Reuben's Home Inspection Blog


Who Verifies Repairs After The Home Inspection?

When a home buyer asks a seller to make repairs to a property after a home inspection, how do the repairs get verified?  Do they get verified?  Do they need to be verified?  I recently blogged about a hack chimney repair that I found at a re-inspection, and several people commented about the importance of re-inspections.

I sent out an email to several local real estate agents that I respect and have had recent transactions with, to ask about their take on the importance of re-inspections.  Not surprisingly, their answers were all very similar.  I've compiled the most common statements below.

Try to avoid asking the seller to make repairs.  If the seller is going to make repairs, they're probably going to do the least amount of work possible, use the least amount of money possible, and the repairs will often be sub-par or just plain unacceptable.  It's often better to ask the sellers to fund repairs, or ask for the price of the home to be adjusted accordingly.  The downside to adjusting the price of the home, however, is that the buyers will need to come up with cash to make repairs.

When requesting repairs, make sure everyone understands the issue(s).  An excellent home inspection report will usually be enough to make everything clear and understandable.  If there is any confusion, ask the home inspector for clarification.

A common problem with a repair request is to ask for the wrong thing to be fixed, or to specify an improper repair.  For instance, if a furnace has a cracked heat exchanger, it would be just plain silly to ask for the crack to be repaired.  The furnace needs to be replaced.

Split boot at plumbing vent

One of the more hilarious misunderstandings happened when the buyer asked the seller to address the plumbing vent flashings, which had rubber boots that had dried out and split.  The seller told the buyer that they fixed the dried out boots by applying a lubricant.  No joke.  I can't make this stuff up.  

The photo at right, courtesy of Charles Buell, shows this defect.

When requesting repairs, request building permits.  Not only does this force the seller to 'follow the rules', but it should make the buyer feel better knowing that the work was inspected by an authority, and it puts the cost of the re-inspection on to the seller's lap.

When requesting repairs, be specific.  If the purchase agreement addendum is poorly written or isn't specific, the repairs won't be completed properly... if at all.  A vague, poorly written addendum might say

Have the leaking laundry sink repaired. 

Leaking Laundry Sink

What are the odds that someone will complete this repair with a tube of caulk? A well written addendum may specify the problem, how the repairs should be completed, who should complete the work, and how the repairs will be verified.

The concrete sink in the laundry room is cracked and leaks profusely when filled with water, creating unsanitary conditions.  Have the leaking laundry sink replaced by a Minneapolis licensed plumber, and an appropriate plumbing permit obtained and approved by the Minneapolis plumbing inspector.  The seller shall have the corrections completed, inspected, and approved no later than one week prior to the date of closing.  Documentation of the repairs, including any applicable receipts, permits, and lien waivers shall be provided to the buyer no later than one week prior to closing.

In this second example there was very little left to interpretation.  In some cases, however, the exact method of repair doesn't need to be specified.  For instance, if there are several defects inside an electric panel, it's probably good enough to specify the defects, request repairs, and request an electric permit.  Leave it up to the electrician to decide how to best repair the defects.

When all of the above happens, a re-inspection by the original inspector probably isn't necessary, but it may still be worthwhile.  Just as we find countless defects by licensed contractors on new construction inspections, improper repairs frequently happen with real estate transactions, no matter who does the work.  When there is any doubt in the buyer's mind as to the quality of the work being done, it may be worthwhile to have a re-inspection performed.

My two cents:  I don't do many re-inspections, mostly because of all the items stated above.  When I do get hired to re-inspect a property, I base my price on how much time I think the re-inspection is going to take.  If the seller is a property flipper who was given a list of twenty things to repair, I know from experience that maybe half of the repairs will be completed properly, and the other half either won't be done or will be done incorrectly.  I charge the most for these types of transactions, because they become a contentious pain in the butt.

On the other hand, if I'm going out to look at three specific repairs and the buyer or the buyer's agent has provided me with receipts from licensed contractors, I won't charge nearly as much because the repairs will probably be fine.  Those are a breeze.

The bottom line: Re-inspections never hurt.  If repairs are being done by licensed contractors, the repair requests are specific,  and appropriate permits are pulled, re-inspections probably aren't necessary.  If the repairs are being done by the seller, I strongly recommend a re-inspection.  I have yet to do a single re-inspection where it was the seller who completed the repairs, and everything was done properly.

