Homebuying 101: Repair Request Mistakes

By Emilio DiSpirito, The DiSpirito Team with HomeSmart Professionals

Most existing homes need repairs. When you find a home you want, it is important to pick your battles when it comes to repairs requested from a home inspection.

Repair Requests to Avoid

  1. Smoke and Fire Safety

Yup, we said it. Obviously, you need them, but if they’re missing or broken don’t bring it up! It is required by the seller according to inspector and appraisers to replace smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

  • Cosmetics Issues

Normal wear and tear are to be expected. Cosmetic issues are at the top of the list to avoid asking a seller to fix. Although it is tempting to fix that cracked tile or chipping door frame, slow down! Most cosmetic repairs are affordable and easy to fix after the sale. Think first, how much do I really want this home? You may not be the only buyer. Realize this is someone’s home – filled with memories and can be hard to part with for some. Your judgements may lead you to the bottom of the list.

Rule of Thumb: $100 and under

There may be a hundred little things that need to be fixed on a home, but both you and the seller only have so much time to close a deal. When you hit a seller with multiple little repair requests, he or she may feel overwhelmed simply due to the time required to make the repairs.

Loose Fixtures and Lighting

Although these things may be annoying, they are fixable with basic tools and little effort. If it is not dangerous, leaking, or expensive – LEAVE IT BE!

Landscaping and Outdoor Issues

Do not worry about the stones, the poorly cut bushes, cracks in the driveway, or overgrown grass. You want them to hand you the keys and plant flowers for you too? WRONG. Once you’ve bought your new home, you can make it your own and landscape how you want it.

  • Things you plan to renovate anyway

Most sellers are hoping for a quick and easy sale; repairs only lengthen the transaction of buying or selling a home. If you know there are a few spots in the home on your top “to-dos”, then it might not be worth the request. Instead of asking for flat-out repairs, try to negotiate with the seller — they may be willing to give you a credit for these damages that you can use

when you do renovate the kitchen. A house and a home are different. You buy a house, and then you make it a home.

What Should Be Fixed?

  • Termites or other wood destroying insects.
  • Wildlife infestation like bats or squirrels in the attic.
  • Major drainage or on-going water problems.
  • Mold.
  • Elevated Radon levels above EPA suggested levels.
  • Major electrical defects that cause safety issues.
  • Significant plumbing problems that interfere with the use of the home.
  • Lead paint. It should be noted that it is a federal requirement for sellers to disclose the known presence of lead paint in a property.
  • Well water problems, such as a lack of pressure or volume of water.
  • Major structural issues such as a leaking roof or substandard building violations.
  • Failed Septic System
  • Any other major items that may affect the price that sellers are asking for.


INSPECT: Every buyer should hire an independent and qualified home inspector to conduct a home inspection before buying a home. Sellers are reluctant to negotiate or even listen to a request for repairs from buyers without a home inspection.

CONSULT: with your real estate agent to see what problems you may be able to ask a seller to remedy. This professional can also advise you if any flaws are serious enough to make you consider withdrawing the offer.

Emilio DiSpirito, The DiSpirito Team – Learn more at: