Buyers usually have a house inspected before they proceed with a purchase. The exact language related to a home inspection contingency can vary from one contract to another. In some cases, a contingency gives the buyer the option to request repairs, a repair credit or simply walk away. If the buyer is concerned about any of the findings in the inspection report, repairs must be requested in writing within a specific period of time.
A home inspector may uncover a long series of problems, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they all have to be fixed. Depending on the circumstances, you may be required to address some, but not others.
Problems That You Will Have to Fix
If a home inspector uncovers any issues that can affect health and safety, you will have to make repairs. You will also have to fix structural damage and conditions that violate local building codes. State or local laws may require you to make certain other types of repairs before you can sell your house.
Issues That You May Not Have to Fix
An inspector may also uncover faults with the house that are cosmetic or that are due to regular wear and tear. Under those circumstances, you probably won’t be required to make repairs.
Other issues may fall in between. In that case, the buyer may request repairs, but you don’t necessarily have to agree. If you’re in a seller’s market and you have received other offers, you may be able to sell the house as is. If you don’t have that leverage, you may have to agree to make repairs, reduce the sale price or negotiate another solution, such as including appliances with the home sale.
What Can Happen If You Refuse to Make Repairs
If you don’t make required repairs, the deal may fall through. The buyer’s lender may refuse to approve a mortgage or the buyer may choose to walk away.
You may think that you can just find someone else to buy your home, but it may not be that simple. Once you have been made aware of a defect in the house, you will be required to disclose it to any other prospective buyer.
Ask Your Real Estate Agent for Guidance
When you review the home inspection report, you may feel dismayed to see a long list of problems noted. Remember that you aren’t necessarily required or expected to repair every issue. Your agent can tell you what you have to fix and what you don’t and may be able to suggest other ways to address defects in the house.
If you will be required to make repairs, request estimates from a few local contractors. Then you will be able to figure out whether you should pay for repairs or lower the price and, if so, by how much.