Special thanks to the following real estate agents for taking their time to share their advice with me: David K. Wells IIIDebbie Nelson-SchefflerHoney BuckJim StarrLinda HeglandMichael Harrell, and Sharlene Hensrud.

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections


Comment balloon 81 commentsReuben Saltzman • August 16 2011 06:09AM


Great piece. Inspections and repairs have either made or broken deals its good to know what to look for and handle it.

Posted by Wale Adewoyin (1st Crown Realty Corporation 503-512-6200) almost 8 years ago

Great post. I have hit suggest. I agree it is better to request credit towards repairs and get it done by qualified people.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) almost 8 years ago

First, for Charlie's picture above, all they needed was the handyman in a can for a life time repair.  Simple.

Every, every, every time I have been called back to inspect "repairs," they have been a disaster!  Honestly it is amazing.  I should do the repairs I identify and they would be done right.  No liability there though...

Suggested again buddy boy.  Do good...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Wale - you know it.  Thanks.

Gita - thanks again.  I know I would much prefer a credit myself...

Jay - I assume the can itself gets placed on the vent upside down?  Almost every re-inspection I've done was a disaster.  

I recently did a re-inspection on a house in Minneapolis where the buyer's agent (one of the agents mentioned at the end) emailed me scanned receipts for all of the work performed; it was all done by licensed contractors, and it was all done properly!  I charged 'em half as much as usual, and everything was done right!  

That smooth experience was part of what inspired this post.


Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 8 years ago

I see the licensed contractor repairs too.  Um...

And licking those receipts was the proper test.  Good for you.  Were they moldy?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Hey, some licensed contractors do excellent work :)

After the lick test, I hardly needed to go back out.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 8 years ago

Interesting article.  Our NH agreements say that repairs have to be agreed to by both buyer and seller so the buyer can insist on a pro to do the work.  Lenders like everything done by transfer of title but depending on the problem-they may escrow one and half times the estimated cost.  What do you think of pre-inspections?  Do you find buyers are suspicious and still want their own?  At least with a seller pre-insp. any major issues can be dealt with in advance of listing.  

Posted by Barbara Tattersall, GRI (Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan (Keene,NH)) almost 8 years ago

Good Morning Reuben, an excellent post for the home buyer to read before they start shopping for a home.  I try to have sellers obtain inspections and have all repairs completed before listing the home.

Posted by Dan Edward Phillips, Realtor and Broker/Owner (Dan Edward Phillips) almost 8 years ago

You get what you pay for. You're not saving anything in the long run with cheap or improper repairs. Hire the right company to do the repair properly.

Posted by A1 Certified Home Inspections almost 8 years ago

Licensed contractor --

Turns out this company's license expired in 2007.  They didn't mention that...

The county got involved after I called them and this whole situation changed dramatically.  The sale ended up not going through.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Honestly, I have my general contractor review all repairs when I represent the buyer. Yes, he does charge. However, he is the professional. Asking for receipts is always helpful.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Barbara - I think pre-inspections are worthwhile, as long as the person doing the pre-inspection does a good job. A large portion of the pre-inspections in my area, however, seem to be generic check-box reports that miss a lot of defects.  Because of this, most buyers still hire their own home inspector.  I know I would.

Dan - that's a good idea.

A-1 - same things goes for home inspections.

Jay -  that's one heck of any ugly mess you reported on!

Harry - that's a good idea, as long as your contractor is familiar with all the different trades he's inspecting. I have a good friend who's a general contractor, and I wouldn't hesitate to have him verify repairs.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 8 years ago

Important post. Every buyer's agent should read it. Buyers should know how the repairs are being done.

Posted by Dave Halpern, Louisville Short Sale Expert (Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827) almost 8 years ago

Reuben, a sensitive topic for sure. In our area, it is customary to request a receipt from a licensed professional for the repairs well in advance of the closing. If it is a large undertaking getting a qualified technician from the buyer's side would be in order, even if it costs a few dollars. Whatever that cost may bem it would be minimal as compared to costly repair after the sale.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 8 years ago

good atricle Reuben,

what i believe most home owners fail to realize if they pull a building permit for a job the town home inspector will inspect the work of the contractor.  i see to many homes that i can tell just by looking at repairs that no inspector has reviewed the work.  i inform my clients that if they need work done pull the needed / required permits and schedule payments with the last being paid once the inspector approved the work.  if you have a contractor refusing this you know before hand to stay from them.

in addition, some towns attach fines on work performed with no permit.  see it a lot on decks and additions.


