If a home inspection report reveals a serious problem, you can often get the sellers to reduce their price to compensate for it. Keep in mind, however, that the sellers could always elect to fix the problem themselves and often will do this if they determine that the fix is cheaper than the price reduction you may be demanding.
The inspection report has become a negotiating tool that has been wielded with surprising effectiveness by some buyers. The trick seems to be to convince the sellers of the gravity of the problem that has been revealed but at the same time figure a way to actually accomplish the fix for a bargain price.
One home buyer’s experience
A couple found a house that they very much wanted. However, the foundation had sunk somewhat in the back so that the back side of the house was lower than the front. If you had a rubber ball and laid it down at the front of the house, it would roll to the back on the wood floors.
A contractor had been summoned for an evaluation and had determined that the house would have to be lifted off the existing foundation and moved. Then, that foundation would have be removed using jack hammers. Finally, a new foundation would have to be poured, and the house brought back and lowered onto it. The total cost was estimated to be a minimum of $50,000!
Needless to say, the sellers were distraught. However, the buyers said that since they really wanted the home, they were willing to contribute toward the fixing of the place. The wanted the sellers to reduce their price by $35,000. After some soul searching, the sellers agreed.
After the buyers took possession, they had the home lifted on jacks (but not moved) and shims inserted between the existing foundation and the structure. The house was thus leveled. The cost was $3500. In addition, they spent another $2500 on drainage to be sure that the foundation in the rear did not sink any further.
These buyers used the leverage of the inspection report to get a dramatic price reduction, then used creative thinking to solve a serious problem. Can you do the same? Sometimes. It’s important to remember that not all issues revealed in a home inspection have easy fixes and others cannot be postponed. For example, you might get the sellers to reduce the price because the house has a bad roof, but if you don’t spend the bucks to get it fixed, it will leak on you!