Who pays for home repairs during the home buying and selling process? Is it the seller or the buyer?
Who pays for the repairs depends on multiple factors, but two key details that help answer this question are…
- What repairs are you referring to?
- At what point during the transaction are you discussing these repairs?
In a normal transaction, a buyer has an inspection period, meaning they have a 5 to 10 day window where they can investigate the house and hire a professional home inspector to come and take a look at the house as well. The inspector will make certain recommendations based on what they found is wrong with the house, as well as what’s great about the house. When it comes to repairs, the buyer will focus on that list of flaws and defects that the inspector found.
During that inspection window—in addition to being able to inspect the house—the buyer has the opportunity to take the inspector’s report and request that the seller makes certain repairs prior to closing. This is just one route that the buyer can take. They can also ask for a reduction of purchase price or a contribution towards their closing cost. But, on certain items, it’s nice that it just gets done before the buyer moves in.
In almost all cases, when you are in the middle of a real estate transaction or you are under contract, it’s the seller who pays for repairs. I do not recommend a buyer pays for anything on the property until they own it.
STORY TIME: I have only had one instance in my 11 years as a broker where a buyer pre-paid for a fix on a home. It was a pretty significant sewer line fix on a property owned by a bank, which was necessary in order for the bank of the buyer to be able to fund on the property. Against my advice, my buyers shelled out the money to get the repair done, but luckily it all worked out—although it was a bit stressful!