What Are Negotiating Rights After Inspection of House?

The Title of this post are the exact words of a Google Search for those keywords that I found in my blog stats today.  When seeing it I thought it would make a good topic for a post.  Hope you agree.

To some extent the words “Rights” and “Negotiating” are contradictory.  If you have an actual “right” to something, you don’t NEED to negotiate it.  So suffice it to say that you have no “negotiating rights” in the strict sense.  You likely have a “right” to cancel the contract based on the inspection, but not a right to repairs.

If you have included an inspection contingency in your contract, then you have some rights.  You have the right to hire an inspector.  You have the right to gain access to the home for inspection.  Personally I think you should STOP the inspection the minute you find something that causes you to not want the house.  You save money usually (some inspectors; not all) and you really shouldn’t be nosing around someone’s house once you have decided not to buy it.  That’s my personal opinion.

I often hear “Doesn’t the seller have to fix…?”  The seller doesn’t HAVE to anything, nor does the buyer for that matter.  So the buyer has the right to ASK.  To answer the question literally, “what are (the) negotiating rights after Inspection…”  You have the right to ASK would probably be the closest accurate response.

Most and virtually all inspections that fail, fail due to poor communication.

1) Don’t just point out a problem without being specific about the remedy requested

2) Try to give a variety of remedies, so the seller can choose one


Inspector says: “Hot Water Tank is 14 years old and should be replaced as life expectancy of this hot water tank is 10-12 years”  Remember, from the seller’s perspective there is nothing wrong with it.  It heats up the water just fine, they never run out of hot water and it’s not leaking or knocking or causing any problem whatsoever.  It’s just old.

Yes my friends, there is assisted suicide and genocide involving old hot water tanks.  It’s age descrimination, and some are put to rest before their time has come.

Let’s use some common sense here.  What is around this tank often suggests the appropriate remedy.

1) Hot water tank is in a condo on the third floor.

My suggested remedy?  “Hot water tank to be replaced by seller prior to closing.”

2) Hot water tank is in the garage and much of the owners valuable belongings are stored there prior to moving.  Very valuable things that used to be in the house but ended up in the garage when decluttering the house for it to go on market.

My suggested remedy? “Hot water tank to be replaced as soon as possible by seller.”  Once you are aware of a potentially dangerous situation, one that could cost thousands of dollars if the tank blew and the water damaged the seller’s things, you should pass that info on to the seller.  How would you feel if you asked for a credit or didn’t ask for a new tank at all, and the tank blew 3 days before closing and the seller’s stuff got ruined?  Might you be liable in some way for not passing that info on to the seller?

3) Hot water tank is in garage and nothing that could be damaged by water is anywhere in the garage and the water couldn’t get into the house if the tank blew.

In this instance you can take a credit for the repair.  You can ask for a 1 year home warranty just in case it goes bad in the first year.  You can ask for any of the remedies above as well.

No, the seller doesn’t HAVE TO.  But those are reasonable requests in my opinion, though #3 is not a given for sure.

You have the right to ASK.  The seller has the right to say NO.  If people would be honest and only ask for legitimate items and appropriate remedies, no one would feel like someone is trying to club them over the head.  A home inspection is NOT a chance to take advantage of someone.  There are reasonable requests and unreasonable requests.

Ask yourself this?  Would YOU replace a 14 year old tank in that location if you bought the house 8 years ago, just because it is “past its life expectancy”.  If yes, then it is reasonable for YOU to ask.  If no, then maybe not.  Apply that Golden Rule to all items and you will be negotiating fairly.  If you are reasonable, you likely will get everything you should.  Maybe not everthing you WANT, but everything you SHOULD want.