Posted by Stephen Gaudet (Gaudet Inspections) almost 8 years ago

Hi Ruben.   I found this thru Lenn Harley's re blog.  Glad I didn't miss it.   Really great advice.

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) almost 8 years ago

Good advice, Reuben.  You know a homeowner will typically get a buddy to run by and throw some caulk on whatever duct tape won't fix.  Nope, gotta do it right first time, every time.  Re-inspections would be great.

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) almost 8 years ago

Excellent blog post, these are real issues we face every day. I always think it is best if the buyer gets estimates, gets a credit and completes on their own, however some banks will want it done before closing. I love the idea about being very specific.

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) almost 8 years ago

Dave -  thanks, I'm glad I could help.

Ed - you got it.  It's a small fee compared to the potential for problems... much like the original home inspection.

Stephen - a lot of it comes down to the quality of the municipal inspectors.  Here in MN they're quite good.  Not perfect, or course, but neither am I.  Also, permit fees double around here if the project gets started without a permit.

Al and Cal - thanks!

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 8 years ago

Mike - that's about what I find at most re-inspections!

Scott - I agree, it's always better to take away any guesswork.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 8 years ago

Reuben, I can see where there is a benefit to a re-inspection to make sure the work was done right. However, most buyers I've worked with were happy with receipts of completed repairs at closing. Something to think about.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 8 years ago

Great advice Reuben. But as we know, each transaction is different and depending on the laws and contract in your state, requesting inspection items is like dancing on ice. Thus, each notice is done with care and delicacy. 

Posted by Charlie Dresen, Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro (Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty) almost 8 years ago

Great post with lost of important information!  I am leaning more and more toward reinspections!  I had one done not too long ago and as expected...the repairs had been made wrong and many items had to be corrected.  It can be a good old boy system when hiring "a professional" to do the work!  I am reblogging this!  Thanks for the great job!

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) almost 8 years ago

We either ask for credit or licensed contractors that must provide receipts and in some cases a warranty-depends on repair issue.

We had a leaky roof repair done for a relo sale, on walk through the problem had been repaired but not fixed, still leaking. The roof contractors were required to come back and fix it and they did because they had warranteed their work.

Posted by Corinne Guest, Barrington Lifestyles (Corinne Guest, Realtor | Barrington Realty Company) almost 8 years ago

Great topic for debate.  I ask for receipts and specify work to be done by licensed contractor but the question remains, "will the seller hire frick and frack to do the work?"  Maybe the better route is to get a quote from buyer's choice of contractors and ask for $ at closing towards project.  I'll be checking back to see what other opinions are posted by colleagues. 

Posted by Lorraine Sayer, Realtor ABR,CDPE,GRI - Colorado Springs,CO RE/MAX (Monument, Black Forest, Falcon, Fountain homes ) almost 8 years ago

Excellent and very clear advice. If I were selling anything I myself owned, I would never undertake the repairs - I would rather allow the buyer the flexibility to handle everything himself and I would pay for it at closing, after seeing three estimates. Unless the bank insisted, I would also rather have the repairs done AFTER closing. Makes perfect sense to me.

Posted by Jaime Herrera (LION) almost 8 years ago

Our repairs are re-inspected by the appraiser or the inspector, which ever made the initial requirement. In our rural area building/remodel permits are seldom required.

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) almost 8 years ago

Great topic Reuben...We generally encourage sellers to credit the buyer so that they can be assurred that the job is done correctly.  Re-inspection makes a lot of sense when the seller does the work....particularly if the job is complex or if there are a large number of corrections made. 

Posted by Howard and Susan Meyers (The Hudson Company Winnetka and North Shore) almost 8 years ago

I would definitely recommend to have a re-inspection done if the repairs were completed by the seller, that is great advice based on the outline you provided.  Spending a little bit of money for peace of mind is going to be money well spent.

Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

When I have a listing that needs work done to correct items found in an inspection, I always have a reputable licensed contractor fix the issues - unless they're truly in the "do it yourself" category (e.g. caulk something, replace something, etc).  Having the assurance that someone reliable did the work is key to getting buyers to step up.

Posted by Bryan Robertson almost 8 years ago


Absolutely great advice and blog. I must say that I do not like re-inspects because more times than not the repairs are not what they should be and it becomes a very intense time for all involved if you keep asking for thing to be re-done. Usually closing is coming soon so the anxiety level is high.


Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Re-inspection is what I would advise my buyer. All escrow cares about to close, is the bill from the contractor.

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) almost 8 years ago

Just went through this to close a deal. Hired professional people for all repairs and then held the buyers feet to the fire...the system works fine if everything is done on the up and up

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) almost 8 years ago

Excellent suggestions here and thank you for raising the issues! I really like how you detailed the sample repair request... that's a cut/paste/save to my "stuff" textpad right there LOL.

Posted by Andrew Robb, RE/MAX Realtor - Peoria, AZ (RE/MAX Renaissance Realty) almost 8 years ago

I am both a licensed inspector and Realtor in Louisville.  I do both jobs.  When I have a buyer side deal- we always request an appropriate repair person with appropriate credentials.  We also write the repair request with detail to ensure the repairs are made and ask for receipts if warranted.  Sounds simple- but it is often not done by the seller which delays the transaction.

As an inspector when ever there is an issue I always use the old phrase 'repair by an appropriately licensed...'  Makes me the bad guy from the sellers prospective but the hero from the clients and that is what I want. 

I had a 'repair evaluation' inspection last week where the seller told the buyer all repairs were made and NONE were made.  The repairs we simple and could have been done by a handyman- just give us a receipt for the repairs.  Told the buyer all is good and none were done.  The sink faucet leaked when turned on- small pin hole in the base that would spray a tiny water stream.  All I had to do was turn on the faucet and get sprayed by the same tiny stream.  Go figure.  The seller still had to make the repairs and it delayed the closing. 

Posted by Timothy Mattingly, Louisville Homes for Sale (Louisville Homes Team Louisville KY almost 8 years ago

Reuban - In our areas mostly it will turn out to be a credit at closing as well. Most buyers wont trust the homeowner to do these repairs up to their expectations.

Posted by Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Keller Williams Valley Realty) almost 8 years ago

Food for thought. A lot of times my buyers don't want to pay for a re-inspection after repairs have been made...but doing a walk-through is a must, take the inspection report along with a copy of the contract and a camera. I've had very few issues when I told the listing agent we were going to walk-through and check repairs.

Posted by Craig Hatcher (Georgia Residential Realty, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Reuben -- Informative post. I always request that repairs be made by a contractor with an active license and receipt(s) provided.  Did get into a situation a few years back with a repair that was going to be done by a contractor whose license expired three years earlier.   Buyers typically don't request a re-inspection if paperwork is in order and work done is checked to their satisfaction.  

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Reuben....I agree - it is best to have either a credit to Buyer for repairs or adjustment to price so the Buyer can get the repaired fix by the contractor of their choice.  It causes less issues with the lender that way too.  Like you said, some buyers prefer to have it done for them.   Around here, home inspectors cannot re-inspect. 

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - almost 8 years ago

Completely agree.  Its in the best interest of the buyer to ask for a price reduction as the sellers usually just want to get it done quickl and cheap.  My last sale resulted with an eavesthrough that need to be adjusted and 3 cracks in a foundation to be filled.  Both items were paid for by the Seller, the work was completed by professionals, a copy of the invoice were forwarded to the buyer's agent and the buyer and agent did a final walk-thru a few days before closing to ensure that all was done.  The inspector was not called back.

Posted by Irene Bilinski, Real Estate… It's All About You (RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Group Ottawa) almost 8 years ago

This is an issue, most people never think of, great post Reuben.


Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

Agh, lots of problems with repairs in a transaction.  My favorite is when the seller does the work himself even though the repair addendum says "work to be performed by a licensed contractor."

Posted by Catherine Ulrey, Equestrian and Acreage Property Specialist (Keller Williams Capital City) almost 8 years ago
Great post about reinspection. Most people will just trust that repairs are made by professional but that is not always the case.
Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) almost 8 years ago

Asking for the work to be done by a licensed contractor with an authentic receipt is the usual starting point in my business usually followed up by a visual re-inspection by the buyer or buyer's inspector, depending on the complexity of the repair.

Posted by Bob Zorechak - ABR, GRI, e-PRO, Sells Homes in Morris/Somerset/Hunterdon Cos., NJ (Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan) almost 8 years ago
Good post. A credit to buyer is by far the best solution, if one wants to make sure the work is done correctly. Also from the standpoint of being able to remove contingencies. It becomes sticky when the work has not been done to the buyer's satisfaction. Thanks again.
Posted by Buki Burke, (805)377-0236, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services CA (Ventura, California) almost 8 years ago

A lot of inspection companies will do a second insepction right before the closing. If you had issues the first time around, this is a good idea!

