What to ask the seller to fix?
In my opinion, the short answer is: nothing, nada, zip.
Let’s take this common example: The home inspector notes in his report that the roof is near or at the end of its serviceable life, or he checks the “Unsatisfactory” box in the Roof Section of his report. Translation: the house needs a new roof.
Now you, Homebuyer, would certainly want the best and longest-lasting roofing material available, and installation by the most reputable (and likely most expensive) contractor in town. But, in contrast, Mr. Homeseller would opt for the cheapest deal he can find. Understanding this simple dichotomy, who would you rather make choices about the installation of your new roof, you or Mr. Homeseller? Now it is true that in a typical request for repairs, you and your agent would insist that like-materials be installed, that is, materials of similar type and quality. But not all like-materials, and certainly not all contractors and tradesmen, are created equally, and the durability of your new roof depends on both.
Another common conflict of interest in the what-to-ask-the-sellers-to-fix process includes conditions where the home inspector notes something installed improperly, like the added lights and outlets in the garage. It is entirely likely that the homeowner either did it himself, or he had somebody else just as unqualified do it for him. If he should agree to fix it, then most likely yes, he is going to fix it, the guy who did it wrong in the first place.
If he should agree to fix it, then most likely yes, he is going to fix it, the guy who did it wrong in the first place.
The best solution, in my not-so-humble opinion, is that once you decide on a list of concerns to request that the seller be responsible for, follow the inspector’s recommendations for further evaluations by qualified specialists, put together written estimates for the conditions that you want addressed, and then negotiate an allowance and/or price reduction for the property.
There are other benefits to this solution. First, it will be you who will have personal contact with the contractor/installer/technician who does the work. Secondly, it will be you who signs the repair agreements and approves the work. Not the seller. Lastly, you may not want like-materials; you will have the opportunity to upgrade to better materials or to downgrade to save a little money.
There is even benefit for the sellers: they don’t have to deal with it.