credits at closing


You found the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood. You put in an offer and your offer was accepted. You are so excited!

One of the most important stages in purchasing a home is still to come – the home inspection. 

Home Inspection Purpose

Most buyers will conduct a home inspection prior to making a home purchase. Your home inspector will go through the home thoroughly to find any defects that need to be addressed. It’s hard to find a home that doesn’t have some issues, big or small, and no home is perfect  A home inspection is designed to ensure there aren’t any significant defects in the home and that all of the major structures are sound and systems are in working order. However, the inspection is not designed to give the buyer more power in the negotiations of the agreed upon selling price or enlist the seller to fix a long punch list of items. A seller can expect to make accommodations for unsatisfactory items, but they shouldn’t be fixing every tiny detail.

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Credits vs. Repairs

The issues that arise during the inspection are negotiated between the buyer and seller. Those items that the seller agrees to address are handled in one of two ways — they can be repaired by the seller before closing or the seller can give a credit to the buyer at closing.

In his latest newsletter, Thomas Sanford, ASHI Certified Home Inspector of Empire Inspection, discusses credits at closing versus repairs. “If something does come up that needs to be repaired, it is often best to aim for credits at closing versus repairing the item. Repair work can be costly, time consuming and come with unexpected issues. A credit for the expected cost of the repair is a valid way to address the concern. For example, offer a credit toward a new roof instead of having the roof replaced by the homeowner.” Tom says that potential issues that can arise from repairs include:

  • Buyers and sellers often have their own ideas of what the repair should look like and who should perform the work
  • Buyers can nitpick the entire process
  • Potential closing delay
  • Often longer than expected repair timeline
  • Seller avoids the hassle of dealing with the repair

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Home Repair Negotiation

Most sellers know that buyers will ask them to make some repairs due to the findings in the home inspection report. We make all of our buyers aware that they will find something wrong with the home they are buying during the inspection. Negotiations are a part of any home selling process.A happy buyer makes selling the home easier on everyone. Yet, the seller needs to feel like they aren’t getting raked over the coals by a buyer. 

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If a transaction falls apart it will most likely be during the home inspection phase. Luckily most transactions don’t get derailed and home inspection sticking points will be worked out in the end. Keep in mind that cancelling a contract because of a dispute over home repairs isn’t beneficial for either the buyer or the seller. The seller will be aware of the defects in their property that they will need to address, and they will have to disclose legitimate defects to future buyers. Conversely, the buyer has already paid for a home inspection and any other experts they hired to conduct inspections, and they will have to start their home search all over again. 

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We have learned more about houses during the many home inspections we have been a part of than you would ever want to know! If you have any questions about home inspections we are happy to talk with you.

The Allison Ziefert Real Estate Group is a top producing real estate team based at Keller Williams Mid-Town Direct in Maplewood, NJ. We are local market experts, specializing in real estate and homes in Maplewood, South Orange, Millburn/Short Hills and West Orange, NJ and the surrounding towns. We are driven by earning great testimonials and referral business from happy clients. You can read our testimonials at