Buying a Home? Here's What to Do if the Inspection Turns Up Problems

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You have options when the home inspection identifies issues.

When you are buying a home, you'll want to make sure you make your offer to purchase it contingent on the completion of a home inspection.

This means that a satisfactory inspection of the home is one of the conditions of the sale. If it turns up major issues, then you don't have to go through with the purchase.

The home inspection will be an important part of your home buyer checklist. It ensures you don't buy a home that has a lot of unexpected and serious issues.

But what happens if the home you want to buy undergoes an inspection, and it turns out that there are problems with the home? At that point, you'll have to make some tough decisions about how to move forward.

These are your options if an inspection shows problems with a home you want to buy

If a home inspection reveals problems, there are a number of ways to handle the situation. You could:

  • Ask the seller to make repairs. Requesting that the seller make fixes would enable you to move into a home that isn't in need of immediate repair. However, you want to make sure that the seller works with a licensed repair company and that you get proof that the repairs were performed properly. Some sellers may also be unwilling to do this, especially if the repair is an expensive one and they can't afford to pay out of pocket to get it done before the sale closes.
  • Ask the seller to renegotiate the purchase contract. You could request that the seller drop the price of the home based on the estimated cost of repairs. You could also ask for a seller credit, which would mean that you'd pay the agreed-upon price and the seller would give you some money back at closing. This approach could work if you want to make repairs yourself but don't have the money to do so right away. Just make sure you talk with your mortgage lender to ensure this is an acceptable solution.
  • Accept the home with the issues. This may be the best approach if the problems are relatively minor and inexpensive to fix. If you try to renegotiate the price or ask for repairs, the seller could refuse -- and then you would be left choosing between accepting the home with the problems or walking away.

The right option will depend upon the specifics of your situation, including the cost and the extent of repairs and whether the market is a seller's market or not.

If many homes in your area are selling for over the asking price or people are waiving the inspection contingency altogether, you're likely to be out of luck if you ask for repairs or a price reduction. But if a home has serious issues, you probably don't want to go through with the purchase anyway because you could be stuck making expensive fixes once you move in.

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