Should you ask the Seller to complete any repairs?

It depends. Most “boiler-plate” contracts are written “as-is,” reserving the right of the buyer to complete due diligence, and to ask for repairs. Most also state that the Seller has no duty to agree to any repairs, complete any repairs, or even respond. So what is the right call?

In my opinion, it depends on two conditions. First and foremost, does either the buyer or seller have any leverage related to the market conditions themselves? In other words, is it a buyer’s market, a seller’s market, or a balanced market? If you’re buying, but it’s a seller’s market, it’s probably best to pick your battles or risk losing the deal. If it’s a buyer’s market, then exercise your leverage, but don’t be ridiculous. Just because you have some perceived leverage doesn’t meant the seller is desperate.

Second, what is the nature of the repairs that you seek assistance on? Are we talking light bulbs or major appliances? I tend to advise my clients as follows…”If the Seller is going to have to complete the repairs to sell it to a different buyer, then ask for it.” For example, if the home has termites, and the Seller now is aware (because you gave them the report), they’ll have a duty to disclose that material fact. It’s likely the Seller will agree to complete the repair. This condition also requires that you consider the first one…trying to project whether the Seller will likely need to complete the repairs to sell it to a different buyer may very well depend on the market conditions. If it’s a Seller’s market, the Seller will likely be more conservative when it comes to agreeing to repair requests, while if the leverage lies with the Buyer, more liberal.

As with any negotiation, or component of negotiation, it’s always best to consider both sides of the equation…not just yours.