Welcome back to “What’s Working Now: Tuesday at 2!”

I’m frequently asked questions about home inspection negotiations by both buyers and sellers, so today, I’m going to talk a little bit about what makes for a good negotiation if you’re a buyer. How do you get what you want, and how do you get what’s important?

Well, buyers do inspections for a couple of reasons:

  1. To find out what’s wrong with the house, and to try to get the seller to fix everything for them. They hire the inspector to identify the problems, but then they find out what they’ll have to do to maintain the problems, upgrade them, and make it safer. It can get confusing, and buyers don’t always know what to ask for.
  2. To find out what’s wrong with the house, and also to learn how to maintain it.

“Listen to what the inspector says is inoperable and unsafe; those are the things you should be asking the seller to fix and upgrade.”

Most of the houses we’re working on here in Washington, D.C., are not new homes, but rather older homes with features that haven’t been updated in a long time. Many buyers who are interested in purchasing a home expect to get a home with all-new features.

But when you buy an older home, you need to try to change your expectations. Think about what’s currently in the house and whether or not it’s working—listen to what the inspector says is inoperable and unsafe; those are the things you should be asking the seller to fix and upgrade. This will help keep you on track.

Now, you can ask the seller to fix or upgrade anything you like. You could create a long list of items for the seller to address, from aesthetic to structural changes. However, it will be better for negotiations if you stick to the important stuff, and don’t bog them down with a bunch of requests that you could feasibly do on your own.

If you have any questions about home inspection negotiation tips or real estate in general, reach out to me and I’d be glad to continue this conversation with you.

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