These tips will help you when a buyer starts making repair requests.

In nearly every home sale, buyers make repair requests to sellers. As a seller, here are three tips that will come in handy when a buyer you have under contract starts making repair requests:

1. Try explaining to the buyer the difference between repairs and improvements. Repairs are for when something is broken, and the whole purpose of a buyer’s home inspection is to find items that are broken and need to be repaired—not search for improvements that might increase the home’s value. A leaking roof, for example, is something that needs to be repaired. A roof that’s old and might need to be replaced in five or 10 years is just something that could be improved. 

“You should make sure the buyer can actually close the sale before embarking on any repairs.”

2. If something needs to be repaired, avoid doing it yourself. Always offer the buyer a credit in the form of a dollar amount so they can do the work themselves after the sale. A lot of issues can come up if you try doing any repairs yourself before closing. For instance, the buyer might not like the work you do, and that might lead to another round of negotiations. Or, if they decide after the closing that they don’t like how you’ve repaired something and they seek you out to fix it, that situation can get messy. 

3. If the buyer insists that you do the repairs, do them near the official closing (e.g., a week or two beforehand). You should make sure the buyer can actually close the sale before embarking on any repairs, so wait until they’ve gone through the inspection, appraisal, and bank-approval phases to get started. You don’t want to spend all that money on repairs only to see the buyer back out of the deal. 

As always, if you have questions about this or any real estate topic or are thinking of buying a home soon, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m happy to help.