• Which Buyer Requests Are Reasonable, And Which Ones Are Unreasonable? Here’s What You Should (And Shouldn’t) Fix

    When thinking about what repairs are reasonable, as yourself: what would an ordinary buyer and seller consider reasonable, and what is fair to both parties? The buyer may then seek remedy or compensation for latent defects or repairs that were unknown and/or undisclosed at the time the initial contract was finalized.

    A seller can refuse to work with a buyer on repair issues at risk of the buyer terminating the deal and seeking another home in better condition, or with a better price/condition relationship. Sellers and their agents often fail to consider the fact that, if they let the current buyer walk away, the next reasonable buyer will probably ask for the same or similar repair remedies. Furthermore, the next buyer may be even tougher in their requests than the current buyer.

    So unless the buyer is completely unreasonable, ridiculous and over the top in the requests being made, it’s almost always going to be in a seller’s best interest to work with the buyer and make the deal happen. This would be a lot easier if all buyers, sellers and agents had a common viewpoint or opinion of what constitutes “reasonable” repair requests. When that happens, the final repair negotiations can become difficult, normally because of emotions, and sometimes deals fall apart because the buyer walks away from the unreasonable seller, or our reasonable seller tells the unreasonable buyer to walk. Read: Fix it Or Not? What to Ask When Prepping Your Home for Sale.

    Here are some reasonable repair requests: 

    If you are selling a home and you list as the included components of that home items such as a sprinkler system, central air and heat, gas range, etc.,  it is not unreasonable of your buyer to request that the home be delivered at closing as it was represented at the time of the initial price negotiation.

    So, if the inspection reveals that the sprinkler system has multiple leaks and broken heads, it is not unreasonable that the buyer asks for it to be repaired, or for a price adjustment to fund the repairs after closing. The buyer may in fact have picked your home over another just because of the sprinkler system. You need to fix it or pay the cost of fixing it to the buyer at closing.

    If it turns out that the HVAC system that you represented as working and it is in fact not working, it’s not unreasonable that the buyer would want that system returned to good working order prior to closing. You represented these items as being in good working order and the buyer did not factor in these potential expenses when he agreed to the final sales price. Front-of-house-sold-banner

    What is unreasonable?

    What is unreasonable is to expect a seller to fix minor repair items. No home is perfect, and any home you buy will have minor defects and problems. Even newer homes have minor problems and defects. It’s unreasonable to expect sellers to fix items in older homes, when those items were not required at the time the home was built. Your agent should simply present your request, offer his or her opinion of reasonableness, and let the seller decide. For further reading, see: 10 Reasons to Make Repairs Before You Sell Your House.


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    2 thoughts on “Which Buyer Requests Are Reasonable, And Which Ones Are Unreasonable? Here’s What You Should (And Shouldn’t) Fix

    • Rob says:

      Is it a good idea to renovate? I’ve heard that renovations can really drive up the value of the home, and reap sellers more money in the long run.

    • Linda Evans says:

      That all depends on many factors. One good idea is to call an appraiser and find out the ‘comps.’ Your realtor may also be able to find you these. Also compare the value that it will cost to complete the renovations, to find out if it will have a good impact in terms of sell price.

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