What to Ask For on the Buyers Inspection Notice

avatarthumbnail.jpgThere’s a local agent who I won’t name who once told me handles repair negotiations by handing over the inspection report and saying “fix it.” I’ve always assumed that’s a bit of an exaggeration but you never know.

If you’re using the Arizona Association of REALTORS residential resale purchase contract, you have a 10-day inspection period during which you are to complete your due diligence assuming you haven’t signed an addendum or otherwise agreed to a shorter timeframe.

(If you’re not using the AAR contract, you may not have an inspection period at all – there is not state statute giving buyers any such thing.)

At the end of the inspection period the buyers need to provide the sellers with a Buyers’ Inspection Notice, a two-page form on which the buyer can ask for any repairs, accept the house as is or cancel the contract. The inspection period language is such that a buyer can cancel for any reason as long as he has a reason.

One of the big questions that arises is what a buyer should ask for on the inspection report since there’s no restraints on what can be requested. If a buyer really wanted to do so they can ask for new carpeting, new paint and a gold-plated toilet to be installed … my hunch is these requests would be rejected quickly.

Big-ticket items that appear on the inspection report usually are no-brainers. It’s the smaller items that often are the subject of debate.

For instance, if there are outlets in the kitchen not on a GFCI circuit and such an outlet is relatively inexpensive, do you ask for the change? What if there are broken outlet covers? Or missing or burned out light bulbs? Or a plumbing fixture that has developed a leak thanks to Arizona’s wonderful hard water?

All of these present a bit of a dilemma … they’d be inexpensive to fix for the seller, but they also would be inexpensive to fix for the buyer.

Do you ask for them?

Naturally, my answer is that it depends. If there are several larger items that you really want or need done, focus on those first. Don’t water down the request by adding a bunch of small things so the seller is confronted with a list of 37 items because the likelihood of getting the important items repaired decreases as the seller starts feeling the buyer is being less than reasonable. (A few years ago, a friend of mine almost watched a deal go south because there was a cracked outlet cover in the garage – a $2 fix.)

If there aren’t any big ticket items, then maybe some of the smaller requests would make a little more sense. Much depends on what the tone of negotiations has been so far (and if the agent on the other side of the transaction as sufficient gray matter to present this and other requests to the seller without them flipping out. Some do, some don’t.)

Always keep in mind the repair negotiations are just that – negotiations. You may not win all of the battles but by keeping an eye on the ultimate goal – purchasing a house that will fit your needs – you can win enough without major arguments ensuing.

[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.


  • Walt Miller 9 years ago

    Hi Jonathan, one thing I wish that we had asked for was a little work on the trees. They had been pretty neglected and it was a little expensive to get them back into shape. They weren’t on the inspection report though, so I don’t know if we would have gotten anything anyway.

  • Jonathan Dalton 9 years ago

    Landscaping’s a tough one; easy to ask for, but not likely to be “repaired” per se. I’ve only seen it when we had frost damage a couple of years back and the landscaping had deteriorated between contract date and close of escrow.

  • M Realty 9 years ago

    Yeah, it is always hard to tell what repairs are going to be acceptable and which will not be. The most I have ever heard of was a lake front property having an expensive toxin/pollutant analysis on the water and soil before the buyer would agree to the home.


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