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What Fixes are Mandatory After a Home Inspection and Who Pays for Them?

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A home inspection is usually required when selling a house. There’s a good chance you’ll run into at least one problem. There are some issues that won’t be obvious during a showing, so pay close attention to structural problems, health hazards, and other possibilities, then factor them into your budget.

If lead contamination or mold is present, it may be necessary to make repairs prior to a sale. Both sellers and buyers might need to be aware of what fixes are mandatory after a home inspection.

What Fixes Are Mandatory After a Home Inspection?

None, in a nutshell. After a home inspection, there are no mandatory repairs from a legal standpoint. But that doesn’t mean a seller can dismiss a home inspection out of hand or refuse to make repairs despite the seller’s objection.

A home inspection can reveal a wide range of issues, including mold and chemical contamination. Accordingly, some repairs are necessary for your home to be habitable, but others may not be necessary before moving in. In general, buyers should request fixes that address safety hazards or structural problems. Among them are:

  • Water or mold damage
  • Hazards, including electrical, fire, and structural hazards
  • Violating your local building codes
  • Faulty electrical, plumbing, or HVAC systems
  • Old roofs that need to be replaced within three years of their age
  • Insect or pest infestations
  • Cracks in the foundation
  • Contamination by chemicals, such as lead-based paint or asbestos

Cosmetic fixes for wear and tear aren’t required or the seller’s responsibility. Other factors must be considered when deciding which fixes are “mandatory” and which are optional. In some states (Florida, for instance), the seller is not required to make repairs in “as-is” contracts.

This means that the buyer accepts the property as is, but has the right to back out of the deal if the inspection reveals too many issues.

Likewise, there is a difference between repairs requested by a buyer compared to those required by a lender or insurance company for mortgage underwriting. Banks may refuse to finance or insure you if the results of an inspection and the planned repairs aren’t satisfactory. A buyer may need to make certain repairs in order to qualify for a loan and close on the home.

Who Pays For The Repairs?

It depends on the contract and the scope of repairs. Generally, a seller will pay for structural or component repairs, or at least learn what these repairs entail so they can discuss them with a potential buyer.

Some home inspection contracts provide a dollar amount that the seller may use for repairs. If an inspection reveals wood-destroying insects or pest damage, The contract may state that he is contractually obligated to spend a certain amount of the purchase price on treatment, repairs, or both.

See Also: How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

What To Do If The Homeowner Refuses To Fix The Problem?

Buyers can walk away from a deal if the seller won’t make repairs. If you can’t agree on a price that allows the property to be safe and habitable at the right price point, you may want to consider moving on.

However, negotiations should start with discussions about possible repairs. Buyers can make their offer contingent on the results of the home inspection. This gives you more leverage to negotiate repairs with homeowners or to walk away if need be.

Additionally, you can negotiate to lower the price to account for repairs or to include a down payment – so the homeowner isn’t responsible for repairs, but can still absorb some costs.

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