Watson International

Home Pre-Purchase Maintenance Tips

Did you perform a Home Inspection which revealed some maintenance problems? The various systems in a property naturally wear out and break down over time, so it’s normal for homes on the market to need a few repairs. You just have to decide what to do about these issues! Is the seller responsible for making repairs? Can you use your home inspection results to negotiate a better sale price? If you’re considering purchasing a home “as is” — which is the standard in New York City — the answer to both of these questions is “no.” In fact, the norm in NYC is not even to have a Home Inspection performed in condo and co-op purchases at all.

Here we discuss that your best course of action will depend on what kinds of maintenance issues you’re dealing with and how much they are going to cost.

Common Maintenance Issues

Some of the most common home maintenance problems facing townhouse buyers include roof issues, rotten wood, electrical safety concerns, plumbing problems, and faulty HVAC systems. Repairing or replacing these defective home components can be very expensive, so make sure you know the estimated costs before starting your negotiations. Home Inspections are not as unusual in NYC townhouse purchases, and you can use this to your advantage.

Negotiations can be challenging without an expert to guide you through the process. As Forbes explains, there are several points relating to the transaction which are common grounds for negotiations. In New York City, once you’ve signed a Sale Contract you can no longer alter your price and terms, so be sure to perform your Home Inspection and review the subsequent report prior to signing your Sale Contract. In other areas like New Jersey, Home Inspection contingencies within Sale Contracts permit renegotiations after the Sale Contract signing.

Making Repair Requests

While the seller is responsible for disclosing any known defects with the home, they do not have to agree to your repair requests. However, it could be in their best interest to negotiate with you instead of looking for another buyer. If the home has been on the market for a while, the seller may be more willing to accommodate your repair requests.

According to The Balance, there are a couple of ways you and the seller can handle repair requests. The first option is to have the seller make the repairs. Keep in mind that your seller no longer has a personal stake in the home, so they may not put in the time and money to hire the best contractor and choose high-quality materials for the job. To avoid this problem and ensure your new home is repaired to your standards, you can ask for a cash credit. Credits at closing are a very common practice.

Maintenance Problems to Handle Yourself

When making your maintenance requests, try not to be too picky. Handing the seller a long list of repairs could prompt them to start looking for another buyer, especially if you’re in a seller’s market and there are a lot of people eyeing the home. Some maintenance problems should be left out of your repair negotiations. For example, if you need a tree pruned or removed, you can look online to find reliable contractors to complete this work. Just make sure to ask for references and always insist on a written estimate for the work that’s to be performed.

Likewise, don’t ask the seller to make any of those dream renovations that you’re planning. Just make sure to budget for these repairs and cosmetic upgrades so you have some funds left over after making your down payment.

Navigating home maintenance issues and negotiating repair costs are all part of the home buying process. After receiving your home inspection report, take the time to research the repair costs for the problems that matter most to you. And remember not to be too picky! You’ll have the best home-buying experience if both you and the seller leave happy.

Lastly, don’t forget that in New York City condos and co-ops, the norm is for all sales to be entirely “as is” and not even include a Home Inspection. So, if you are planning to buy a condo or co-op in NYC, be sure to stay realistic about the level of work you’re willing to do on your own post closing.

Author: Tina Martin, Ideaspired