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Items to consider when making Repair Requests

Chad Withrow

Chad Withrow is a native of the Louisville area. He grew up in Oldham County...

Chad Withrow is a native of the Louisville area. He grew up in Oldham County...

Apr 9 6 minutes read

Once you are under contract on a property, the work of inspections and repairs begins. For many buyer clients, this is a second round of negotiating with the seller. The time frame for this phase is one of the agreed upon terms of the initial contract. The timeline for inspections allows buyers an opportunity to complete all due diligence on the home. It is important to act swiftly when scheduling these inspections. The sooner you conduct inspections, the sooner you will know about any functional defects or safety issues in the home. This will allow ample time to schedule specialists for further inspections. Your real estate agent will assist in helping you know what to expect in this phase of the contract.  

When shopping for real estate, it is important to consider the amount of home maintenance that is compatible with your desired lifestyle. Do you have time to cut grass every week? Do you have the funds to outsource those responsibilities? Would you rather not worry about exterior maintenance? Older homes purchased as resale may come with more costly repair items than a new construction home or townhome, for example.  

Prior to offering on a home, it is important to understand the costs of typical inspections and know that this expense is not recouped should the contract terminate. It’s important to complete your due diligence and inspect the home at the beginning of the contract so you can determine if this large investment is worth making. An experienced buyer’s agent will help you navigate this process with clarity and ease. Your real estate agent will assist in the prioritization of the repairs which are most impactful to the functionality and safety of the home to optimally protect your investment.  

Every home will merit some level of repair, no matter how well it has been maintained or the age. The various components that make up the home such as the roof, mechanicals, structure each have different anticipated lifespans. These items all require upkeep, repairs, and replacement at some point. When the repair phase begins we often recommend that clients have the general home inspection completed first. This inspection is performed by a trained professional whose goal is to thoroughly review the major components of the home. Completing this inspection provides an objective picture of the condition of the investment and allows the opportunity to determine if further inspections are needed. Should the findings of your inspection be unsatisfactory, the inspection phase allows buyers in Kentucky to void the contract without penalty.

Your agent will help you sort through the recommended list of repairs and prioritize them. We like to sort items into three categories; items you intend to ask the seller to repair, items that you can repair on your own after closing, and items you will have a professional repair after closing. Categorizing these repair items can make the list of repairs more digestible for the buyer. Once you have done this, your agent will craft a repair request that will be submitted to the listing agent and their seller. 

How do you decide upon items which are worthy of repair? Remain realistic and understand sellers are unlikely to complete every cited item since all parties understand homes have anticipated levels of wear and tear. Though there is not a standard for what is reasonable to request and what is not, your agent will provide you with guidance along the way. Know that the inspection phase is also not a time to negotiate cosmetic requests and is reserved for functional and safety items only. When purchasing resale homes in Kentucky, it is important to understand that homes are not required to meet current building codes.  

Make a list of repair items and rank them from most important to least important. Please consider that the circumstances of sellers vary tremendously. Some are not living locally to make repairs while others may not have the means or physical ability to conduct or even oversee repairs. These situations often render a credit in lieu of repairs for the buyer to be negotiated.  Negotiating a credit instead of asking for sellers to make repairs is also a great option for buyers who prefer to have control of the repair after closing. 

If you are a seller, it is prudent to address deferred maintenance as able prior to going on market. A well maintained home improves presentation and typically results in a higher net. 

If you are lucky enough to find yourself in a multiple offer situation as a seller, consider the condition of your home when selecting an offer. If you have not maintained the home well, FHA and VA appraisers can place conditions on your buyer's loan that may result in added repair costs outside of what is negotiated in the initial repair phase. These conditional repairs can delay the closing if they are not completed and reinspected quickly. 

The Withrow Group has sold nearly 700 homes. This team of experienced agents consistently ranks in the TOP 1% of Realtors in the Greater Louisville Area. Our team sells homes faster than the average Louisville Realtor and our customized marketing plans are unmatched. If you are looking to buy or sell, we would be happy to assist. Call us today and we can tailor a plan to fit your real estate needs!

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