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Negotiating Improvements

Your Goals

Some prospective home buyers find the perfect home for their needs through home tours, they fall in love with everything about the property, and don't desire any improvements. However, most buyers find a home that has great potential, but has certain things that need improvement. Through negotiations with the seller, the buyer may be able to get some improvements made before closing.

Make Reasonable Requests

There are two primary times during the home buying process when property condition and aesthetic appeal come into question. These are usually during the initial home tour and after the property inspection report has been completed. Buyers should remember that the home is used, and it is not reasonable to expect a used home to be in perfect condition. Some wear and tear is normal. However, you do not want to inherit a laundry list of to-do items that the seller failed to complete. Reasonable improvement requests include:

  • Replacing worn carpet
  • Painting the walls a neutral color
  • Replacing outdated or broken appliances
  • Replacing an HVAC system that has issues
  • Replacing a roof that is severely damaged
  • Any minor improvements excluding major construction

In some cases, you may negotiate for an allowance to complete these or other projects after closing. However, you can also ask for them to be completed before closing.

How To Motivate The Seller

The seller is usually aware of the issues with the home, and if there are significant issues with the home, he or she may already be anticipating negotiations for specific items. Sellers who understand the condition of their home may be open to negotiations and eager to sell the home under your requested terms.

Many of the improvements that you ask a seller to complete or to compensate you for are big ticket items. A seller may not be financially able to come out of pocket to pay thousands of dollars in repair costs. If this is the case, a repair or decorating allowance may motivate the seller to agree to your improvements.

Professional Negotiation Benefits

While a seller may be eager to sell a home and willing to negotiate, the sale must still be affordable for the seller. The buyer’s and seller’s agents will typically negotiate on behalf of their client. They will discuss the ultimate minimum or maximum limits that each party can agree to, and they will present a reasonable compromise to their clients.

Buyers do not have to accept a property in as-is condition. Negotiations can help buyers to get the home improved to a better condition before they buy it or to compensate them for repairs after they take ownership. Talk to your agent about reasonable negotiations for the home you are thinking about buying.

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