5 Reasonable Repairs to Request Before You Buy a House

By: Paige A. Mitchell

You’ve found your dream home and are looking to get the necessary repairs done before you can move further. These repairs will test your negotiating skills; we suggest focusing on those that will directly affect you instead of asking for all small and large fixes. Here are five reasonable repairs to request before buying a house.


  • Galvanized Pipes


Common in the 1960s, galvanized pipes have a zinc coating to protect them from corrosion and rust. The zinc used in these pipes was most likely impure, so it may contain other compounds, including harmful ones like lead. Also, while the zinc protects the pipe from the outside, the water flowing through them damages them from the inside, possibly causing water pressure issues. The lifespan of a galvanized steel pipe is typically 20 to 50 years, according to house logic.


  • Sewer Pipes


Sewer pipe replacements can be expensive, but they may also be necessary. An expert will be able to determine if the problem is localized or extensive. If the damage is extensive, then the whole pipe may need to be replaced. Of course, the type of pipe will also be important in determining its life span. For instance, the wood fiber-based Orenburg pipe lasts for about 50 years. These pipes are more common in the houses built in the 1950s.


  • Wiring


Problems with the electrical distribution system are the third leading cause of structure fires in US homes, according to ESFi. Some houses built in the 60s may have aluminum wiring instead of copper. Aluminum wiring is problematic because it can lead to overheating and fires. The inspection should make it clear whether the whole installation needs to go, or some minor replacements will do the job.


  • Roofing


It’s perfectly reasonable to ask for repairs if the roofing inspection reveals any extensively damaged parts. If the seller doesn’t have a roofing certificate, request an inspection and certification. The roofer won’t provide a certificate for a roof that still needs work. Again, don’t mind a few broken or missing shingles. Do discuss damaged skylights, chimneys, and vents.


  • Heating and Cooling


Determine the age and condition of the heating and cooling systems as well. Some of the costlier repairs include heat exchangers ($500 to $1,200), smart valve ($750), condenser coil ($1,900 to $2,900) and compressor ($1,900) (prices by HVAC.com). If the HVAC system needs replacements or repairs, then remind the seller of these issues as well.

Repair Options

Some sellers will offer repair credit for major repairs. And, any credit left over after the repair goes back to the provider. If the seller isn’t willing to make repairs in advance, ask them to include a home warranty with the home.

You can ask for repairs for any problems with the house that will stop you from using it normally. Of course, there may also be some smaller issues that need attention. But, you have to give and take in these matters; ignore the minor ones, and focus on the major ones.

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