Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

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skinsfan
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Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by skinsfan »

We are under contract on a new home and just went through the inspection process. There was a total of three offers on the house including ours and the seller accepted our offer at the asking price. They countered for a 60 day closing that we accepted without asking anything in return.

When we arrived at the inspection the sellers wrote us a letter telling us they would like to leave us some items including a John Deer 318 tractor, pool table, and some other smaller items (less expensive tools/furniture). Our inspector did a very thorough inspection and the house is in very good condition. The majority of the inspection report was minor or relatively inexpensive items. Based on the inspection we asked for the following repairs from the seller.

- Garage door repairs estimated $1,100
- Safety improvements to garage loft staircase estimated $1,800
- Re-grading an area outside estimated $2,000 (inspector noted this is not urgent)
- Deck and front porch reinforcement (no price estimate provided)
- Add catwalk from attic opening to AC platform estimated at $400

The seller countered that they will not make any of the requested repairs but will leave the items that they previously listed in the letter. In the counter offer they included price quotes for the items which total a bit over $4,000. One concern I have is that there is still a well/septic inspection closer to closing and I don't want to set a precedent that they can dictate all of the terms since well/septic issues can be pricey. On the other hand, we don't want negotiations over the above listed items to jeopardize the deal.

Any advice from people who've been through these types of negotiations before?
adamthesmythe
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by adamthesmythe »

1. Now that they have responded, your choice is to take the house without repairs or bail.

2. Do you WANT the stuff they intend to leave? If not, you can require that they remove it. They apparently think what they are leaving is desirable and worth some amount of money. Is it?

3. You are not setting a "precedent." If there are problems with the septic, and they won't fix or compensate you, you can bail just as now.
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Nate79
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by Nate79 »

In my experience septic issues must be fixed. But the other items on your list are just a price negotiation. The seller had other offers so I don't blame them for telling you no.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by JoeRetire »

skinsfan wrote: Sun Mar 24, 2019 2:55 pm The seller countered that they will not make any of the requested repairs but will leave the items that they previously listed in the letter. In the counter offer they included price quotes for the items which total a bit over $4,000. One concern I have is that there is still a well/septic inspection closer to closing and I don't want to set a precedent that they can dictate all of the terms since well/septic issues can be pricey. On the other hand, we don't want negotiations over the above listed items to jeopardize the deal.

Any advice from people who've been through these types of negotiations before?
We just sold our house so have some experience with inspection-related negotiations.

You can walk away right now if you choose. I'll assume you don't want to do that.
You can accept their counter. I'll assume you want to try to do better than that.
You can negotiate. Either require them to make some of the repairs, or ask for some of the money that would be required for you to make the repairs.

Don't worry about a "precedent". The seller cannot dictate any terms. You will still be free to negotiate or walk away.

Ultimately, walking away is your ultimate rejoinder. The seller's can move on to the next best offer.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
mortfree
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by mortfree »

Don’t let them make the repairs. They will skimp as much as possible.

Welcome to home ownership
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by RickBoglehead »

Well/septic inspection should be part of contingency and in same 15 day period.

Your inspector's list includes items that never should have been given to Seller. Regrading?
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8foot7
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by 8foot7 »

As the seller, I would have said no to all of those items either. I'm not renovating a home I am selling during contingencies; asking for a lot to be graded and catwalks to be built is just beyond the pale. Either you want the house or you don't, and that's for you to decide.
Golfview
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by Golfview »

If you disagree with the seller you should look elsewhere for the home you want at a price you can afford,it's possible you're overreaching on your price range or May be you can find something better.
YttriumNitrate
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by YttriumNitrate »

8foot7 wrote: Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:34 pm As the seller, I would have said no to all of those items either. I'm not renovating a home I am selling during contingencies; asking for a lot to be graded and catwalks to be built is just beyond the pale.
I agree. My general rule is that only things that should be asked for/given after an inspection are major things that are not obvious to the average person spending 20 minutes touring the house. I could see asking for a new garage door opener if the current one is completely non-functional, but everything else just screams of a buyer trying to use the inspection to renegotiate the price. Unfortunately, that is now the precedent, so even if there is something "major and non-obvious" with the septic, I doubt the seller will budge.
tim1999
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by tim1999 »

Personally I would not under any circumstances want to be left with a pool table, those can be major pain in the rear to get rid of. I'm guessing the tractor is kinda old or junky, otherwise they would sell it.

