Who Pays For Repairs After a Home Inspection? | Edmonton Realtor Blog | Dwight Streu

Who pays for defects that are discovered during a home inspection?

There’s a little bit of a misunderstanding some buyers have in that they believe the seller is obligated to pay for any needed repairs found during a home inspection, particularly if they discover things that are not up to code.

The fact is the seller does not have any legal obligation to repair anything found during the home inspection. The home inspection is done for the benefit of the buyer so that the buyer knows what they are getting, what repairs, and what costs they may incur if they choose to buy that property. This even applies to things that are not up to code. The seller is not under any obligation to bring the home up to current code requirements. Buyers should expect that the home will require some minor repairs and maintenance and the older the home the more you should expect. 

However, if your inspection turns up more than you expected or perhaps discovers a larger more expensive repair than you were anticipating you do have a couple of options. First, you can walk away from the purchase. Other than the cost of the inspection it won’t cost you anything provided of course you had an inspection condition in your offer. 

Your second option is to see if the seller is willing to provide some compensation for the repairs or even to have the repairs done. While they are not under any obligation they may be willing in order to complete the sale - particularly if they were not aware of the problem and the repairs needed. If the repairs were easily identifiable when you viewed the property the seller will be less likely to negotiate than if they were hidden defects that you could not see. For example, it would be difficult to try and negotiate a reduction in the purchase price because the windows are old and will need to be replaced. This could have and should have been identified when first viewing the home and taken into consideration prior to making an offer. 

However, let’s say the inspector discovers the furnace is leaking carbon monoxide. Well, this obviously is something a buyer could not have determined when viewing the property, and would it would be reasonable to ask the seller for some compensation? Again the seller would not be obligated to provide compensation but it would probably be in their best interest to do so. 

Sellers do have an obligation to disclose defects that are dangerous or potentially dangerous to occupants so if you were not to purchase the home the seller would now have a legal obligation to disclose this defect to potential buyers. So, in this case, it would certainly be prudent for the seller to negotiate fair compensation. Unfortunately, there is no standard as to what is reasonable and what isn’t. That, of course, is open to interpretation. You can certainly ask your agent what would be normal given the results of your inspection but ultimately you are the one buying the home and you need to be comfortable with what you are paying for the property and the work that may need to be done.  

If you have any questions you can reach me at 780-462-5002 or email dwight@dwightstreu.com

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