Home Buying in 80203>Question Details

Mw, Home Buyer in 80203

How much can we negotiate on a home after inspection is done?

Asked by Mw, 80203 Wed Feb 22, 2012

We have put in an offer on a house that we really like, we did NOT negotiate on the price AT ALL, we put in the full price they were asking for. Now there are about $20,000 worth of things wrong with the house, (not to mention all the upgrades that need to be done). the house is from the 1940's LITERALLY.
the major issues that we are trying to get the seller to fix before we actually buy the house are:
change electrical unit (Its very old)
change furnace/heater (It has a gas leak and is 25years old)
Change roof and fix chimney (there are lots of things wrong with the roof and the chimney)
Add insulation in the attic (there is NOTHING in there)

and we are over looking a lot more smaller things which we could probably do ourselves over time. but our agent is saying that if we send them this list they will probably not accept. Why is our agent rooting for them?????? We have made it perfectly clear that if they are not willing to fix this we can not afford to buy...

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi, This is a common issue and you have to go into it knowing every home is going to need some sort of wrok, you just have to decide your limits. I would get realistic estimates from contractors and present the deal breakers to the sellers. Keep the playing field peaceful as you don't want to taint the negotiation with sour emotions. Make sure your agent does the same with the sellers agent, if the sellers agent paints a negative picture of you the buyer it can halt the process. Everything can be worked out within reason.

Good luck!

Christopher Pagli
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyer Representative
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012
In Colorado there is no law requiring sellers to make repairs to their homes. If any homeowner makes repairs and pulls building permits then said repairs must meet the new building code requirements. This is why I counsel my selling clients to avoid making mechanical repairs unless there is an immediate health/safety issue like a gas leak you've described.

Old homes have old systems which of course you knew going into the purchase.contract. Things like the inspector describing the wiring as old shouldn't be a surprise to you. Things like upgrading the cosmetics fall into the "you knew this going into the contract" too.

Inspections are primarily for you to discover and deal immediately with health and safety issues like the previously mention gas leak.

I concur with your agent. You may not like what I'm about to say but get real about your limitations and buy a home you can afford. Don't waste your time, your agent's time, the listing agent's time, and seller's time looking at older run down homes with the intent of having the seller upgrade it for you. Quit whining and get real in the market place.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012
I agree. The post inspection negotiations are for negotiating what is wrong with the house that you may not have seen. If the disposer doesn't work, then it should be fixed as you made the offer assuming everything functioned as listed in the sellers disclosure. If there is a broken shingle, negotiate it! If there is a hole in the gutter, negotiate it!

That being said, having one older item like a gutter with a small hole that can be fixed is not an excuse to demand all new gutters, your requests should be within reason. One broken shingle on a roof that is a 30 year composite roof put on 5 years ago, does not mean you get to ask for the cost of a new roof.
Flag Mon Apr 21, 2014
How wrong! Inspections are for you to discover the true value of the home and discover major issues affecting use. Anyone telling you that just looking at a house BEFORE an offer is made is sufficient is giving you bad advice.

You, the buyer have a right to ask the seller to either correct deficiencies or re-negotiate the price in good faith. Inspection contingencies are there to protect you. There are homes 100 years old that need nothing and some only a few years old needing many repairs. Often, the need for repairs isn't readily observable just by walking through before you make an offer.

The offer to buy is a starting point just as is the listing price. Do buyers just accept the listing price in a hot market? No, they watch the bids go up. The same works for the buyer. If you make an offer and during the inspection period find major issues, re-negotiate the price down. The amount should be to correct the deficiencies to bring to house up to the offer price. If is is less, walk.
Flag Fri Oct 26, 2012
First, I don't believe your agent is "rooting for them," but if he is, it's time for you to start telling your agent what you would like him to do. Then, if he's unwilling, maybe it's time to put those concerns in to the Sellers anyway, and if they cancel, you can go find a new agent to help you find a different home.

