Negotiating after inspection findings--walk away, negotiate further, or accept?

Asked by Pafirsttimebuyer, Rutledge, PA Tue May 31, 2011

My wife I have completed the home inspection. These are the requests to the seller:

1. Requested the seller put in a hatch ($220) so we can have someone inspect the attic for rodents, electrical problems and insulation. Currently there is no attic access
2. Remedy a number of minor plumbing issues: garbage disposal and instant hot doesn't work, the dishwasher works, but the water backs up and fills up the garbage disposal sink and repair leaking drain trap assembly under sink
3. Replace heat distribution valves (gas/hot water heat) in the basement need as several of the knobs are entirely or mostly rusted away
4. Install supply piping or drain line hook up at the basement to service the laundry equipment (washer and dryer currently not connected).
5. Replace rotted sill plate above exterior wall
6. Radon remediation or $1k seller assist

Seller's response: They want us to pay for attic access, yes to radon, 1-year home warranty offer and no to everything else.


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David Cooper, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Tue May 31, 2011
I assume you made an offer on this house because it was the best of all the ones you previewed. The good points of this particular house must be remembered when it comes down to reviewing the inspection report. Your concerns are real, but they should not be a deal breaker, unless you feel you overpaid for the house

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1 vote
David Burnham, , Washington, DC
Tue May 31, 2011
I would continue to negotiate, but check your contract. In our area, there is a property condition clause that basically says the major systems have to be functional and this is not negotiable, so things like what you have under your 2nd and 3rd points would be required based on our contract. I would also question the Asher and dryer. If they advertised having them, but there is no hook up, then that would not be negotiating in good faith.

You have several thousand dollars of repairs that sound pretty necessary and a home warranty will not help you snce things are already broken. I would see what your bottom line is but send back a counter offer to them to get more things taken care of.
1 vote
Linda Walters, Agent, Wayne, PA
Mon Jun 6, 2011
Too bad you can't rely on the advice of your agent on this one!! LOL
0 votes
Dawn Ohnstad, Agent, Wayzata, MN
Tue May 31, 2011
You did not share what kind of offer you made. If it was at or close to full price then you should have more reason to expect the things you mentioned to be in working order or be fixed by the seller. However, if you got a "deal" I would think the seller's counter is reasonable and I would counsel you to take it and fix the small stuff yourself. I suspect from the sound of the inspection results that this was not a high priced house, but, regardless, I never like to see these little things blur the larger picture, If you are getting the house you want in the area you want and a close date you want....these smaller things warrant compromising. Remember, your conciliatory attitude, in the long run, might save you money when down the road you need to call the prior owners for information about something in the house and your negotiations remained friendly.
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Edmund Choi, Agent, Paoli, PA
Tue May 31, 2011
Inspections are for informational purposes to support that your purchase decision is sound. However, items that potentially affect your health & safety, or potential structural and mechanical issues should be dealt with during your inspection contingency period. In some cases, the cost may be more than what you have budgeted for your new home. If the seller is unwilling or unable, then perhaps another housing option awaits you around the corner. Good Hunting!
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Scott Hulen, , 64068
Tue May 31, 2011
It’s more a question of the overall deal. Are you buying the property for drastically less than its worth? Are you paying true market value for the property? Your concerns are valid and need a response but in the end you have to decide if it’s the right deal. Good luck Scott
0 votes
Pafirsttimeb…, Home Buyer, Rutledge, PA
Tue May 31, 2011
Thanks for insight and suggestions. Here are a few more details and related questions:
1. The washer and dryer are included, but the seller's disclosure stated they were not hooked (so no surprise there)
2. I believe the heat distribution valves that are rusted are still functional, so not sure if that qualifies under the property condition clause--where would I find that clause to research further?
3. The home warranty would be AHS - their core package and ServicePlus Upgrade ( Would the home warranty really not cover the plumbing stuff that's not working properly now?
4. Our AoS was a traditional agreement, not "AS IS"
5. There is no indoor attic access that we our our home inspectors could find. There are two small vents on the exterior of the house near the peak of the roof, but that's it.
6. The radon averaged 5.3 in the unfinished basement
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Tue May 31, 2011

It would be helpful to know the type of purchase contract that was used in this agreement. Was it an "AS IS" contract of a traditional agreement.

In the event this is the results of an "AS IS" agreement, the seller is not required to make any improvements. On the other hand, if your contract is a traditional one, it will normally include a section that spells out the inspection and repair process that includes repair limits.

Your contract document should be able to be used a a "blueprint" for your negotiations along with your inspection recommendations.

Based on your description, there is nothing that appears unreasonable with your requests. It's simply a matter of you and your agent taking a position that is reasonable in the eyes of the seller. Like it or not, you are now back in the "negotiating" stage and may have to give something up to get what you want.

Best wishes,

0 votes
Pacita Dimac…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Tue May 31, 2011
Everything is negotiable. You provided your list. The seller indicated what they're willing to do. The ball s now in your court. If you are not satisfied with the seller's response, your options are to

1. Walk away
2. Negotiate some more (maybe credits towards closing costs?).
3. Or if you like the house enough and can live with what the seller agrees to do, then move forward with the sale.

Good luck.
0 votes
Phil Rotondo, Agent, Melbourne, FL
Tue May 31, 2011
If you really, really, really want the home, accept if you can live with the repair costs.
If you really want the home, negotiate further before you accept.
If you want the home negotiate further and you might reach a middle ground you both can live with.
If you're indifferent about the home, stand firm on your demands and walk away if you don't get what you want.
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Steve Sisman, Agent, Media, PA
Tue May 31, 2011
Good evening Home Buyer, Ask Your Agent or your Legal Advisor for advise. They are the ones aware of the full Agreement details. Steve
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0 votes
Michael Emery, , Minneapolis, MN
Tue May 31, 2011
There is NO attic access? How were they able to put insulation into the attic? Without access to the attic you wouldn't also be able to determine if there is any roof rot, broken rafters or other damage.

I think that anyone who buys their house is going to want to inspect the attic. So they should be paying for an access to the attic. And unless there is a real issue with Radon, I'm surprised they're paying for remediation. The rest of everything else on your list is pretty much expected of a used home.

If you agree to their terms, make sure you check with what is covered in the home warranty and how much is the deductible. Those policies can vary greatly from one insurer to another.
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