Every house needs repairs. There is no perfect house. If a house were perfect, everything would break or fall apart at the same time. But as it is, the envelope of a home: its roof, floors, walls, windows, structural support members, all have different life spans. If you're looking for a perfect house, you can stop home searching now. It doesn't exist.
It doesn't really matter whether the home is newer or older, a home inspection is still likely to turn up a list of repairs. An older home, of course, will likely generate a longer laundry list of repair items. The objectives are to figure out which repairs are serious or safety issues and to determine whether a seller will honor a buyer's request for repairs.
Get a Professional Home Inspection
Sellers will be reluctant to listen to or negotiate a request for repair from a buyer without receipt of a home inspection. Sellers will be more agreeable to making repairs if they see other deficiencies on the report that a buyer didn't request.
Every buyer should hire an independent and qualified home inspector to conduct a home inspection before
buying a home. Not every state certifies
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inspectors, but most reputable inspectors will belong to a trade association. Ask for those credentials.
Cash Credit or Repair
Sometimes buyers are better off asking for a cash credit on a repair item instead of asking the seller to replace or repair. The seller has no vested interest in the home once it is sold, and might not hire the most qualified contractor or do the repair in a manner that is satisfactory to a buyer. Before asking for a cash credit, check with your lender to determine if a cash credit is allowed.
Above all, unless the home is brand new, do not nitpick small items. Address major issues and safety issues. Do not make repair requests for items that could have been readily ascertained on your initial inspection such as cracked sidewalks, bad paint jobs or uneven floors. Otherwise, the seller will feel you should have asked for those items in the purchase offer.
Smart buyers will ask the seller to pay for a home warranty. Home warranties cover major defects for
a year and provide a buyer with peace of mind.
In closing, if the home has foundation problems, you might want to think twice about pursuing a purchase on this type of home.
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