Are you asking too much of the seller?

Buying a home is not much different then buying any other commodity. Yes I know we inspectors and realtors always make the famous statement that “This is most likely the most expensive purchase you will ever make in your lifetime.” While this is true I still say it is a lot like buying jeans or a car or anything else, you buy the one that fits you and is within your budget. When most of us go shopping for a car we don’t pull up to the dealer and say “I’ll take that one”. Most people will research the purchase and get prices and then decide which one they can afford and which one is priced properly. Buying a home is similar in a lot of ways. You need to find the home that you like and fits within your budget. This is where my thoughts tie into this story.

Lets suppose you find the perfect home. Most often this home is an older home that will need some maintenance. You show up with the realtor and look around the property. You make an offer subject to financing and an inspection and hope for the best.  The inspector shows up and begins to have a look around. Some obvious issues are the fence and deck that is past its prime and will need some TLC or to be replaced outright. Next the inspector tries a few of the older crank style wooden casement windows and reports a few stripped cranks and one or two sealed units that have fogged up.  The report should be clear that this home is an older home and older windows are to be expected. I often will comment to the customer that it is rather amazing that only one or two windows have issues considering the age of the home.

The next step is up to the buyer to lift the condition of the inspection. Here is where things can get dicey. Some buyers will look at the inspection report and demand that the seller replace the old deck and fence. They will want $5000.00 off because the windows are old. Ultimately they need to step back and consider a few things. First of all the deck and fence and windows were not hidden when they made the initial offer. It is true that the problems are more defined by the inspector but it is not surprising that these issues are present in this age of home. Just because the inspector points them out doesn’t necessarily mean that the seller must make the issue go away or pay to fix it. After all old homes have old components and old components require repairs now and then. As I always say, if you want a better home you can get one across town in a newer area for $100,000 more. My point is you are buying an older home because it is what you can afford. You really can’t expect the seller to fix and update the old home just because you hope for more. So be realistic and decide if the home is priced appropriately for its condition and then make a reasonable offer. Finally be fair in the negotiations and the home can be yours at a fair price.