An inspection provides you the opportunity to learn things about the property that you might not otherwise have known. If there was a disclosure that was available or could have been made available to you through your agent, the seller will have expected that the information contained therein would have been reflected in your contract price.
What is reasonable for you to have known upon your own visual inspection and reading the disclosure is subjective. The scope of what a first time homebuyer may know differs substantially when compared to what a contractor or builder might know.
The fact that the furnace is old, but it is working might fall into this category. Its age is not identified in the report, but a visual inspection with an untrained eye may establish that it is old. If the furnace does not work, you might include that item on a list of requested repairs.
The contract price and steps taken to reach an agreement influences the decisions that both buyers and sellers make regarding how each respond during inspection negotiations.
Is here a CofO required? Has the seller had their CO inspection? There may be items that could be flagged by the town in that process.
Uneven sidewalks present trip and fall hazards in addition to the possibility of pooling water. You may have noticed the uneven sidewalk, but may have been unaware of how it might contribute to improper water drainage. Sidewalks are expensive to fix. The seller might determine that it was tolerable for them, and therefore should be for you.
Nothing in my post is means to be specific advice for you, and supplied only as information. Your buyer agent should be your best source of input since he/she knows the details, the history of the negotiations, and has his/her finger on the pulse of the transaction. While we are all happy to provide information for discussion and hope it is helpful. Your agents advice will be the invaluable and the authoritative guide.
All the best...congrats.
Deborah â€œDebâ€ Madey - Broker
Peninsula Realty Group - NJ
Some buyers try to "get something" from the seller just because they think they can. Some Agents try to enhance their buyer's bargain by "seeing what they can get" from the seller. I find both approaches distasteful, dishonest and synonymous with stealing.
The home inspection is designed to give the buyer a chance to back out of a deal if they discover a major problem and to give the seller an opportunity to resolve a major problem that's just been discovered. The home inspection is NOT an opportunity to give the seller your laundry list of repairs or improvements that you want done! This is NOT an opportunity for you to enhance your bargain. This is NOT the time to address repair issues that you could/should have seen with your own eyes before you made your offer. This is NOT the time to cover your own lack of home repair experience, your fear of home repair uncertainty or your lack home repair dollars by trying to shift YOUR responsibilities to the seller. If you bargained for an inexpensive home that needs work, that's what you should get. If that's not really what you want or what you can handle, then you should back out of the purchase and find another home instead of trying to get something for nothing from the seller.
Remember, ONLY ask for the items you're willing to back out over. That's not to say those items will be "reasonable" or even acceptable to the seller, but you will know exactly where you stand on the purchase and you won't have any regrets later if you get the house or not. Good Luck!
I hope that's helpful... if so, click the "thumbs up" below,
Joe Montenigro REMAX Home Team
Broker, GRI (856)374-2800 x106
Serving Gloucester Twp, Washington Twp & South Jersey Real Estate Markets
Read my Blog at http://hometeamNJ.com/blog
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Another idea for the furnace and A/C issue is to request a one year Home Warranty, paid for by the Seller and being put in your name at the time of the sale. Be sure that coverage is adequate to cover the furnace and a/c. This will also cover the appliances.
What I advise my buyers is this - a handful of items that you really care about is far more likely to get action than a laundry list of every deficiency noted by the inspector.
Unwavering Commitment to Service
My Blog: http://www.trulia.com/blog/jeanne_feenick_-_new_jersey/
Reasonable, by definition, is anything you can justify.
The Seller, on the other hand, has the exact same point of view - maybe the price is so good I'll get everything fixed, maybe the price is so "competitive," that it's essentially a scratch-and-dent sale, take it or leave it.
Certainly, if you're paying new construction prices for a ten-year-old house, there'd better be something really special about this one. But, if it's already selling at a steep discount, maybe you should count your blessings.
Best of luck,
Focus on the important things and do not use this as an opportunity to renegotiate - if you do that you will make it to the closing table, if you do the later, it is anyone's guess. I'm find a bit of a back-lash as sellers are growing weary of heavy handed buyer response to inspection issues. Of course, it is cyclical, we all remember the headiness of sellers refusing to do anything when the market was flying - ah, what a world!!