For repairs I generally want the seller to give me a credit at closing, otherwise the seller is inclined to use the lowest cost/shoddiest contractor, like hiring their uncle Lou the drunk handyman, etc. to do the work.

If I were the seller here I'd probably say no to all of the requests listed, especially since there were other offers. As a buyer, I usually ask for some credit after the home inspection, but if the seller balks I don't push it and move on. Half the time the items I'm asking for credit for aren't really that important, and if they give me the money, sometimes I never end up having the work done anyway.
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skinsfan
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by skinsfan »

YttriumNitrate wrote: Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:23 pm
8foot7 wrote: Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:34 pm As the seller, I would have said no to all of those items either. I'm not renovating a home I am selling during contingencies; asking for a lot to be graded and catwalks to be built is just beyond the pale.
I agree. My general rule is that only things that should be asked for/given after an inspection are major things that are not obvious to the average person spending 20 minutes touring the house. I could see asking for a new garage door opener if the current one is completely non-functional, but everything else just screams of a buyer trying to use the inspection to renegotiate the price. Unfortunately, that is now the precedent, so even if there is something "major and non-obvious" with the septic, I doubt the seller will budge.
Helpful. We haven't done this before so don't know what's typical for sellers to accept or decline. We basically saw the inspection report and asked for the major items listed on there. Regarding well/septic, the contract reads that the seller must repair any non-functioning components or the contract is void so that should be more clear cut. Thanks for your responses.
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skinsfan
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by skinsfan »

tim1999 wrote: Sun Mar 24, 2019 7:15 pm Personally I would not under any circumstances want to be left with a pool table, those can be major pain in the rear to get rid of. I'm guessing the tractor is kinda old or junky, otherwise they would sell it.

For repairs I generally want the seller to give me a credit at closing, otherwise the seller is inclined to use the lowest cost/shoddiest contractor, like hiring their uncle Lou the drunk handyman, etc. to do the work.

If I were the seller here I'd probably say no to all of the requests listed, especially since there were other offers. As a buyer, I usually ask for some credit after the home inspection, but if the seller balks I don't push it and move on. Half the time the items I'm asking for credit for aren't really that important, and if they give me the money, sometimes I never end up having the work done anyway.
I think we are going to move forward without pushing it. The pool table and tractor both looked to be in pretty good condition although we don't really know for sure. Both will likely be used so we are going to accept the items they offered to leave.
wilked
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by wilked »

If it were me I wouldn’t have done any communication until all inspections (including septic) are done. It’s clunky to negotiate piece by piece.

The garage door one is the only one I would consider if I were a seller, and that depends upon what it exactly is - does the door function?
Thegame14
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by Thegame14 »

I would tell them they must make any repairs that are for code, the rest you should eat, you aren't buying a brand new house, so things like grading and wear on a garage are expected, but safety and code should be fixed,

I would counter them to keep items you don't want that they said they would leave and ask them to fix the one safety issue.
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skinsfan
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by skinsfan »

wilked wrote: Sun Mar 24, 2019 7:58 pm If it were me I wouldn’t have done any communication until all inspections (including septic) are done. It’s clunky to negotiate piece by piece.

The garage door one is the only one I would consider if I were a seller, and that depends upon what it exactly is - does the door function?
This may have been lack of experience on our part but it was due to the contingency section of the contract was structured. The inspection contingency gave us 9 days complete. The well and septic contingency needs to be completed within 30 days of settlement and we have a 60 day closing.

