If a home inspection shows that an old water heater needs to be replaced, is it reasonable to request sellers replace with a tankless water heater?

Asked by Trulia Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, FL Mon May 20, 2013

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Tue May 21, 2013
Old water heater.
What about this water heater merits the replacement request?
Is it leaking?
Does it fail to heat?
Is it just not pretty?
What about the 'old' range or the old compressor or even the old garage door opener?
Is a buyer REALLY expecting the seller to jump through hoops for things that are not pretty?
Where do you draw the line?
If it is broke, it shouild be fixed. If it's old, it is just old. If it has reached the end of service life, the buyer needs to BUDGET!
Like so many have stated, a buyer can set the stage for that back up offer to look REALLY, REALLY good. A buyer should proceed with caution when re-opening negotiatons. Very often that back up actually comes with a higher negotiated price. In Florida in general and south FL in paticular, an inspector can cause the wheels to come off the wagon when they go goofy, and place old things on the 'Need Repair' list. These things need to be on the 'Need to Budget' list.
1 vote
I think it depends on the seller of the home. I would call them and your real estate agent to see if you can work out a deal. They will probably be able to help you with everything you need and be able to get the water heater replaced. Good luck and I hope you're able to find what you need! http://www.marvsplumbinginc.com/services.html
Flag Tue Nov 11, 2014
marc jablon,…, Agent, Boca Raton, FL
Mon May 20, 2013
It depends upon the contract you are using. If you have a FAR/BAR contract with 1.5% of the selling price built in to cover repairs, you should certainly specify that you would like that repaired. That's because the seller has already agreed upon an amount for fixing minor problems

If, however, you have an AS IS contract on the home in Fort Lauderdale, then you would be side to forget about that relatively minor repair.

In today's tight seller's market, you have to decide whether you want the house or not. You can safely assume that there are half a dozen back-up offers on the house, especially if it's priced under $450,000.

With an AS IS Contract, the seller in today's seller's market is basically saying, "take it or leave it" to buyers.

If you think you can locate a similar home within the time frame you need to move, and you're willing to take a chance on losing the house over an item that will cost you less than $1,000, then go for it.

But if you don't have some other homes in Fort Lauderdale lined up as alternatives, eat the water heater. You'll still have the house.

Marc Jablon, The Jablon Team
RE/MAX Complete Solutions

Or, if you have
1 vote
I totally agree with Marc here. The AS-IS contracts give the buyer an "out" if something major comes up on the inspection report. Expecting the seller to fix a major problem doesn't happen much in South Florida.
Flag Sun Apr 12, 2015
I agree that it depends on the contract you are using. Although, it never hurts to ask. I would ask the sellers and see what they say. This way, you can go from there on either having them replace it or having it repaired. Good luck! http://www.clearwaterplumbing.com/tankless-water-heaters/
Flag Fri Oct 3, 2014
I disagree completely about back up offers. Unless it's in Miami, many homes are sitting on the market longer as inventory is increasing. This isn't CA and homes are not flying off the market with multiple offers. Sellers don't like you reducing prices due to old components prior to inspections, though you know they eventually will need to be replaced. Buyers are hoping they have sometime for it to last and with a home warranty they will be covered. I think iit's very realistic to ask for the water heater to be replaced if there is a problem. An inspector works for you to give an independent opinion and he is telling you it's no good and needs to be replaced. The home is off the market as a contract has been signed and the seller surely wants the sale to go through. Unless you are picking at every little thing and a water heater is a larger component and warrants a request for replacement. Asking to upgrade to a more expensive unit isn't going to work.
Flag Thu Aug 7, 2014
Jesus Pazmino, Agent, Aventura, FL
Mon May 20, 2013
Dear Buyer,
It really depends on your offer details, inspection, property, etc. Several variables can go into it. Is it a foreclosure, shortsale, regular sale, estate sale?
As the market is right now in South Florida, if the property is in very well desired location, the sellers may not go for it since they know there are more buyers out there ready to take the property as is. And as Bev pointed out, if you are rrequesting a tank less, make sure you tell them you will pay the difference. I would just ask for a $500 credit towards closing costs. Make it easier and then put one in yourself. Sounds better than "please install a new water heater to my standards"....Good luck
1 vote
The current owner does not have to fix the water heater. You can either buy the house as is, attempt to work out an agreement with the owner, or look for a different house. The inspection is good to let you know the potential risks of the house, and doesn't always mean that the current owner has to make repairs. http://www.twomenandasnake.com
Flag Fri Nov 21, 2014
Bev West, Agent, Greeley, CO
Mon May 20, 2013
You can ask but usually the seller will replace with water heater similar to the one in house. You could ask for a tankless water heater with you paying for the difference. It would also depend on what the inspection report states in reference to a new one being installed. Hope this helps and feel free to check my website at http://www.westrealtynoco.com

