes a financial burden, especially when you were presented with the financial burden before you purchased it.