Unwavering Commitment to Service
My Blog: http://www.trulia.com/blog/jeanne_feenick_-_new_jersey/
To negotiate your specific situation, work with your attorney and agent. Good luck to you.
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Last but not least the remodel that the owner did last year included laminate wood floors that run the entire house and are lifting in two different rooms.
A request was sent to the homeowner yesterday to agree to have her floor guy repair the floor on her dime (after i move in )and pay a total of $2,935 for the rest and i will fund ( all cash deal) tomorrow. I am still waiting for a response. The frustrating thing is how my own agent argues with me every step of the way. If it were up to him i would have paid 20k more for the place and i would pay for all of the things in the report myself. As it is I am only requesting the credit for the important ones. My appraiser said I am paying the max it would not appraise for 20k more.
Even if the equipment/appliances are 'new' - what the HOW will cover is 'prorated' to the usage and current price for an item. Hence, if it was discontinued, a 'similar' item may be used as the benchmark to gauge the best cost and then reduced from there for any wear and tear.
Those $2600 Samsung refrigerators, for example, at 5 yrs old will get you $500 toward another purchase using the Home Owner Warranty -- per the example given by one agent whose personal experience for his own home refrigerator that died and HOW response.
If a buyer is going to "finance" with a traditionally, the things they should have the seller address are the following: 1. Structural defects
2. Electrical issues
3. Plumbing issues
4. Heating/ A/C problems
5. Roof problems (leaks)
You cannot expect the seller to replace items because of their age, or do all minor things mentioned on an inpection. Obviously, when a buyer makes an offer, things that are apparent should have been considered. However, hidden defects involving the big 5 should be likely be asked for by the buyer. Keep in mind that the seller does not have to do anything. Once you make a request, the seller has three options, agree to the requests, counter with what they are willing to do, or simply walk away. The buyer has the same option. they can accept what the seller is willing to repair or walk away. One consideration is that most lenders will not lend money on a home if they know that it has defects in any of those 5 critical items so even if the buyer wants to buy the house without repairs, they may not be able to finance it. I prepare the buyer prior to an inspection and tell them the inspector's job is to find even the most minor things and will have a "laundry list" of repairs & not to expect that the seller will do all of them. Keep the repairs request to items that you were not aware of prior to making the offer. You cannot expect the seller to make the house new or perfect.
Mechanicals are expected to work, so if the furance and/or a/c are not working, then they must be repaired/serviced so that they are. Replacement would only come if they are not working and cannot be repaired. But a functioning mechanical that may be at or near the end of its useful life should be a pricing consideration as opposed to an inspection request for replacement. What you might consider is requesting a home warranty that will cover these items - purchased by seller and transferred to your name at closing, good for one year. This will give you some peace of mind.
Broken window seals - unlikely that they will be addressed unless it is affecting the functionality of the window, which it generally does not. It is unsightly and will only worsen with time, but it does not affect functionality. Here again, replacing windows is something to be on your budget list for future expenditures.
Cracked Sidewalk - if the seller's responsibility to maintain and the cracks are a safety issue, request it be repaired.
Bricks on rear patio - if issue is causing drainage issues which result in water in the house, then you have a case.
Wood rot - I'd put this on the list.
Remember that you can ask for anything you want, but you will likely be most successful with the seller resposne if you ask for a few important things. You can also consider a credit in lieu of repairs. Your attorney shoudl be able to guide you as well on this exercise.
Unwavering Commitment to Service
To sum it all up...The property was only on the market 4 days before I saw and decided to put an offer in, without seeing the conditions of the yard and back of the home (mistake on my part) when I expressed concerns over it agent didn't feel it an issue so I'm trusting agent, also highly doubt listing agent new conditon of brick patio and A/C unit since the photos were taken at the time of recent snow storms and evident by photo of front of the home posted with the listing. Nothing in contract is stated that property is being sold "AS IS" and when asked if aware of any current or past problems with "driveways, walkways, patios" on the property, seller checked NO also checked "unknown" as to the age of furnace and A/C but surely they had to know the A/C unit was visibly damaged. Question: How can one know if A/C unit functions if can't be turned on when outside temps below 65 degrees????
