Do Sellers Have to Do Repairs?

Typically, buyers include a home inspection contingency in their purchase offer that allows them to ask the sellers for repairs and get out of the contract if the seller refuses. The seller can respond in a number of ways. 

  • They can readily agree to fix the problem, no matter how expensive. 
  • They can agree to fix any problem that’s a safety or potential legal issue, such as mold or radon remediation, but decline minor repairs such as filling in and painting over picture hanger holes in the wall. 
  • They can refuse to fix anything, but risk losing the buyer. For safety or code issues, they’ll have to declare the problem on subsequent seller’s disclosures, which could impact the home’s value to future buyers. 
  • They can offer to lower the price of the home to cover the cost of the repair for the buyer, or offer a closing credit to the buyer to pay for the repair without lowering the price of the home.  That way the buyer can complete the repair to their liking. 
  • They can ask the buyer to meet them halfway, such as paying more for the home if the seller repairs something major, or replaces the roof. 
  • They can ask the buyer to waive additional repair requests if the seller will fix the worst or most expensive problem. 

Sellers should know that FHA, VA and other government-guaranteed loans have stricter requirements for home safety, and that some repairs are mandatory for the buyer’s loan to close. 

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