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5 Rules for Requesting Repairs from Sellers

Wednesday, February 6, 2019   /   by Holly Northup

5 Rules for Requesting Repairs from Sellers

Written by the Bucher Group

As a buyer, you will likely want to ask for repairs from the sellers when considering purchasing their home. However, while there are some that are reasonable, others are completely unrealistic. How do you know which is which? Following these rules will ensure a quick and painless negotiation.

Roof and termite clearances

It is absolutely reasonable for you to request roof and termite clearances. Complete inspections of both to determine the impact of termites or the severity of roof damage.

In the termite report, section one will note any actual damage from an infestation of wood-destroying insects or organisms (such as fungus), while section two will record items that may lead to damages.

In most cases, sellers will take care of items in section one and will require for buyers to address the section two problems, in the likelihood they purchase the property.

For roof clearance, the inspection company or contractor needs to complete any work they recommended. In the case the roof is beyond repair, inspectors will suggest a new roof. If the sellers refuse to pay for a new roof, obtain a cost estimate and factor that cost into the negotiations.

Home’s primary systems

What are the home’s primary systems? Electrical, plumbing, HVAC, foundation, etc. For these, request a property inspection report to ensure each is working properly. While this report does not come with estimated costs, it does show which systems have issues. Check the following yourself:

  • Ensure all lights turn on without shocking you

  • Check that all toilets, sinks, tubs and showers operate correctly

  • Check to ensure air conditioning units’ work properly

  • Check the foundation to ensure it is sturdy

  • Open and close all windows and doors

If any issues come back, it is reasonable for you to ask that they function properly. Often, sellers will negotiate a maximum amount for each repair – at which point, the buyer will have to cover costs above that limit.


You cannot reasonably ask the seller to make upgrades to the home. Keep in mind, if you are buying an older home, you are purchasing a home that may NOW be out of code in some ways – as it was built to code during the original time of construction. While you can ask if the electrical system is working correctly according to the date of creation, you cannot reasonably request that the sellers upgrade it to current code. This same rule applies to other areas of the home, too.

Hazardous Materials

While sellers are required to disclose if they know of any hazardous materials in the home, it is not reasonable for you to request it be removed. Even though you can’t include it in the repairs, always check the home for any hazardous materials. Hazardous materials can include the following: asbestos, lead-based paints and more.

Cosmetic Changes

It is not reasonable to ask, and a seller is in no way required to complete cosmetic changes according to your preferences.

The more reasonable the repairs, the better your negotiation experience – it’s as simple as that!
The Bucher Group | Austin Portfolio Real Estate
Kathleen Bucher
1801 S Mopac Drive Expy, Ste. 100
Austin, TX 78746
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Based on information from the Austin Board of REALTORS (alternatively, from ACTRIS) for the period through 2020.® IDX information is provided exclusively for consumers' personal, non-commercial use. It may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified. The Austin Board of REALTORS®, ACTRIS and their affiliates provide the MLS and all content therein "AS IS" and without any warranty, express or implied. Data last updated: January 19, 2020 Texas law requires all real estate licensees to provide this link to Information About Brokerage Services:www.trec.state.tx.us/pdf/contracts/op-k.pdf