Only visible defects to the home at the time of showing was to the wood trim around the garage door as well as side entry door to the garage, wood rot to siding is in the rear of the home, and at the time of showing yard covered with few feet of snow...still I wouldn't have been able to make that determination since to the untrained eye, looked as if it needed painting. Busted window seals was missed by myself and agent. Honestly don't recall checking, considering agent has pointed that out as something to watch for when touring other properties that were vacant and windows not covered. Seller was not home during initial showing.
So, did you base your offer taking the obvious into consideration? Was there a sellers disclosure that revealed this information, or was the information erroneously reported by the seller on a disclosure?
If the sellers' misrepresented the condition of the house on the disclosure, I would say you have a very good argument for a price reduction. If however, it was noted in the disclosure, the assumption is that your offer was based on that information.
The bottom line for buyers is you can ask for whatever you want. The seller will respond on what they are willing to correct/give credit for. Then you have to decide whether or not to proceed with the sale.
It really depends on what you stated in your contract when your offer was accepted. If you bought a house that is being sold " as is" then you have to make a decision whether you want to buy it in this condition & do the work yourself after you close or not. Every home inspection report will have a list of some unsatisfactory comments on it. Since you are a 1st time buyer you should ask for assistance from your realtor or your lawyer to address this report & ask them what is reasonable to do. Typically anything structural is a reasonable request, cosmetic is not. For reference structural items would include items such as: roof, plumbing, heating air, termite damage,foundation problems & windows.
Uneven/cracked pavement wasn't noticed by me or realtor at first becasue it's located further down the sidewalk some towns that may be flagged and they are expensive to replace. Brick patio is an issue for me because it was clearly improperly layed by someone inexperienced and only asking that it be corrected. Damage to A/C unit is to the fins and coils of the lower front corner section (mangled, coils exposed) Inspector commented may have been caused by weed wacker. The furnace, very well may have few yrs left just want it inspected since burner chamber showing signs of rust and based on that assessment would be more than willing to accept Home Warranty, I surely don't want to find myself having to incurr the cost of replacing HVAC in 1- 2 yrs or less. Windows I'm asking for replacement or credit. Ask that rotted wood pieces be cut away and replaced...loose T-111 wood siding opened joints be sealed. I was already planning to paint front and back siding and shutters.
Amount of seller credits they're willing to give is likely to be low considering they rejected first offer of $140K with $5 back towards closing stating anything below that would be a short sale.
Lady - I understand your concerns and desire to have these issues addressed.
Just so you know, most home inspectors use common verbiage that says systems are "beyond their life expectancy" if something is older - even if it seems to be in fine working order. They will rarely list anything as satisfactory if it is aged.
Now....to sum up....
Broken window seals are unsightly, but still structurally sound. I highly doubt the seller will give you an allowance towards that - although, they should have listed the windows to be sold "as is" - those broken seals are clearly visible, and I assume they are displaying a cloudy or foggy appearance..
It would be good to have a heating expert assess the furnace. This will give you a firmer position to negotiate. The AC is a difficult issue, since it can't be tested...not sure what the" visible signs of damage" are, but, here too, you can more than likely ask the heating expert for an opinion, as they often handle AC, too.
The wood rot incvolves some carpentry work - not sure of the extent of the damage (you might get a credit towards repair there)......imo, you probably have a slim chance of them correcting the way the patio settled, or the sidewalk.
Now, obviously, you have an agent to guide you...and hopefully you will resolve these issues with the offer of some credit issued by the sellers.
If all else fails, Jeanne's suggestion was a good one.
Look into a Home Warranty policy.