Posted by Donald Reich (Prudential Centennial) almost 8 years ago


This is the correct approach. Get the money and let the buyer do the repair.


Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) almost 8 years ago

I agree that we need to be specific in negotiating actions and repairs to reflect that a licensed contractor must make the repair and the seller must have receipts to show the completed work.  Re-inspects are often not an extra charge with most inspectors in our area, so I definitely recommend that the buyer ask the buyer to recheck items that we cannot readily check such as roof or flashing issues.

Posted by Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group) almost 8 years ago


I've only had one transaction where the buyer agreed to a re-inspection. They seem to be satisfied with repair receipts and are not willing to pay for a "2nd inspection". I do agree, however, that it's better to be safe than sorry.

Posted by Scotti Jowers, Realtor - West Monroe, Louisiana Homes for Sale (CENTURY 21 Shackelford French, Search West Monroe Homes ) almost 8 years ago

Very good points about getting the repairs done correctly the first time around.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) almost 8 years ago

What a great topic! This is a well-written and informative blog on the subject and I'm sure Buyers will find this information very useful!

Posted by Mike Mayer (Mike Mayer, Broker/Owner - i List For Less Realty, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Yes, confirming that seller-made repairs have been completed properly is a good issue and one that doesn't have a standard solution.  Here in Silicon Valley the seller normally has a pre-listing inspection completed so the buyer and seller can negotiate price and repairs at the same time.  A second round of negotiations for repairs is usually avoided.  Frequently the buyer's price is an "as is" price and the buyer accepts responsibility for the repair after closing.

Posted by Lloyd Binen, Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411 (Certified Realty Services) almost 8 years ago

Thanks for the comments, everyone.  I don't have time to respond to every comment, but I'll try to address a few.

Charlie Dressen - it's all about making sure your client gets taken care of.

Lorraine Sayer - If the receipts for the lower have an unusually low price, that would be a good tipoff that it was frick and frack doing the work.  That's what happened in my blog about The $214 Chimney Re-Build.

Donald - you're not kidding about re-inspections being a tense, anxiety filled time.  I used to not like doing them, but now I just charge accordingly.  If I say something isn't done right, I plan on providing documentation to prove that it's not just 'my opinion'.  This is what I'm charging for.

Andrew Robb - I gotta give Michael Harrell most of the credit for that wording.

Timothy - you gotta wonder if it's incompetence or dishosty when the repairs don't get done.


Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 8 years ago

Christine Smith - home inspectors in your area can't re-inspect?  Why?

Donald Reich - when my dad purchased this company in 1997, the previous owners had a policy of offering free re-inspections with every buyers inspection.  I don't know how they ever made any money...

Karen Feltman - the home inspectors in your area usually offer free re-inspections?  Wow!  How do they make any money?  I charge about half of my original inspection fee to do a re-inspection if it's the seller doing the work.  

Dana White Scotti Jowers - I think most people who buy new construction homes are happy with the quality of the homes, mostly because they don't know any better.  Those who get inspections are always very glad they did.  I'm thinking it might be the same for re-inspections.

Lloyd - do the buyers hire a second home inspector of their own?

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 8 years ago

One downside of not having the sellers do the repairs is that the repairs and costs may turn out to be a lot more than estimated from any bids and the buyer would then have to come up with extra cash. A detailed description of what exactly is required of the sellers in regards to the repairs usually results in the repairs being done properly but you still have to keep on them and tell them you will be doing a follow up inspection.

Posted by Conor MacEvilly (RE/MAX On Market in Ballard. Seattle) almost 8 years ago

I ask for receipts and send inspector back out to re-inspect. Buyer is willing to pay for peace of mind.

Posted by Joyce Owens (Real Living Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

In many cases is the appraiser if the repair items were called on the appraisal. If they're simple visual inspections, the buyer's agent and buyer will see them on their walk-through. And as Joyce #56 says, receipts from the hired contractors doing the repairs are important. If the repair is significant, (roof, pest, leaks), then the appropriate company should verify that they've been done satisfactorily.

Posted by Karen Crowson, Your Agent for Change (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

Tha advantage of selling homes in Irvine and surrounding areas is that there are few homes older than the 1950s. In fact, most homes I sell are post 1970. Compared to some of the problems in many home inspector blogs on AR the repair requests I have encountered have been fairly benign. Even homes that were maintained well by the seller will have small items to be corrected. In that case the seller usually does a good and proper job, hiring the right professional if necessary. In a home that shows shlocky workmanship on improvements or a lack of maintenance, I warn the buyer that the seller is likely to do a poor job and that the buyer should ask for credit instead so he can do it himself. If a home has a major systems defect, the request for repair will ask for copy of invoice from the licensed professional who did the repair work.

Posted by Sylvia Jonathan, Broker Associate, SFR (Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties) almost 8 years ago

I think too much credit is being given to city inspectors.  I've seen many homes certified for occupancy that have blatant problems that a 10 year old could spot.  Looked in an attic before where an entire side of the home was missing insulation.  The city inspectors certification was right inside the access stapled to the rafter.  Since most repairs do not require permits get a contractor who warranties their work.  Contractors don't want to come back for free either so those that offer warranties tend to do better work.

Posted by Lucien Vaillancourt, Jacksonville Florida Real Estate (Native Sun Realty, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

Good information.

Posted by Jim McCormack, Nashville Short Sale REALTOR - Stop Foreclosure (Nashville Short Sale Specialist - Jim McCormack - Edge Advantage Realty, LLC - 615-784-EDGE (3343)) almost 8 years ago

I also discourage asking for repairs, unless it is something very specific. I agree that sellers are inclined to do as little as possible, as cheaply as possible. Its much better to ask for money, so the buyer can do it themselves. And BTW, I do look around a listing before putting it on the market. If I see enything thast needs repsir,I get the seller to fix it then. Works much better.

Posted by Linda Fidgeon, Make your next move your best move! (Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices Page Realty) almost 8 years ago

We always have the inspection company come back to reinspect the repairs done.  I add to the Buyer Request for Repairs that the person doing the repairs is licensed.

Posted by Pamela Smith, Sun City West, Corte Bella, Sun City Grand (Award Realty) almost 8 years ago

Re-inspections are vital when repairs are requested. Definitely agree that asking for funding is much safer!

Posted by Ben Blonder, Buyers, Sellers, Investors! (Broker/Owner, Keller Williams) almost 8 years ago

Lots of homes are being sold as-is with buyer approval of inspections. If a huge issue comes up and the seller agrees to fix it you have to make sure the repair is done buy a licensed repair person. Always work it out.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) almost 8 years ago

In IL our standard 'rebuttal' to repairs is that they be performed by a competent contractor (outside the family) & a receipt to be presented before closing. Reinspection happens at the walk-thru a few days before closing to be sure everything is satisfactory.  I've just had one where the furnace was 32 years old, obviously original, & had a cracked heat exchanger. Don't know how long the sellers were living with a bad furnace & carbon monoxide danger.  We just asked for the furnace to be replaced rather than taking a credit because what if there are cost over runs?  Then the buyer would be stuck with those additional costs.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) almost 8 years ago

Great post.  I prefer to ask for credits for repairs, thus allowing my buyers to make their own repairs.  Buyers these days are more skeptical than ever with the foreclosures to worry about and short sale sellers who don't maintain systems in the home.  It's just wise to do it yourself if they have the cash.  Very well written post!

Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) almost 8 years ago

I do prefer to ask for a credit but in many cases, banks will require the repair to be done before closing.   And in our state, general contractors are not licensed.  But excellent advice and I follow it as closely as I can.

Posted by Margaret Mitchell, Seacoast Maine & NH Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Yorke Realty) almost 8 years ago

Very informative.  I am a big proponent of doing it right the first time, and specifically requesting that from the seller, plus notifying them that they will be held to a higher standard is a professional and great way to do it.  Thank you for your great post!

Posted by Seana Yates (Thrive Homes and Estates) almost 8 years ago

Great Blog!

I'm amazed at the "repairs" I go back to look at...  More than once I get a call from the client claiming the seller's "con-tractor" doesn't understand the concern as written or what the defect is.  I chuckle when I tell them "if they don't know what a diverter flashing is, then they have the wrong person perfroming the repairs..."

Posted by Bill Warner, Infrared Thermal Inspector (BC Warner Inspections) almost 8 years ago

That's a great example clause- I tend to seek credits rather than repairs but if the buyer wants repairs I will specify which company is to do them and provide the proposal/estimate that the seller is to use to make the repair

Posted by Jenny Durling, For Los Angeles real estate help 213-215-4758 (L.A. Property Solutions) almost 8 years ago

I just ran into this. We had a roof repair as well as another repair that we asked for. The seller agreed to both repairs, but had been difficult on other issues, which made my buyer a little nervous.  My buyer requested a re-inspection by our home inspector and the seller consented. All the repairs were done to the home inspector's satisfaction, but...the seller was really irritated and said we were being distrustful. It made the week before settlement very difficult.  That said, it gave my buyers peace-of-mind and so it was worth the hassle.

Posted by Holly Weatherwax, A Great Real Estate Experience ( Associate Broker, Momentum Realty) almost 8 years ago

Good advice and very informative, thanks.

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) almost 8 years ago

Great points to keep in mind so we keep our buyers out of trouble.

Posted by Gerard Gilbers, Your Marketing Master (Higher Authority Markeing) almost 8 years ago

If the seller is taking responsibility then I always ask for a license contractor and receipts.

Posted by Michael Singh,Broker (Singh Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Good post with a lot to think about.  With so many REO's these days I have not been getting a lot of repairs completed by the seller.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Every time I do a reinspect it's a mess. The last one I did I think the seller hired people from the circus. The repair people were definitely clowns.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 8 years ago

When I was a new, inexperienced inspector, I resisted, but sometimes gave in to the pressure of clients or agents and did inspections of repairs on occasion. After attending an inspection conference class given by one of the top inspection attorneys in the country, I made a rule that I will do NO re-inspections of anybody's repairs. As he pointed out, when you do this, you are then taking the liability back on your shoulders and off the repair person's. It is often very difficult to determine with a surface, visual inspection after the fact whether proper materials and methods were used. It might look OK on the surface, but still not properly done. I will not state that anyone else's repair is correct or professional. As has been stated, if they follow the instructions in the inspection report to have the defects "evaluated and professionally repaired by a qualified, licensed contractor or specialist", there should be no need for a re-inspection. If it isn't done correctly and they have receipts from the professional who did it, they will have recourse and protection. It's very true, that even when done by a licensed contractor with a permit and inspected by a code inspector, that there is still no guarantee that it is right. I have inspected brand new houses that have just been signed off by the state or local code inspector that have blatant violations and sometimes very serious defects and safety issues. It has also been stated in this discussion that often the homeowner or kid next door, or an unqualified handy man ends up doing the repairs. Because there is always a very tight time frame, these "repairs" are often rushed and "quality" is compromised, sometimes making it even worse than if nothing had been done.

These is one of the best reasons for a owner to get a pre-listing, or seller's inspection so they don't have the time constraints and pressures to get it done at the last minute in the heat of a sales offer. Even if they decide that it is an "As is" sale and do no repairs, they can disclose that up front and it is less confusing, more honest and a cleaner deal which will go easier when the offer comes in.

I don't think any inspector should inspect any repairs.  

Posted by Brent Lerwill, Brentwood Inspections over 7 years ago

Lucien - there is a wide variety in the quality of municipal inspectors.  Here in Minnesota, they're usually pretty good.

Lyn Sims - great idea of asking for a contractor outside the family.

Bill Warner - ha, I love that one too.  I basically say they same thing; in my inspection reports, I recommend "qualified" contractors.  If they don't understand what's wrong, they're not qualified to fix it.

Holly - funny.  By that logic, the seller should have been irritated about even having had the home inspection :)

James - I actually had a re-inspection go very smoothly not too long ago; probably for the first time ever.  That's what inspired this post.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

Brent - I've heard that argument against reinspections before, and I used to have the same stance as you.  I hear you, and I understand your concern, however... the same logic applies to the entire home inspection.

When I do reinspections, I find out ahead of time exactly what it is that I'm going to reinspect, and if necessary, I let my clients know what the limitations are. 

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

I used to work with an agent that did free re-inspects.  Nearly all of my buyers got a re-inspection done with him.  Now I work with inspectors that charge for it and the buyers have the choice if they want to or not and many of them don't, depending on the how bit the repairs are.  If there are receipts from licensed contractors often that is enough to suffice.  -Kasey

Posted by Kasey & John Boles, Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties (Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - over 7 years ago

All terrific advice.  If my buyers have signficant repairs done by the seller, I always recommend a re-inspection.  If they are smaller cosmetic things, it can be handled with a walk throug inspection, but bigger things should definitely be viewed by a professional inspector.

Posted by Matt Robinson, (Professional Investors Guild) over 7 years ago