The garage door does function but the motion sensor doesn't work and failed the test for excess downward force. Our inspector said this is a safety hazard.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by adamthesmythe »

> My general rule is that only things that should be asked for/given after an inspection are major things that are not obvious to the average person spending 20 minutes touring the house.

While this is a reasonable position it should be understood that REASONABLE DOESN'T MATTER.

What matters is market conditions (which you can know as a buyer) and the seller's needs and desires (which you can't really know).

In a strong market a seller can decline to fix tens of thousands of dollars worth of foundation problems. In a poor market the buyer can ask the seller to paint all the bedrooms pink while standing on his head.

Given OP's description of the situation, he should not have asked for much. Now there is not really a downside because he can always fall back and accept the initial purchase contract. But probably his agent should have advised him to be less aggressive in his requests. If something else comes up the seller might just decide OP is high-maintenance and take the risk of bailing and looking for another buyer.

Buying real estate is a game played with incomplete knowledge of the strength of your opponent's position.
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F150HD
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by F150HD »

a John Deer 318 tractor, pool table, and some other smaller items (less expensive tools/furniture).
A Deere 318 is coveted by many if that matters.

As for leaving you a pool table LOL. Kinda tacky.

regrading? catwalks? feel like more info is needed on this property.
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Scrapr
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by Scrapr »

most GDO have an adjustment on the opener to lessen or increase the downward force. cost? $00.00

You never know what you are going to get with inspectors. Some good & reasonable. Others are looking to check boxes on their form then scare buyers with "dangerous" items

we sold our home a couple years ago. Buyers inspector found a bit of mold on the roof deck as the bath vents had worked loose. Couple small repairs on the roof....but no mention that the roof was 23 years old! We got a call a few months after asking if we disclosed that. I think they just realized itr. Buyers realtor was a rookie agent. We could not sign the inspection addendum fast enough
mortfree
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by mortfree »

Regarding the pool table.

Find out if it is one piece slate.

I contacted 6 companies in my area and none would move a one piece slate pool table.
Pioneer
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by Pioneer »

mortfree wrote: Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:47 am Regarding the pool table.

Find out if it is one piece slate.

I contacted 6 companies in my area and none would move a one piece slate pool table.
I agree. Don't let them leave the pool table. It's a nightmare to move.
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galawdawg
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by galawdawg »

skinsfan wrote: Sun Mar 24, 2019 2:55 pm Our inspector did a very thorough inspection and the house is in very good condition. The majority of the inspection report was minor or relatively inexpensive items. Based on the inspection we asked for the following repairs from the seller.

- Garage door repairs estimated $1,100
- Safety improvements to garage loft staircase estimated $1,800
- Re-grading an area outside estimated $2,000 (inspector noted this is not urgent)
- Deck and front porch reinforcement (no price estimate provided)
- Add catwalk from attic opening to AC platform estimated at $400
Having bought and sold several homes in my lifetime, I would (as a seller) gladly repair the garage door opener (as another poster mentioned, it is probably a matter of adjusting the travel and force limits on the opener and re-aligning the motion sensors (since they are near floor level, sometimes they can get out of alignment from something as simple as sweeping the garage). Worst case scenario, you need a new garage door opener. Those run about $140-$350 depending on bells and whistles. Get a neighbor or friend to help with installation or pay an installer $200-$300 (average cost to install).

Without knowing the nature of the "safety improvements" to the loft staircase, I would likely not agree as a seller to have that work done or paid for (is it a loose handrail that simply may need tightening?) Likewise with the other items. (Most sellers, even the most accommodating, aren't going to pay for anything noted in the inspection report as an "improvement", safety or otherwise).

The estimated costs you listed with each item, unless you are in a VHCOL area or where repair/improvement work is very expensive, seem out of line with what is likely required. The garage door adjustment may just take fifteen minutes and no parts. Adding a "catwalk" in the attic may just be a matter of adding a few sheets of two foot by four foot attic decking to make a walkway over the joists and nailing them down (about $7.50 per sheet precut here or $15.00 for a four foot by eight sheet you cut yourself and make four pieces of attic decking). An hour of time and $40 worth of materials would likely get that job done unless the AC is more than fifteen feet or so from the attic stairs. Regrading an outside area may be to ensure that rain drains away from the house. Depending on the area involved, it may be an hour with a shovel and garden rake or it may be a few days with a contractor and bobcat.

