Negotiating Repairs After a Bad Home Inspection

A bad home inspection is everyone’s worst nightmare: For the seller, it may come as a complete surprise to find out that their well-maintained home has some major defects and for the buyer, it can be a shocking blow about their new dream home! But a bad home inspection doesn’t need to be an immediate deal breaker. Let’s take a look at some common defects and how to approach this situation for both the buyer and the seller.

Common Problems Found in Home Inspections

The major things you will want to keep an eye out for are water and electrical. While a thorough home inspection may highlight other items, these 2 affect the safety and structural stability of the home.

  • Water: “Water is enemy number one” when it comes to home inspections. Moisture and water damage can cause dry rot, structural problems, damaged foundations, and mold. There are numerous ways that water can get into a home that must be considered.
    1. The property should slope away from the home on all sides to ensure proper run off and drainage, and to avoid pooling around the foundation.
    2. The roof should be checked to ensure it is properly sealed and not too worn. While roof replacements are part of regular home maintenance, an older poorly sealed roof may have already caused damage.
    3. Plumbing issues include “leaking, outdated, and problematic systems”. They can range from relatively minor to extensive.
  • Electrical: Problems with a home’s wiring is a safety concern and should be addressed immediately; faulty wiring can cause house fires. “Worn or outdated systems and homeowner additions are the most common defects, especially in older homes.”. Older homes tend to cause the most problems when it comes to electrical for a few simple reasons:
    1. While new homes tend to have many outlets to suit our current power needs, older homes were not built with this in mind. How this issue has been dealt with could lead to problems. Look for overloaded circuits and extension cords.
    2. The type of wiring system in the home may be outdated or worn.
    3. Exposed wires is a very common problem in homes of all ages. “Any wire that is exposed is susceptible to physical damage.”

Other items to consider from the home inspection that may require immediate attention include issues with the heating and cooling system, poor insulation, and poorly sealed windows and doors.

What to do about a bad home inspection if you’re the SELLER:

You thought you were set; you negotiated the deal you wanted to sell your home and you’re already thinking about moving when you are surprised to find out that your home got a bad inspection. Don’t panic right away as the deal is not done. There are steps you can take to help negotiate to move forward:

  • Calm down and wait. The ball is currently in the buyers court and they may not be as concerned about the findings as you would have imagined. “You’d be surprised at how many buyers expect their home-to-be to require some elbow grease.” They may even go ahead with the deal without asking you to help resolve the issues through requests for repairs or price reductions.
  • Research what the repairs would cost. Get a few bids on major repairs to ensure you know the value. Look at reputable and trusted contractors. This will help you work through any negotiations later on.
  • If the buyer does come forward to ask you to resolve the issues, work with your realtor to come up with a resolution. They will help guide you through the process and will work in your best interest to get a resolution. You are not going it alone.
  • Expect to compromise. You need to find a solution that is agreeable to everybody so you will likely have to give a little or the entire deal may fall through.


What to do about a bad home inspection if you’re the BUYER:

You found your dream home and it seemed perfect to the untrained eye but your home inspector found some major flaws. It is not necessarily the end for this dream; if you are willing to negotiate, you may be able to come to a resolution that you will be comfortable with. Here are some tips to guide you through the process: