If you are in the process of buying a home or piece of property, one thing I advise my clients to do as soon as the ink on the contract is dry is to set up an inspection of the property performed by a certified home inspector. A lot of individuals think they can have any “handyman” walk through the property. However, if you plan on negotiating with the seller and asking for things to be repaired or replaced, you will need an inspection report prepared by a certified inspector.

After getting the inspection report back, you will most likely have a long list of items that the home inspector noted needs fixing or “may” need fixing in the near future. If you are my client, once you have received the report, we will go over each item on the report to determine what you will ask the owner of the property to repair or replace before your closing.

A common misconception is that the seller has to fix everything the home inspector flagged on his report. That is not the case. The standard real estate contract in Illinois only allows buyers to ask the sellers to repair a very limited set of items.  This includes only the major components of the real estate (i.e., electrical, plumbing, roof, foundation, HVAC, etc.) that are defective or non-operational at the time of the inspection.  The real estate contract specifically states that just because an item is old, or at the end of its useful life, does not mean it is defective, and is therefore, not a covered item by the inspection contingency in the contract.

Often, buyers ask for cosmetic or other non-covered repairs.  If that is your desire, I typically recommend requesting one or two of these items to see if the owner will repair them as a courtesy. If they say no, it is not and should not be a deal killer.

A good way for a buyer to kill the deal is to give the owner the inspection report and request that every item raised by the inspector be repaired/replaced, regardless of whether it is covered by the inspection contingency clause in the contract. No seller is going to do that. This course of action can result in excessive negotiation, which will only delay your closing, and could ultimately cause the seller to cancel the contract. Therefore, if you are serious about buying the property, it is best to ask the owner to repair only the defects comprised of the major components of the real estate and would be a deal killer for you if the seller does not agree to make the requested repairs.

If you are in the process of buying a home and would like to work together, please contact us today.