If you are a first time home buyer, you may want to develop some "handyman" skills as minor DIY maintenance items (such as adjusting a garage door opener) can really increase your cost of home ownership if you have to pay someone else to do the work for you. YouTube and other internet resources can walk a homeowner through many maintenance/repair projects.

As far as the items the seller said they wanted to leave, it is a little disingenuous for them to "negotiate" those in lieu of inspection issues when prior to the inspection occurring they had already offered to leave those for you. Keep those if you'd like or insist they remove them when they move if you have no need for them. (And if you are in Georgia and don't need the John Deere, let me know! :wink: )

Good luck!
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SmallCityDave
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by SmallCityDave »

First and foremost the negotiations are over, you don't negotiate over the repairs you make a request and if you don't like the response you can cancel.

Generally speaking the buyer and seller are so different -
Buyer "the motion sensor is out of adjustment" obviously this is a safety concern and seller should spend $1100 to repair, please tell the seller we are paying full price.
Seller - the garage door works just fine, why would I spend $1100 fixing it when I bought it for a $100 - please tell the "crazy buyer" we had many other offers.

When you buy the home you will not be concerned about it until you deal with a "crazy buyer".
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8foot7
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by 8foot7 »

SmallCityDave wrote: Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:45 am First and foremost the negotiations are over, you don't negotiate over the repairs you make a request and if you don't like the response you can cancel.

This isn’t the least bit true in several states. While yes, you can cancel if you don’t like the seller’s response, you can also propose a change in sales price, a change in scope of the repair, a repair or improvement outside of closing, or the inclusion of a home warranty at the seller’s expense—or really any other suitable ask that you can imagine. I would argue that more
negotiation happens at the contingency stage than at any other.

And yes as a buyer in a multiple offer situation your agent should have advised you not to send all but perhaps that garage door request, and even then, if the door works, that should have been enough.
barnaclebob
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by barnaclebob »

IMO you asked for too many things, many of which sound like they can be easily fixed DIY with less than a couple hundred dollars worth of supplies from the hardware store.
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SmallCityDave
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by SmallCityDave »

8foot7 wrote: Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:50 am
SmallCityDave wrote: Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:45 am First and foremost the negotiations are over, you don't negotiate over the repairs you make a request and if you don't like the response you can cancel.

This isn’t the least bit true in several states. Which states? the buyer never mentioned where he is from.


While yes, you can cancel if you don’t like the seller’s response, you can also propose a change in sales price, a change in scope of the repair, a repair or improvement outside of closing, or the inclusion of a home warranty at the seller’s expense—or really any other suitable ask that you can imagine. I would argue that more
negotiation happens at the contingency stage than at any other.

The agents can have a sidebar conversation trying to keep the transaction together but generally speaking the terms on the "repair request" the buyer now has one of 2 options proceed or cancel.

And yes as a buyer in a multiple offer situation your agent should have advised you not to send all but perhaps that garage door request, and even then, if the door works, that should have been enough. Agreed.
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Re: Inspection Negotiations for New Home Purchase

Post by forgeblast »

318 is an awesome tractor. Many parts still available. I have one, and its a beast. Snow blower attachments, there are bucket attachments for it too.
Depending on the shape its in and what attachments you have you might get $2k for the tractor alone.
I went through an added a small electric fuel pump to mine vs the mechanical one it normally has. But these machines were what put John Deere back on top of the homeowner market.
Many dealers will take it for trade for a new tractor too.
If you have any questions on it PM me or ask here. Its a great tractor.
Pool table they don't want to move it.
Septic test, we were close to closing on a house and it came back there was an issue (actually we were told by a neighbor that there was one too) and that killed the deal.
Well--get it tested, the water. Seller had to put a UV light on our well before it passed.
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