My husband and I just completed the negotiation process of the home inspection for the sale of our house. While we took pride in keeping our home up-to-standards, there were a few items the home inspector caught that the buyers wanted fixed. Here’s how we negotiated to a fair deal for both parties:
Understand what you really want.
We already were under contract on our new home, so we wanted to make sure we didn’t loss a great, qualified buyer. From our perspective, we had come to a fair sales price in the offer negotiation, and it was most important that we didn’t loss a qualified buyer. While we didn’t want to get nickeled and dimed for every little paint chip and dent in our home, we were willing to be realistic on what really needed to be fixed, verses what we could push back on.
Before you start countering a buyer’s demands, determine how much the items they are asking for really cost. For example, the inspector found that we had a small crack in our fireplace fire box. We originally were very concerned that this would be a major masonry expense and would be a deal breaker for the buyer if we didn’t get it fixed. We ended up calling a few certified companies in the area and received a quote for less than $200. If we had pushed back on the buyer and simply said no due to fear of the expense, we may have lost a qualified buyer for something that really only cost us $200.
Stand firm when you need to.
There were a few items on the repair list that we knew just didn’t need to be fixed. For example, when we purchased the house, our home inspector noticed that the siding in the back had a small crack after it had been hit by a lawn mower. He assured us it would do no damage to our house structure and it was strictly cosmetic. We never got around to fixing it, so when the buyers came back and asked us to fix it, we respectfully declined. After all, the whole process is a true negotiation – the buyers come to the table asking for everything, hoping we will come back with some of the items on their list. Most buyers don’t expect the seller to agree to everything they ask for.
Be willing to negotiate.
When we saw the list of items that the buyer wanted fixed, we determined that it only would be a few hundred dollars to fix everything. However, the buyer wanted receipts and proof that each contractor was certified and met their standards, and rightfully so. After weighing the pros and cons of doing the work ourselves verses giving the buyers an incentive to take the house as-is and then do the work once they closed, we decided to go with the latter. We offered the buyers our washer and dryer, which originally were not in the contract. We paid $1,200 for the set two years earlier, however would not be able to get more than $400 or $500 if we tried to sell them used. In the end, it was a wash for both parties.
In the end, we agreed to terms that were beneficial for both parties. It pays to do your research and come to the negotiation table prepared.