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Typical Home-Seller Repairs

Every home buyer should know that no house is perfect. Whether the property is old or new, a home inspection is likely to turn up issues that need to be repaired.

So what can a buyer reasonably request or expect a seller to fix? And what are the factors involved?

The first thing to know is that everything during the purchase of a home in California is negotiable, and the market will always dictate how much leverage a seller has. Just as important, there are no set rules following a home inspection, and the seller is not obligated to fix anything. According to, it is not your best interests as a buyer to make requests for aesthetic or non-essential repairs. Your focus should be on safety concerns and big-budget expenses, and the best way to make reasonable requests is to rely on what was uncovered during an inspection. A rule of thumb for some buyers is to request only things that if they are not done, they would back out of the purchase.

Sellers have different motivations for making or not making repairs. They will often agree to repairs because once an issue has been noticed, it is then material and needs to be disclosed to future buyers. Some sellers may be hesitant to put any funds into a home they are selling, especially if they believe they can get offers on the home without those repairs. Typically, it is in the seller’s best interests to pay for fixes that need to be done to sell the property, as long as they are reasonable requests.

Here are five common repair requests:

Sewage pipes: A sewage inspection will show tree roots in pipes, or if they are made of tar paper, which disintegrate after about 50 years. This is an expensive job, but most sellers will agree to repair.

Galvanized water pipes: These pipes often suffer from leaking and rust issues, as well as mineral buildup, which can impact water pressure. It is not unreasonable to ask sellers to repair leaking galvanized piping.

Roofing: Sellers sometimes provide a roof certification, issued by a roofing company, which won’t be issued if recommended repairs have not been made. Sellers might pre-pay for repairs or offer cash credit for repairs.

Electrical: Some sellers might agree to rewire a pre-1960s house that has ungrounded outlets. Most will refuse given the expense.

Health & Safety: Defects in a home that cause health and safety concerns are largely uncovered in a home inspection, and these are known and obvious issues before any contingencies are removed. When it comes to items like mold treatment, radon mitigation or non-working gas valves, these issues pose health and safety concerns for any buyer as well as a concern for the financing provider.

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