Selling a Home? You May Need to Make These Plumbing Repairs First

Written by Posted On Monday, 11 March 2024 00:00

Inspections are par for the course when selling a home, but when the inspector comes back and says something is wrong with the plumbing, sellers either panic or shrug it off and assume that it’s the buyer’s problem.

Most buyers won’t commit to buying a home until after it’s been thoroughly vetted by an inspector, and if there are problems, the inspector will certainly find them.

Making repairs after an inspection can be a hassle and will certainly eat into your profits, but what repairs are you required to make?

Check the Contract

The first step is to check your contract to make sure that you haven’t locked yourself into making repairs that you don’t want to make.

As a general rule of thumb, you don’t want to sign a contract until you fully understand its obligations, especially when it comes to repairs.

And here’s the good news: you don’t have to fix everything that the home inspector say could be improved. The report is not a to-do list.

Repairs typically fall into one of three categories: ones that are required, ones that are optional, and ones that are up for debate.

Required Repairs after a Home Inspection

Some repairs will be required before lenders will release funds to make the purchase. Typically, these repairs are related to structural defects, safety issues and building code violations.

Safety issues may include mold or mildew that is discovered during the inspection process. Water main leaks and damaged plumbing systems that go unrepaired can lead to mold growth.

“Broken water mains can cause leaks to go undetected and result in high water bills, mold, mildew, and rot, which is why routine plumbing maintenance is recommended for all of our clients on a yearly basis,” says Bob Oates Plumbing.

If a home inspection reveals such problems, you will likely be responsible for repairing them.

Many sellers choose to give the buyer a repair credit, which allows them to make the repairs themselves. The benefit to going this route is that you don’t have to oversee the repairs.

Repairs that are Not Required

Damage due to normal wear and tear or cosmetic issues doesn’t have to be repaired by the seller.

Some contracts will expressly state that the buyer cannot request cosmetic repairs and can only ask for the required repairs listed above. But state laws will also affect the seller’s liability for any issue uncovered during an inspection.

Make sure that you understand your local ordinances to know which repairs will be your responsibility.

Negotiable Home Repairs

Somewhere in between the required repairs and optional ones are repairs that are negotiable. How they’re handled is really dependent on the market.

If it’s a seller’s market, the seller has more leeway to call the shots. If it’s a hot seller’s market, the contract may state that the buyer will purchase the home “as is” or may only request an information only inspection. Such language in the contract would absolve the seller of any need to pay for repairs.

In a normal market, a seller would not be able to enlist such hard and fast rules.

It’s up to the seller to determine how to negotiate these repairs. Some offer a home warranty, while others may choose to offer something of value to the buyer.


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