Five Tips for Negotiating a Home Purchase with Your Home Inspection Results

Northcoast Property Inspections |


The purpose of a home inspection is to obtain a report of hidden flaws in a house before buying it. Now that you have your inspection report in hand, it’s vital to understand what it contains and act on it quickly. Unfortunately, people avoid the latter as they believe it requires confrontation and skills to negotiate which holds them back from leveraging their inspection report for a better sales price.

To help you get over your reservations and make the best use of the findings from your inspection, Northcoast Property Inspections has listed five tips for negotiating a home purchase with your home inspection results.

Tip #1: Ignore the cosmetic issues.

Inspectors will often note small things on their list, like a deck with peeling paint, windows that need caulking, or cracked tile in the kitchen. You might also notice small things like ugly paint colors or scratched wood floors. These things will need to be repaired, but it’s not something to bring to the seller’s attention.

While it’s tempting to start nickel-and-diming the sellers so that your new home can be as pristine as possible when you move in, that’s just not realistic. Instead, focus your time and attention on major, structural issues, rather than cosmetic ones.

You can probably handle a lot of these problems by yourself, and if you overstress the small stuff, you’ll lose your bargaining power for larger, more expensive jobs.

Tip #2: Ask for repair money, not repairs.

Money is almost always more useful in this instance than having the repairs done by the seller. This principle is similar to when you’re given a Christmas gift that you don’t want to keep. You’ll go to the store to return it and take the store credit to spend on whatever you want. You know you’ll be satisfied with what you get because you’re the one who picked it out.

The same thing goes here. When asked to make the repairs, the seller is no longer invested in doing a good job. They’ll simply do their duty and move on. If they give you money, you can have it done the way you want.

The home seller will almost always find the cheapest available contractor or family member to fix the problem. Meanwhile, you as the buyer would, of course, prefer the best contractor available.

Tip #3: Don’t show your cards.

Most of the time when an inspector comes back with problems, the buyer develops plans to correct them. They might also include other renovations they plan to do at the same time to cut costs. This is a smart way to approach a home purchase, but you shouldn’t tell the seller or their agent about it.

Revealing your comfort level with the home or your intentions, in the presence of the listing agent, could come back to haunt you in further discussions or negotiations. If they sense you are uneasy with the inspection, they’ll be more willing to relay that to the seller. Conversely, if you spend two hours measuring the spaces and picking paint colors, you lose negotiation power.

Generally, the less you say about your personal plans during negotiations, the better. Let the seller and their agent interpret your feelings so that you get a better deal. Additionally, keep thoughts of DIY renovations to yourself if you don’t want to lose some of the repair credit you’re asking for.

Tip #4: Know when to stop negotiating.

There’s a fine line between knowing when to quit and pursuing further negotiations. You want to take some risks and get as much as you can from the sellers, but you don’t want to push so hard that they won’t budge and finally end up closing the doors.

Remember, your goal is to get the house you want, not win in every situation. You could be putting your deal in jeopardy over small items that are meaningless in the scheme of five, ten, or twenty plus years of owning the home.

If you’ve won on some of your big priorities, it might be time to stop pushing. You probably won’t get everything on your list, but you can be satisfied with your victories.

Tip #5: Know when to walk away.

Negotiations might not be going as you hoped, and if that’s the case, it might simply be time to walk away from the house. Not all deals can be salvaged, despite applying your best negotiation tactics. If you’re buying a home in a seller’s market, the seller might hold most of the power and refuse to move.

As long as you’re within the ten days of your inspection window, you can pull out without repercussions. You never want to buy a house that will be more stressful and expensive than it’s worth. Sometimes, it’s best to pull out and find an option that won’t be such a hassle.

At Northcoast Property Inspections we ensure thorough home inspections, so you have all the details you need to negotiate a good deal. We are a customer-centric inspection company with a keen eye for detail this makes us the top home inspection company in Jacksonville, FL. Just ask our five hundred plus happy clients!

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