That being said, I'm sure that your agent is just using his experience to help guide you with the negotiations. It's true, many Sellers will not do as much work as you're describing above. I need to ask, did you and your agent discuss how much work the home might need before you put an offer in on it? Did you discuss what the home is worth with the work completed? Maybe this home is priced as low as it is due to the work that it needs, and if that's the case, you can't expect the Sellers to do the work after they've already reduced the price so another Buyer can do the work.

It's time to sit down with your Realtor and have an open and honest conversation. Get all the cards out on the table as to your expectations and his. Maybe this home is not the one for you. Maybe this Realtor is not the one for you. Either way, it's time for you to make some hard decisions SOON.

Good luck.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012
I noticed that not many sellers answered. As a seller this time around, I have a strong opinion.

My home is old, historic and beautiful . But there are a lot of problems with older homes and I don't know any out of the 70 in this historic district that have building permits for most work. We had our own inspection before listing the house and we repaired everything on the list and a few more items not found on our inspection. We gave all the information including costs for our repairs to the buyers agent. They chose to have their own inspection and I would have done the same thing. Now, I have taken my home off the market waiting for escrow to close. There were multiple offers coming in the day of the Open House and at least two were full price. The home is not underpriced and its at the top of the market valuation. Probably it just sqeaked by the appraisal. But it has added value in historic property tax reductions and it is very desirable. I agreed to accept the buyers full offer the same day with the understanding we were not going forward with the multiple offers or backup offers at their request because likely the prices would have gone higher and they did not want a bidding war. They wrote a long letter saying how much they loved the home and had watched it and wanted it so they knew the home and had the opportunity to see for themselves-- It's old !
Now I have spent several thousand dollars more in completing repairs, termite work etc. and if this falls apart I would suffer putting it back on the market and have to start all over.

I believe the inspection is for the purpose of the buyer being advised of anything we did not disclose, could not be seen during home visits, or that is a safety hazard or health concern. Other than that, it is what it is.......an old house not a new house, clearly difficult to maintain, available for anyone to inspect and I don't look at the negotiation as opening now on price. Price was negotiated when the buyers signed an offer to pay full list. Anything less than that will have to be strictly what is required to be repaired by the law in CA. A long laundry list would frankly make me very annoyed and I would tell my agent to go bring back some of the other interested parties.
Seller in San Diego
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 2, 2014
Thank you every one for all your answers. This really help. Now we know exactly what kinda decision to make after all the inspection is done. The roof inspector has said that the roof needs to be replaced and the sewer inspection is being done right now. so we know exactly what to do now.
thanks all for your help :)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 23, 2012
You could always ask for price reduction as long as it is reasonable amount seller may consider. I am in a similar situation. This is a bank owned property they are crediting $12K for closing cost and more. They would not give any more credit but our home inspection we found out buyer may have to replace the entire siding of the house. Only thing I can do at this point is ask for reasonable price reduction. Bank may or may not accept my proposal. I am going to try because my client want to buy the house. I hope this help.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 24, 2014
Your offer was accepted by the seller at a specific price; you had the option to inspect the property and make sure everything is to your satisfaction. If you are still within the due diligence time period you can withdraw your offer and receive your earnest money deposit back.

