5 Home Repair Requests That Turn Sellers Off

Buying a home can be a delicate situation. The combination of emotional attachment and money can make for a touchy scenario.

As a buyer, you’re spending big bucks on a home purchase, so you want to make sure you get everything you rightfully deserve. But the line between this and being greedy and unreasonable can sometimes be blurry. Asking for too much can turn sellers off and out you at risk of losing out on the house.


Don’t ruin the deal by annoying and even offending the sellers with unreasonable requests, such as the following.

1. Updating Code Items in Older Homes

If the home you’re considering buying was built in the 1960s, odds are the building codes back then are different than what they are today. The thing is, if the home was built according to code at that time, there’s no reason why you should be asking the seller to cure these codes.

Asking the seller to bring the home up to today’s code standards is unreasonable, and could turn them off to the point that they not only refuse to go through with the request, they also kill the deal.

2. Modernizing Outdated Cosmetics

Just because the sellers enjoyed their dusty rose wallpaper and powder blue toilet and pedestal sink, that doesn’t mean you should hold them accountable for their tastes when it comes time to negotiate certain items. Minor cosmetic issues like these should be left alone at the negotiating table, and be dealt with after escrow is complete.

The majority of real estate agents recommend their buyers overlook cosmetic issues that they can afford to fix after the sale is complete. Aside from avoiding upsetting the sellers, buyers can benefit from making these changes themselves according to their own specific tastes without relying on anyone else to make these esthetic decisions for them.


3. Repairing Minor Issues Not Flagged by the Home Inspector

Whether it’s a slightly loose railing, a sticky door, or a window that seems a bit drafty, if the home inspector doesn’t mark it as a major safety issue or building code violation, it’s probably not worthy of being dealt with at the negotiating table.

If the sellers are given a lengthy list of requests to deal with before escrow closes, they may simply quash the contract and wait for a better offer down the road that doesn’t have all these requests.

4. Replacing Burned-Out Lightbulbs

If you notice a light fixture that’s not working as a result of a burned out lightbulb, don’t bring it up at with the seller, unless there’s another major problem behind the walls. Replacing a light bulb is probably one of the most frequent issues that homeowners have to deal with. It’s also one of the easier issues to fix. Don’t nickel and dime the seller for minor issues like these that can easily and quickly be dealt with after the deal closes.

5. Replacing an Aging Air Conditioning Unit

Most real estate contracts will require that systems and structures like an A/C unit need to be in good working order and structurally sound. An air conditioning unit may be getting up there in age, but if it is blowing cool air and operating efficiently, there’s nothing the seller should have to do.

Buyers shouldn’t request to have the unit replaced just because it isn’t exactly brand new. As long as the A/C is working, there’s no reason to ask to have it replaced before you take over the property.

The Bottom Line

Sellers are most likely emotionally tied to their homes. Asking for them to make a variety of minor repairs can frustrate them to the point that they decide to call off the deal. Make sure you get the advice of your real estate agent before you make any demands prior to closing.