Negotiations after the inspection, part 3: Reasonable negotiation items

In this three-part series on negotiations after the home inspection, I discussed the options that a home buyer has after getting a home inspection in part 1, and gave a list of what I consider to be unreasonable negotiation items in part 2.  For this post, I'm going to cover some common home inspection findings that are frequently negotiated. I'm not saying these items should be negotiated, but these are common items that get negotiated, and I don't think any of these things are unreasonable.

As I said last week, I'm not a real estate agent or attorney, so this is not real estate advice or legal advice. These are my opinions. I don't share my opinions on negotiations during home inspections, and I do not share them in my inspection reports. This is completely outside the realm of a home inspection, and honestly, it's outside of my area of expertise. However, I (like most people) certainly have an opinion about this stuff. If you don't agree with my opinions, comments are always welcome.

What all of these items have in common is that they're usually expensive, not obvious, or take special knowledge to recognize.

Big roof problems.

  • Deteriorated shinglesLeaking roofs
  • Defective shingles that could allow for leaks
  • Improper roof installations that could allow for / have allowed for shingles to come loose
  • Roof coverings at the end of their life

Why do I mention roof coverings at the end of their life as a reasonable negotiation item, but excluded old appliances in my last post?  Because appliances can be replaced after they fail.  Roof coverings should be replaced before they fail.

Big electrical items.

  • Aluminum Wire ScorchedFPE Stab-Lok panels
  • Overloaded electrical panels
  • Aluminum branch circuit wiring
  • Unsafe knob & tube wiring
  • Pervasive electrical hazards (open spliced wiring, unprotected wires, improperly wired outets, etc)
  • Immediate shock / electrocution hazards, such as exposed, live wires protruding from walls
  • New, improper electrical wiring where the extent of the defects is unknown

Big exterior problems.

  • Missing bricks at chimneyMasonry chimneys in need of more than minor repairs
  • Windows in need of replacement
  • Rotting / water intrusion at the walls
  • Siding in need of major repair / replacement
  • Unsafe decks

Big or immediate plumbing items

  • Rusted steel drainGalvanized water distribution pipes that do not supply adequate water flow
  • A water supply pipe from the street to the house that may need replacement
  • Galvanized steel drains in need of replacement
  • Active leaks – water piping, gas piping, drains, vents, etc.
  • Clogged drains

Big or immediate HVAC items

Other things that freak people out

  • Wet basement issues
  • Cover - wet basementMoisture or frost in the attic, and / or major ice dam issues.  The fix for both of these is to address attic air leaks, insulation, and sometimes attic ventilation. While adding insulation is generally considered an upgrade, if insufficient insulation and attic air leaks are leading to water problems, I'd consider this to be a repair, not an upgrade.
  • Foundation problems
  • Major structural deficiencies
  • Environmental items that are excluded from home inspection standards, such as:

There are many other possible items, but this list makes up most of the 'big' items that get identified during home inspections. Did I miss any? Let me know.

Author: Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections


Written By

Reuben is a second-generation home inspector with a passion for his work. He grew up remodeling homes and learning about carpentry since he was old enough to hold a hammer. Reuben grew up thinking he was going to be a school teacher because he enjoyed teaching others so much. In a sense, that’s a lot of what home inspections are about, so Reuben truly does what he loves. Sharlene has worked with Structure Tech since 2000 and Reuben has been contributing to her blog since 2008.

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