The seller is not obligated to make any repairs unless stated in your initial offer. The seller can either agree to make repairs or not; or you can accept the house with repairs as needed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 2, 2014
This is a typical mistake that is made by buyers. You can renegotiate the price. However, when you do the inspection on the property and find things that are wrong in the house, you can ask Seller to either repair them or provide you a credit for the repairs. If within 10 business days after the date of acceptance written agreement is not reached by the parties with respect to resolution of all inspection issues, then either party may terminate the contract by serving notice to the other party, whereupon this contract shall be null and void.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 21, 2013
WOW... If it were me, I would be suggesting to my buyer that we should be looking at a different home... UNLESS the home is priced for fixup... and you can fix these items I would walk. There is not a lot out there but certainly there has to be something that would fit your needs in the future with a more reasonable seller!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 21, 2013
Inspections are for Safety, Systems and Latent Defects. That's it. If something is old, but working safely, then you can ask for a replacement but really that negotiating should have happened when you made your offer (taking into account the age of the items as disclosed on the Seller's Property Disclosure). If it can be repaired, it is likely what the Seller will agree to. Your broker is trying to prepare you for the possible outcome, not rooting for the other side (I hope). It is probably not what you want to hear, but that is how due diligence works and hopefully your broker prepared you for the process.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 20, 2013
I'm sure you have found a home by now, but I think this is a very good question. I always tell my Buyers that the Inspection date/deadline is 2-fold:
1) Inspections allow the Buyer to check out the home for health/safety issues and deferred maintenance that needs to be addressed.
2) Inspections are not an "opportunity to reduce the price of the home."
If the offer is full price and the Inspection Objection is reasonable (assuming the home isn't falling apart) then more often than not, the deal will stay together.
The final consulting advice I offer my Buyers is that the Inspection Objection is the time to "pick your battles." I have Buyers focus on priority items and list them out from 1-10 (hopefully no more than that) in the order of importance. Then I have the Buyers pick out the "health/safety issues" like old HVAC units, potential water leaks, critters/holes in the attic spaces, etc. Things like bathroom caulking, sloping landscaping from the foundation (those items that ALWAYS show up on a report) and not necessarily health/safety issues and should be well thought out before putting on the Inspection Objection. If the Inspection Objection is an attempt to lower the price of the home by a dollar amount, the deal will probably fall apart. If it's a "got to have it house" then be prepared to fix some things after move in. Respectfully submitted,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 20, 2013
In my humble opinion, the inspection period is a time to address something with the home that comes out to be a safety concerns or hazardous to any potential buyer. It is not really a time to knit-pick the seller over small cosmetic items.

I would make a list of your deal breaker items and see how far you can get with the seller in agreeing to make some repairs.

Best of luck to you!

Brooke Hengst
(720) 988-5952
Web Reference: http://www.brookehengst.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 5, 2012
This is a classic question. The way I see it, it just all depends on how much you want the house. You have to be willing to let it go if you really want to negotiate strongly. If you have to have something you will usually end up paying more. If you are indifferent if you get the house or not then you can come in much lower and hold to your price, at the risk of another offer coming in. In South Carolina, sellers agree upfront to repair significant issues (structural, plumbing, electrical etc...) but not cosmetic. All our contract requires is that the house is functioning properly and in working order. This doesn't mean up to date or up to code - just that it works as it was intended to when it was installed. That being said - the seller is NOT required to fix anything. They still have the option to say NO to any repairs and return the buyers earnest money deposit back. This usually doesn't happen though. Most sellers are motivated enough to make some repairs.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 29, 2012

Thanks for responding. It is good to know the outcomes of questions asked here on Trulia. Although it is easy to say; try not to get too attached to a home before getting all the facts to determine if it is your best interest to move forward. Also, even with the low inventory there will always be another home that will work as well or better than the one you're considering. Good success with your purchase.

Robert McGuire...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 23, 2012
Hi Mw: Glad we could help with this. Hopefully all will work out for you with this house or another, if you go that route. And good luck in your new home!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 23, 2012
I don't have much to add.

I do appreciate your engaging responses, Mw! I read a lot of these strings, and few questioners follow up with a response. We rarely hear the outcome. So thanks for coming back.

My thoughts are of the more general nature. When buying any home, you should bring a strategy to any negotiation. If a buyer doesn't give themselves some wiggle room on a purchase especially for an older home, they might have to accept that many - if not most - of the smaller issues will not be addressed.

I'm glad you will be able to get the items addressed that should be addressed.

Apparently, you recognize that you're getting a great home - albeit a little beat up - at a good price. As you gradually get your new home is shape with all that work, you will appreciate it more.