American Home Shield is a large national company. They offer some flexible plans, and should run around $500 a year - perhaps you can get the seller to take the policy out for you. It won't cover wood rot, but it will cover a functioning AC and furnace. If certain, covered items, can't be repaired, they are replaced, depending on the policy. I am sure you agent will have information regarding the warranty company her office recommends.
Best wishes to you.............I certainly hope all of this works out !
Prudential NJ Properties
What can I say you?
Well I see this kind of situation almost in every transaction. When I represent a buyer I recommend to push for almost all repairs, when I represent a seller I act opposite.
What can I say in your case:
did you know the age of the house, furnace, C/A, etc before making an offer? You should get a seller disclosure where all this info is written. If yes, you know that all that is old and probably is in a need of repair/replacement. So, in a seller opinion you new all this stuff before making your offer and your offer is based on this information. I believe you are buying an old house, and you can expect older appliences, and seller don't have to replace it if they work OK. If they are not working at all, ask the seller for a credit or replacement.
Thanks for your question.
There is no standard response from the seller. One seller may say yes to some of these repairs and other will not. Each person has different motivations. Review in detail what the agreement that you signed says. If you have a Realtor helping you through the transaction. He/She can advise you. In paragraph 23 of our contract states the items that you can ask the seller to fix unless you are buying it as is, then would be your responsibility. The agreement also have an amount that seller is willing to take on for repairs.
You could ask for the main and big ticket items and not so big items, thinking that the seller may say yes to some and no to others.
Best of luck to you in your purchase!
Ines De La Cruz
I would push hard to replace the furnace and A/C.
This is really a case of choosing your options. Go for the expensive and maybe let the small things slip. Windows cost a lot, replace them. Probably $1,000 or more for replacement. HVAC is expensive AND inefficient. Trust me, a new furnace would pay for itself in less than 8 years (maybe 5) from oil use. Find out if the a/c uses freon or the new gas. It should say r-22 if the old freon. I think like cars it is r-134a if new. R-22 (like r-12 for cars) is a very expensive gas. It can no longer legally be made. Definitely an issue.
Rear wood siding, do you mean a whole wall needs replacement siding? That could be expensive.
A weekend or 2 with a shovel and rake with sore arms can fix the bricks for little or no money (likely). Laying bricks is just labor and time.
Here is the smart way to look at it. Take the estimated cost of repairs. Add 20% for overruns. What is the house worth fixed up? How much will it cost to fix? Offer a bit less than the repaired value if you have to do the repairs. Hopefully Don Tepper can explain it better. He covers this aspect very well. If not look for his Q&A on his profile and go back 2 weeks. You will find an answer perfect for you somewhere there.
(1) Your contract wording regarding the Home Inspection.
For example, my contracts (and most) have Home Inspection as it pertains to (A) HVAC, Plumbing, and elec systems are in "good" operating condition; (B) Foundation and structure are sound and there is no water instrusion (C) Roof and flashings do not leak and are sound; (D) Doors and windows (including seals), fireplaces and chimnets are in good operating condition; (E) There are no adverse environmental conditions, such as toxic mold, radon, asbestos, et cetera...
Under those guidelines and based on what you're telling us, the age of the HVAC is not enough to ask for it - it has to be "not in good operating condition", which it very well might be. The a/c unit may not have been able to be tested, which means the visible damage may or may not be an issue that causes it to "not be in good operating condition". Window seals are pretty spelled out with my contracts so that I would ask for. Sidewalk cracks, uneven bricks, and wood rotting would have to be accompanied by water intrusion to be "a given" so to speak. Also, regarding the wood trim and siding, I would like to know what the termite inspection finds - the problem(s) may fall moreso under the termite inspector's scope.
(2) Your contract terms regarding cost to cure limits and whether or not it is an "as-is" sale. Its probably going to get hairy if the seller listed it at a great price because of the issues as they really do not seem to be concealed.
In any case, its going to be a negotiation and a decision on both sides to work through it, or walk away from it. All depends on everyone's motivation and position. I wish you the very best with it and keep us posted, if you would, as to the outcome.
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