Thanks and have a great day.
1 vote
Requesting the heater be replaced is definitely a reasonable request. You probably won't be able to choose what kind of heater, but that should be fine. Unless of course you need a specific kind of water heater then it might be a harder sell to get them to change to that kind.
Flag Fri Oct 24, 2014
Depends on what kind of contract you have. If you have AS IS contract, then forget about any repairs to be done by seller.
But with FAR/BAR contract, the owner signed to contribute 1.5% for minor repairs. If that's not enough, what I would suggest is offering to split the cost with the sellers, or pay for the additional upgrade cost.
Flag Thu Nov 14, 2013
Jacques Wurms, Agent, Plantation, FL
Wed Apr 15, 2015
The buyer can ask whatever they like, reasonable or not. Please look at the big picture and see if you don't replace the water heater will this be a deal breaker. I would offer them a credit based on the old water heater and then they can buy what they want once they own the house.
Feel free to call me at 954-383-0090
Good luck!
0 votes
Jeri Patrick, Agent, Pooler, GA
Thu Apr 2, 2015
I would talk to you real estate agent to have them advise you on this matter.
0 votes
Kelsey Compa…, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Wed Apr 1, 2015
That sounds like a reasonable enough request to me. The owners could always refuse and explain why if they really did not want to do it. Another thing you could do is just have it repaired or replaced yourself. http://www.bristolheatingandair.com
0 votes
Calvin James, Home Buyer, Orem, UT
Wed Jan 7, 2015
You should talk to the sellers about an the issue. It's possible that they'd be willing to get them replaced or to charge less for the house allowing you to have the money to replace it. Regardless of which option happens I would suggest getting a quote on the work from a technician you would want to hire. That way they can't try to hire an inferior technician or argue for a lower cost. http://www.affordablehotwater.com.au
0 votes
Calvin James, Home Buyer, Orem, UT
Wed Jan 7, 2015
I am glad that I found this thread. The home that I am investigating has an old water heater. I want a tankless model, but the seller is certainly not offering. I am going to go ahead and ask because the worst they could say is no. If not I think I am just going to have this one repaired. http://www.mikehensleyplumbingandelectric.com/plumbing.shtml
0 votes
I am glad that you are going to ask the buyer. More often than not, they will say yes because they felt like you helped them out by buying their home! If not, like you said, at least you will know and you can simply have your water heater repaired. Can I ask, why would you go with a tank-less model?
Mark Leach | http://www.mikemoore-plumbing.com/Services/
Flag Tue Jan 13, 2015
Tammy Hayes, Agent, Port Charlotte, FL
Mon Oct 13, 2014
Is it an As Is contract or a regular contract where the seller is required to make repairs? If repairs are part of the contract, then the seller should only have to replace the same type of water heater. A tankless hot water heater will require a different type of installation and may not be able to be placed in the same location as the regular hot water tank. Discuss it with your Realtor. You can always ask and see what the seller says.
0 votes
If it's an "as is" sell, then you can't really request any repairs. If not, though, you might be able to reason through a compromise. You might not get an upgraded water heater, but you could definitely get a new one. http://www.rapidplumbinglex.com
Flag Wed Apr 1, 2015
Eugene Dean, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Mon Oct 13, 2014
I don't know if it is reasonable to ask for a tankless system. They are not the current standard, so you would probably have to cover the extra cost. You definitely want to bring it up, though. It never hurts to ask, and the worst they can say is no.

0 votes
Ernie Behrle, Agent, Raleigh, NC
Wed Aug 6, 2014
If the inspection reveals the water heater is not performing and should be replaced and the buyer decides they want to replace it with a tankless, it's called negotiation time. The seller is not obligated to be responsible for upgrading the system. I had this happen and the seller offered my buyer a credit at closing equal to the cost of replacing with a similar water heater. As it turned out, after my buyer started digging into the initial expense of what the tankless system would cost, he stuck with a new water heater.
0 votes
Jennifer Fiv…, Agent, Red Hook, NY
Wed Aug 6, 2014
If the water heater is old but working it is unlikely the seller will replace it. If there was a decision to replace it I am sure the seller would not do an upgrade to a tankless water heater. You could ask for a credit and then do the upgrade later
0 votes
Michael Jose…, Home Owner, Gulf Breeze, FL
Wed Aug 6, 2014
If it needs to be replaced I would certainly request the seller pays to replace it. The tank less heater is more expensive and I doubt a seller is going to pay extra to upgrade something for your benefit. You can ask for a credit for the amount a similar water heater would cost and than purchase the more expensive one you want. I don't see any homeowner upgrading a water heater or other component for a buyer.
0 votes
Tim Johnson, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Wed Aug 6, 2014
It depends on the prices for the water heater. I'd find some people who do water heater installation and present the seller with some quotes. Hopefully that works out for you. It would be pretty great for you if you moved into a home with a brand new water heater. http://www.twomenandasnake.com/water-heaters/
0 votes
Jim Olive, Agent, Key West, FL
Mon Nov 4, 2013
Jesus hit it on the head...if you want to upgrade, ask for a credit and hope to get something that you can put toward replacing/upgrading after you move in.
0 votes
Maria Sabio, Agent, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tue May 21, 2013
First , review your contract. Then proceed to discuss the issue with your Realtor. Ask your Realtor to present the issue to the seller. However, don't be surprised if it is declined.
0 votes
John Bourassa, , Fort Lauderdale, FL
Mon May 20, 2013
You will hit a brick wall if you are dealing with a short-sale or a foreclosure but, in a regular, non-distressed sale, you can always ask; the worse a seller can say is "no".

I have seen similar situations in my real estate career when sellers are just the nicest people on earth and they have gone beyond what is reasonable and customary in relation to their sales contract to accommodate buyers just to ensure that the sale go through like not only replace defective items but replace those items with the best quality possible. Old sellers tend to do so for young family buyers because young people remind them of their own grand children or simply because they want to make sure that the children of young family buyers will be safe.

On the other hand, there are sellers who have no sympathy, none whatsoever. It's a crap shoot.
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more