I'm glad it will work out for you. Congratulations!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 23, 2012
Hi Mw:

You probably should not worry about what anyone else says concerning the seller's willingness to negotiate a deal that YOU can live with. In negotiating situations, we rarely know what the other side will do.

To a large extent this is all about numbers. What is the house worth in the marketplace given its current condition? Financially speaking, how much work does the house need? How much are you willing to put into the house to bring it up to an acceptable condition? What will the house be worth when the work is complete? Could you find another satisfactory home that will cost less when you add up the purchase price and the cost of improvements? Then, when you have the answers to these questions, ask yourself if making the improvements is worth your time and effort. (BTW: none of this means you should not listen to the wisdom of other people. But in the end you need to draw your own conclusions and make your own decisions based on the best information available and what is best for you.)

I suggest you keep your considerations in the realm of logic. Put emotion aside. In all negotiating situations, you should set your own bottom line. If an appropriate resolution cannot be accomplished, then you should be prepared to walk. And, as I mentioned above. don't worry about what anyone else thinks or says. You must be happy with the outcome. After all, you are the one who will have to live with it.

Kind regards,
Ron Rovtar
Prudential Real Estate of the Rockies
Days: 303.981.1617
Evenings: 303.473.1926
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 23, 2012
We like to give advice on this website, not to gain your business by telling you about our successes (hundreds of transactions), or that we are the “best of the best” realtor in town. Like others here, it’s a shame. This site is just to answer your question, not to advertise our selves… Now If you like the house, you have to see that everything is a negotiation. Sellers are not obligated to do anything at the property. They are not obligated to change the electric panel nor the furnace or anything else. If they do that is because your offer is a good offer (in amount of dollars) and is worth for the seller to fix it so he can go thru with your offer. If the purchase price of your offer is high enough so the property will be around the market value or a bit over he will probably will fix the furnace etc, but if the offer that was accepted is around the limits then they probably will not accept it so you take the chance to have the seller reject your request or notice to correct and decide if they move forward with your offer as is or withdraw from the deal. What if you like the house and the seller has a back up offer? You have to think about all the issues involved when submitting a notice to correct. They may accept it or just reject
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012
WOW! You've received some great tips here - without cost to you! I've read all the responses and want to add just a couple observations that wren't addressed:

1. if your agent is acting as a Transaction Broker he/she has no obligation to counsel you. To work on your behalf you need a Buyer Broker relationship (Agreement)
2. the furnace issue IS a health and safety hazard and IS required to be repaired/corrected by the Seller - provided you show proof
3. I always suggest to my buyers- if you want 3 things fixed, ask for 6. Make the Seller feel they are getting a 'break'

Best of luck!

Tim Klein
Metro Brokers - The Realty Werks
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012
I work with a lot of Flip investors as well as Owner Occupants seeking value. And I would estimate that the average vintage of my over 200 completed transactions in Denver is probably 1930's.

Couple of comments:
1. I coach all of my buyers and investors to offer and negotiate on the visible condition that they know and can see (old carpet, dated kitchen/bath, etc) AND what is presented in the Seller's Property Disclosure.
2. Your agent should help you with market comps to help discern value. A full price offer may be a great buy if the home is worth significantly more than the ask price. This happens. A lot. Full Price may be worth it with the $20K in improvements you mention. Any experienced Real Estate agent can help produce that estimated value.
3. I coach my buyers to negotiate on Inspections Items that they can't see/know, is not on the Seller's Property Disclosure and only a professional inspection is able to detect. Your items pretty much fit that bill.

Lastly, to me, it all comes down to the value. It is very possible that this property may be worth your Full Price offer even with the deferred maintenance. It it had multiple offers, the sellers are likely to dismiss your requests and go to one of the other buyers. If I were the listing agent and without knowing specifics, that is likely the advice that I would give me sellers. So consider that your agent is looking at this that way and is probably not "rooting for them".

