What is ok (and not ok) to ask for when buying a home.

Dated: 07/19/2019

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What is ok (and not ok) to ask for when buying a new home? 


As we navigate through this ever changing real estate market, I thought it would be a good time to discuss a realistic approach to buying a home.  As agents, we sometimes see buyers fail at some very critical points in their transactions because their requests during their period of inspection were deemed to be unreasonable by the sellers.  


So what is ok to ask for and what is reasonable for you to expect when buying a home? 


  1.  You are completely reasonable to request clearance for termite and the roof.  If you’ve never been part of this process, here’s how it goes.  A termite inspection inspection is ordered and the inspector will present you with a report. This report contains what they refer to as Section 1 and Section 2 damage.  Section 1 damage is either termite fungus/wood rot issues which need to be remedied immediately. Section 2 issues are issues that “might” become more immediate issues down the road.  It is the Section 1 issues that are typically negotiated at this stage. These reports also include an estimate for the work and once completed, you will be provided a clearance.  

  2. It is absolutely ok to ask that the house’s basic systems work properlyPlumbing should be working, the furnace and air conditioning should heat and cool, electrical outlets should be functioning, etc.  Also, windows and doors should open freely.  

  3. It is not reasonable to ask for upgrades.  When an older home was built, it was built in accordance to the building codes back then.  When buying an older home, you are purchasing it with the applicable codes of the day it was built. While acceptable to ask the seller to ensure that an electrical system is working up to the standards of when it was built, it is not acceptable to ask that the electrical system be upgradedThe same goes for upgrading plumbing to galvanized pipes or installing new furnaces.  

  4. It is NOT reasonable to ask for abatement of asbestos and lead-based paint.  I do recommend that you investigate thoroughly to determine existence and levels of these materials, but asking the sellers to pay to remove it is not a reasonable request.  

  5. Asking the seller for cosmetic upgrades such as flooring, carpeting, paint, is not acceptable.  

So as a buyer, be thoughtful as you move forward with your intention to buy a home.  The investigation/inspection period is not intended to be used as a major pivot point to renegotiate your transaction.  Not only are you failing to negotiate in good faith by doing so, but you are also risking ill feelings between you and the home sellers, something that never helps to solidify a deal.  


I’m always here to answer any real estate related questions for you, so please never hesitate to reach out to me. 



HomeSmart Realty West



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Sim Ziff

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