7 repair requests buyers should never make

Repairs unrelated to a safety issue or the breakdown of an expensive system are better left alone

Most buyers and sellers understand that buying and selling a home requires negotiation. You give a little here, and they concede a bit there. But what do you do when you have a buyer who demands unnecessary repairs after a home inspection?

Educating buyers so that they better understand which repairs are necessary and which may annoy the seller enough for the deal to shatter is part of the job of a real estate agent.

Here is a list of seven repair requests that buyers should think twice about before making.

1.  Easily repaired items under $10

Whole house inspectors often come back with a list of items that cost under $10 to repair or replace. Save yourself the hassle, and omit these things from the list of requested repairs.

If repairs are not related to a safety issue or the breakdown of an expensive system, it’s better to refrain from listing them.

2. Replacement of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Sometimes buyers are adamant they want missing smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors replaced.

Although these are safety items, unless local codes say differently, it is better if the buyer installs the smoke and carbon monoxide indicators after closing. That way, they can make an informed decision on the type of alarms they feel most comfortable using in their new home.

3. Cosmetic issues in a resale home

Unless the home is brand-new construction, advising your clients against noting uneven paint or stained baseboards on a repair request is a good idea.

Normal wear and tear should be expected in any resale home and should be a factor in the original price negotiations.

4. Repairs related to minor plumbing and electrical issues

Often, a whole-home inspector will list in the report issues with simple electrical and plumbing items such as an upside down outlet or corrosion on a fitting. Unless the problems cited are a safety concern, a buyer should not list them as a requested repair.

Simple issues such as an upside down outlet or a corroded water line to a sink are simple DIY repairs or matters easily handled by a handyman.

5. Repair of hairline cracks in the basement or driveway

Concrete expands and contracts naturally, and over time, cracks will occur. As long as the cracks are minor, don’t list them in a request for repairs.

However, if the breaks are over a quarter inch, it’s an excellent idea to have a structural inspection. Structural cracks are a whole new ballgame.

6. Outdoor landscaping, porch and fence repairs

These items were visible at the initial showing and will be a factor in the initial offer and negotiations.

It’s not a good idea to ask for things that were obvious at the beginning such as sod replacement, fence restoration, loose railings or loose hinges.

The exception is if the repair is necessary as part of the loan process such as in an FHA or USDA loan.

7.  Replacement of failed seals in windows

Unless the window is under warranty, most sellers will refuse to fix a failed seal. Window seals fail over time with use, and depending on the age of the window seal, failure can be expected.

It’s another simple fix, and sometimes you need to choose your battles.

For all items on this list that your buyer would like to have fixed and are not safety or related to the failure of an expensive system can be included in a request for credit at closing.

Sellers are more likely to agree to a $500 credit to a Buyer to replace 30 $10 items than they will to repair or replace the 30 issues themselves.

BYMISSY YOST