Best of luck to you,

Web Reference: http://www.jonrroberts.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012
You can ask for anything you want on an inspection notice. Normally I counsel my clients to pick their battles because a really long laundry list of small things usually rubs everyone the wrong way, sellers agent and seller. But the things you are citing are bona fide material defects and your agent should write up the inspection notice per your directives- the buyer's agent works for you..

But there are some things you should know about inspections in CO. First: Typically you won't get everything you ask for. Second: If there are material defects about which you can provide written documentation, then per CREC rules, the seller and the seller's agent are required to disclose these defects to each and every other buyer that comes along behind you. So most of us know it is easier to try to keep the current contract moving forward. This is to your advantage.

When you write up your inspection notice be specific- if you want the roof replaced state why and provide documentation. I would get a roofer to go out and take alook at it if I were you and then ask him for something on his letterhead stating that it needs to be replaced and why. Attach this to your inspection notice to correct. If the furnace really is leaking C-O gas there is no negotiation. It should not be run and Excel Energy should have come out and shut it down and red-tagged it. It has to be replaced and your lender probably wouldn't let you close on the house with it. Insulation- you won't get this one but it never hurts to ask. And chimney- this is afire hazard if it is broken down and there is creosote build up - but you may or may not be able to get this one. I would throw a few "givemes" on the inspection list- like the insulation. You can assume they won't do it and it's not a big deal for you to do. You can probably install some yourself or find a handyman to do it for cheap. By putting a couple of "givemes" on the notice you help the seller feel good about not caving to everything. Remember: the mark of a good negotiation is when both parties feel like they gave a bit more than they wanted to but you still came to agreement. It's a bit like a chess match.

Last but not least- don't get caught not being able to see the forest through the trees. If you really like the house and you can see yourself living there don't get hung up on the small stuff. Home ownership comes with responsibilities. You will have to do some work, which is fun. I hope that helps a little...and remember the whole process is a big commitment and a great learning experience but it is also supposed to be fun! So step back, take a deep breath and have some fun out there!
Good Luck!
Carole & Greg
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012
First if you feel that your broker is not doing his/her best for you fire them. What you described in the inspection are certainly deal breakers. Tell your broker that these items listed on the inspection report need to be corrected I am assuming you are at the inspection resolution phase. GO for broke if not this home then there is a better one out there for you. That is a little of my experience.

Good Luck and let us know what happens
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012
I think your last comment reveals that you know what is going to happen here. If a flipper was interested, then the house was probably priced low enough to do repairs and the value would be increased more than the cost of the repairs. But for you personally, that doesn't matter if you can't afford to do the repairs. Do check into a 203K loan as others have mentioned.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012
Thanks everyone,

the reason we put in full price for the house was that it had two other offers (one was a flipper). we really loved the house so we put in full price (we didn't know there would be so much wrong with it). Ofcourse when buying an older house there are going to be problems but $20,000 is just out of our price range at the moment (unfortunatelly). so we are trying to negotiate something with them. there are a lot more problems than the ones I listed (those were just the main issues the concerned us).
we have told our agent that if they dont agree to fixing some things we just can't do it. This house is a very nice house (great layout and a little biger than some other houses we saw). and we know in the long run it would be great investment however we just can't afford it at the moment.
I will definitely look into the 203K loan. thank you for mentioning that to me.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012

With your most recent comments, I would request the repairs, and stick to your guns. If they won't do them, but will give you a credit in the amount to do the repairs yourself, you will want to contact your lender to make sure the home will qualify for the loan. If so, you're good to go. Additionally, I do agree that a 203K loan might work well for you.

If the Sellers won't do the repairs or give you a credit, and the home is priced the same as other homes that are in better shape, maybe you should find a different house that is priced more correctly. Simply, if it needs $20,000 of repairs, and is not priced the same amount lower than other homes that have recently sold, then you're overpaying by about $20,000 for the home.

