You finally found the perfect home! You are a little bit nervous, after all, someone else has been doing the maintenance (or not doing it, as the case may be). The Home Inspection is scheduled. What can you expect?
First of all, unless you are buying a brand new home, there will be items identified as needing repair by the home inspector (and even in a brand new home, you should expect some things). There is no such thing as a 'perfect' house. As a buyer, you should be interested in knowing the how much 'life' is left in the home's systems and appliances, so you can plan for later updates. You should be interested in any major problems. You should be interested in operational pluming and electric systems. You should be interested in understanding the general condition of the home. You should want to know if the windows work properly, and if there are any dangerous conditions. You should learn as much as you can about this home. That is the purpose of the inspection.
Because most contracts allow the inspection to be be done as a contingency to the sale, there is often an opportunity to negotiate with the seller to do some repairs. Of course, we all want EVERYTHING done, but that is not the intent of the contingency. You should be focused on making sure the home is safe and that the systems and appliances are operating correctly (meaning roof, HVAC system, electrical, plumbing, windows and other items of that nature).
More and more, listing agents and their sellers are receiving laundry lists of minor repairs. Sometimes it is just easier to say yes to these. But sometimes a seller will push back. A long list is sometimes warranted, in the case of deferred maintenance, but often it is the result of a buyer who is seeking perfection.
As you go through any home inspection negotiation, keep in mind what the intent of the inspection is and act accordingly. If an HVAC system is working properly, but 15 years old, don't ask for a new one. Most sellers will agree to a maintenance visit, but I have never had one agree to replace the system.
Your Realtor can help you to determine what repairs requests are realistic and what are not. If you find that the list of problems exceed your ability to deal with them, most contracts will allow you to cancel the contract. Make sure you understand what your Home Inspection Contingency says and use the home inspection to get the information that you need to make an educated decision and purchase.
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