Buyer Tip – Successful Negotiation of the Home Inspection

You can ask for the moon in Phase 1 of the inspection contingency. But if the seller’s response to that is less than satisfactory, you need to get specific in your response to the seller’s response.

Let’s say you give the seller a big laundry list of “stuff” that is “wrong” with the house under Phase 1. of the Inspection Contingency.

Seller comes back in Phase 2. offering to fix only one of those things.

To be successful at getting more than that in Phase 3, you should go back with a very specific, and pretty much final request, such as:

I will buy the home “as is” with regard to all times noted in the inspection if the price is reduced from $514,000 to $512,000.” Or “I will buy the home “as is” with regard to all other items noted in the inspection contingency IF Items #2, 7 and 9 are repaired prior to closing and receipts for those repairs are delivered at closing with at least a 30 day warranty on those repairs”. There are many and better ways to state this, but be specific about what you want the seller to actually DO when you get to the final round.

The long winded version is on my blog. Trying to cut down on the verbiage over here. I tend to “overstate my case” to put it kindly, which results in blog-clog 🙂

And don’t forget…as with any negotiation…timing is everything.

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ARDELL is a Managing Broker with Better Properties METRO King County. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has 33+ years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. email: cell: 206-910-1000

12 thoughts on “Buyer Tip – Successful Negotiation of the Home Inspection

  1. Useful advice. Spot on. I have been collecting mortgage refinance and loan articles, and through research found that most of the sellers lack ability to neutrally judge their home price. This results in inflated pricing for property.

  2. Good advice Ardell. Getting specific about the seriousness of a problem can also help. Recently I went back and forth for a client (I was representing the buyer) on inspection issues. My client felt very strongly about having the furnace replaced as it was releasing measurable levels of Carbon Monoxide inside the house. The Seller suggested having “a buddy fix it.” After a few rounds of verbal back and forth, I attached substantial documentation on the health hazards of a furnace leaking CO to an inspection resolution proposal and the seller reluctatnly agreed to a credit at closing. My client gave some ground as well, not getting everything she wanted in the original inspection objection, but getting what she really cared about taken care of.

  3. When I have safety issues, I try to have the problem resolved before closing, rather than using the credit method of resolution. I had one down in Federal Way with recalled heaters and the buyers had small children. I literally couldn’t sleep having nightnmares of the toddlers burning in the house. I had the heaters replaced before they moved in.

  4. Good advice on the process.

    One thing we try to do before the inspection is make sure that the buyer’s looking at the inspection results “in context”.

    If the home is presented as updated and well maintained, we have higher expectations that if the home is sold as a “fixer-upper”.

    We also try to get the focus on the critical items like health & safety, structual, and mis-representation.

    (We just had a seller’s disclosure state that the heating system was brand new when the furnace was installed in 1991!)


    Jon Boyd
    Exclusive Buyer’s Broker
    Past President of The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (
    The Home Buyer’s Agent of Ann Arbor, Inc.

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