Best of luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012
The process of buying a home has so many steps just for this reason. You should ask for everything you want just keep an open mind if they decline some things; are you still willing to move forward? You also have the right to walk away if they refuse. I'm not sure why you offered full price or what the determination was for that but, this has nothing to do with the inspection. Another option is to ask for a credit for these items off the price if you would like to take care of them yourself, but it needs to be realistic and getting quotes to back it up are a good idea. Buying a home is a huge process and you should feel confident that your agent will work on your behalf.
Good Luck!
Rachelle Paplow
Cherry Creek Properties
(303) 713-9000 Office
(720) 839-2659 Direct
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012
It depends... You must have offered full price, because it was a great deal relative to the comps and you wanted to put in a strong offer to beat out anyone else looking at the property? If that's true, then the seller likely has a lot of these items priced in to the list price. Did they disclose any of this on the property condition report. If so, they have no obligation to fix items on the condition report.

In all honesty, if I where a seller who priced a home aggressively enough to generate a full price offer, I wouldn't be willing to do all this. I may consider one major item to get the deal done, but asking for a roof, a furnace, and electrical seems extreme. The furnace problem isn't something you would have known during your initial viewing of the house, but you should have had some clue as to the roof and electrical panel.

Lastly, once you start asking for these things, be prepared for the underwriter to start picking at every little issue with the home.

I'm not saying don't ask for repairs, I'm just saying it's dependent on how good of a deal the house is otherwise. Look at what you really need/want to have the house be worthwhile for you. Then stand your ground or be prepared to walk away.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012
thanks everyone for the answers, I guess I know our agent is not rooting for them and we have really enjoyed working with this agent, very honest and straight forward with us.
The price of the house (despite all the work that needs to be done to it) is the same as other homes selling on that block which were more updated and ready to move in. that is why we thought the sellers should agree to fixing some things up for us...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012
Every Seller is different. It is your agent's duty to be an advocate on your behalf. It may be your agent's professional opinion that the seller will reject the Inspection Objection items; however, it is up to the Seller to decide and it is absolutely their right to offer you an Alternate Resolution that may just work for both Buyer and Seller. The Due Diligence period was designed to be used for this purpose which allows the Buyers the opportunity to educate themselves on property condition. In the event the seller declines to correct items to your satisfaction you are provided the option to terminate the contract allowing you the opportunity to find another home that fits your criteria. Additionally, you may want to consider a 203K loan to finance the Inspection items with the loan...it is a fabulous program! Jocelyn Predovich at LimeTree Lending 303.325.3578 is a great source of information with regards to the 203K loan program.
Best Wishes,
Kristine Holvick
RE/MAX Alliance Central
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012
First of all, your agent is just being realistic. You're buying a "used" house and there are going to be many issues, especially a house built in the 40s. That's the joy of home ownership! As far as what you offered, and why, that's hard to say since I'm not involved in the contract negotiations, or what the CMA said. But what's done is done. Just because you offered full price doesn't mean they have to fix these things. Two are separate negotiations. Some of the items you mentioned are a safety issue (old electrical panel, gas leak at furnace, etc.) And if you're getting an FHA loan, there's a possibiltiy it won't qualify with these issues! Roof problems are a red flag.

Instead of asking them to actually fix those things, I would ask for a reduction in purchase price. (Personally, I would rather let my buyers be in charge of hiring their own electrical / furnace contractors, rather than sellers just pick the lowest bid). You want it done right. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012

That depends on how much work needs to be done according to the inspectors report. Normally an Inspection Notice is done to outline the work you would like done. It is possible that the seller might say let's adjust the price X amount in lieu of the repairs. If you do this be sure and check with your lender to make sure the amendment is worded correctly per their investor bank's requirements. If and how much you can negotiate is up to the seller since you already have a firm contract with a determined price included. Good luck with your purchase.

Robert McGuire ASR
Your Castle Real Estate
1776 S. Jackson St. #412
Denver CO 80210
Direct – 303-669-1246
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012
I think you are being appropriate in your requests. If the Seller won't fix them then get your earnest money back and find a different house. You can see all the homes available on my site and you don't need to buy a house with problems.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012
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